Halloween arrived about two weeks early for Stevenson's football team Friday night.
Wauconda, a 2-5 club, led host Stevenson, a 5-2 club, 9-0 at the half and 12-0 with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Scary if you're affiliated with Stevenson.
Thrilling if you're Wauconda and oh-so close to triggering a tremor in Lake County.
"Crazy, isn't it?" fan Brandon Gibis, a Wauconda junior, said at the half. "They're playing great defense, and we're all hoping they can keep this up in the second half."
Gibis, wearing a morph suit, was dressed in Wauconda purple, head to toe, and looked ready for a night of trick-or-treating.
Stevenson, though, bagged the win, escaping with a 13-12 decision in a North Suburban Conference crossover. Patriots senior quarterback Matt Micucci connected with sophomore wideout Matt Morrissey for a pair of touchdowns in the final 6:15.
The first was a 21-yarder, with Morrissey barely landing both feet in the corner of an end zone.
Then, nearly three minutes later, Micucci completed a 63-yard tally to Morrissey.
Micucci's extra point, an emphatic kick, broke the 12-12 tie.
"Very slow start by us," said a relieved Morrissey (3 catches, 115 yards - all after the break). "We had to get this win - couldn't afford to lose."
Wauconda (2-6) had entered the game with a pair of 3-point losses, in Weeks 3 and 4.
"I know this is going to sound strange, but I truly believe we are the best 2-win team in the state," said proud Bulldogs coach Dave Mills. "These kids worked hard in practice, all week, and they had fun. What I mean by fun: We challenged them, and they enjoyed the challenge.
"We came here, against a school three times our size, and went toe to toe with them."
Half of Pete Merker's toes figured prominently Friday night. The Wauconda senior booted 36- and 28-yard field goals. The second put the visitors up 12-0 at 7:20 of the fourth quarter.
"We had momentum, for most of the night," said Wauconda junior running back/linebacker David Starkey, who rushed for a team-high 52 yards - including a 3-yard TD run on the Bulldogs' opening drive - and came up with a huge fourth-and-short tackle in the first half.
"Our O-line played its best game of the season. Close - we were so close."
Stevenson (6-2), on its senior night, gained 124 yards in the first half, with Pats senior running back Kevin Foley accounting for 108 of them, all via ground. He finished with 166 yards on 29 carries.
Micucci (8-of-15, 186 yards) tossed for 170 yards after halftime.
Zion-Benton 22, Mundelein 7: The host Zee-Bees avenged last season's Week-9 loss, keeping the Mustangs winless.
Zion-Benton improved to 3-5 and 1-4 in the North Suburban Lake Division.
Mundelein fell to 0-8, 0-5.
Lakes 42, North Chicago 8: Lakes never got the memo that it might take some time to build a successful football program.
The Eagles clinched their third straight playoff berth and fourth in six years as a varsity program by blowing out host North Chicago 42-8 in a North Suburban Prairie game Friday night.
"We have had a full varsity team with seniors and juniors for six years," said Lakes coach Luke Mertens, who has been the Eagles coach for all seven years. "We are proud of where we're at and we want to get that seventh win next week."
The Eagles improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the NSC Prairie. North Chicago fell to 1-7 overall and 1-4 in the NSC-Prairie.
Lakes scored 21 points in the first quarter and 21 more in the second quarter to build a 42-0 lead.
Eagles running back Direll Clark led the onslaught by rushing for 150 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns.
"He is a tough runner and a tough man to bring down," Mertens said. "He runs hard and does a great job for us."
The Eagles struck in the first quarter when Chris Hoffman threw a 67-yard TD pass to Justin Bergeron.
"It was as screen pass to Justin," Hoffman said. "It was a normal screen pass and the linemen came up and made some blocks, and Justin was able to score."
Hoffman completed 2 of 5 passes for 71 yards.
"We saw that (North Chicago) was going to blitz against us a lot during this game," Mertens said. "We knew that on a third down and long that they were going to come at us. We ran a screen and (Bergeron) did a great job by finishing the play."
Clark's first touchdown was from 87 yards out with 6:23 left.
"I just cut back and everybody was blocking downfield and it was right there," said Clark, who didn't play the second half. "I was just happy to see the guys who don't play that much see some action."
Clark's second score was from 3 yards out late in the quarter and his third came from 30 yards out early in the second.
Emily Aigner, who had 9 kills and 10 digs, led Lakes' girls volleyball team to defeat Vernon Hills 25-13, 25-21 Friday and forge a tie for first place in the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division.
Both teams finished 5-1 in the NSC Prairie division.
Mundelein d. Stevenson: Courtney Perreault and Brittany Busscher each had 7 kills to lead the Mustangs past the Patriots 26-24, 25-22.
Karen Chin set 36-36 with 10 assists for Mundelein (13-10, 4-3). Busscher and Madi Wilcox each had 2 aces. Wilcox and Karolina Sierzputowski each chipped in 2 blocks.
Rachel Baader slammed 10 kills and got 5 digs for Stevenson (22-7, 5-2). Jamie Baranowski set 24 for 26 with 7 assists and added 6 digs. Hannah Kay was 10 to 12 setting with 8 assists for the Patriots.