When Lakes senior linebacker Alan Gomez fell on a fumble following a first-quarter punt, the public address announcer at Lakes made note it was Gomez's sixth career fumble recovery.
Now that's pretty good statistics-keeping.
"I remember most of them," Gomez said. "I just noticed that he dropped the ball and fell on it."
On Friday night in Lake Villa, the running clock was turned on early as Lakes (7-2) headed to playoff action next week with an easy 55-6 romp over visiting Round Lake.
"This was a championship game for us,'' said Lakes coach Luke Mertens. "It was a conference win and another confidence boost going into the playoffs."
The Panthers (1-8) ran more plays than the Eagles in the first quarter. That's because Round Lake quarterback Anthony Burton wasn't shy about putting his head down and running up field. However, the Eagles used the Gomez fumble recovery to bolt ahead in the first quarter.
Star back Direll Clark scored the game's first touchdown from 7 yards out. After a failed fake punt by Round Lake, Lakes took one play late in the first quarter to score.
It was quarterback Chris Hoffman on his first carry of the night. It measured 47 yards and gave the home team a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
"We preach all the time that our quarterback has to be a threat running in our offense," Mertens said.
Hoffman carried only two more times the rest of his day. His second carry also netted a touchdown from 50 yards out. His final run was good for 22 yards.
Turnovers hurt the visitor's chances especially in the second quarter. Lakes scored 35 points in the second quarter to officially put the game on ice.
One touchdown drive followed a fumble recovery by Justin Bergeron. Another score was set up by Levi Haymaker's interception.
Clark had a pair of short touchdown runs in the runaway second quarter. Hoffman had his 50-yard run. The frantic first half scoring ended when Ashton Norwood bolted 50 yards to the Round Lake 1. Of course, he was rewarded for his effort by scoring on the next play. It was 49-0 at halftime.
As a two-year starter on the varsity, Gomez feels his Eagles are ready for the playoffs.
"We try and do the little things," he said. "We were thrilled that the second team got to play the second half."
With the running clock speeding along in the second half, both teams gave other players chances to get into the action. The theatrics on Lakes side wasn't quite finished. Running back Clark returned the second-half kick 68 yards for another touchdown.
Round Lake QB Burton wore a different jersey in the second half and may have had better luck. Wearing No. 12 in the second half, he hooked up with Tyler Hernandez on a 14-yard TD pass for the lone Panther points in the fourth quarter.
The seventh win for the Eagles was a school record. The 55 points tied a school mark. Lakes kicker Tanner Blain attempted a school record 52-yard field goal late in the game, but it came up short.