For the better part of Saturday afternoon, Zach Till carried his team up and down the field.
Then, the Lake Zurich quarterback was carried off the field by a golf cart.
The Bears are hoping that in victory they also didn't suffer a major loss.
Till rolled up 120 rushing yards, finished with 133 passing yards and scored 4 touchdowns in Lake Zurich's 35-32 wipe-your-brow-in-relief Class 7A playoff victory over visiting Geneva.
But on Lake Zurich's second-to-last series, with less than four minutes left, Till made a slashing move wide toward the sideline and rolled his left ankle.
He spent the rest of the game sitting on an examining table as a trainer took a closer look. Till joined his teammates in their victory huddle on the field with his ankle wrapped in ice.
He will spend the next week rehabbing in order to be ready for Round 2. The No. 8 Bears, who move to 8-2 on the season, will face top-seeded Glenbard West, a 34-7 winner over Prospect.
No. 9 Geneva, meanwhile, wraps up its season with a 7-3 record.
"Hopefully, it's just a minor sprain and I'll be good by next week," said Till, who is familiar with ankle trouble. He sat out the first two games of the season with a high sprain to his right ankle. "This (ankle sprain) doesn't feel (as serious) as the other one."
Even as he watched Till be carted off the field, Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz was optimistic.
"It's tough to tell right now but (Till) thinks he just twisted it," Stortz said. "He's a tough kid. Last year, he got hurt during the middle of the St. Rita (playoff) game and you could see the pain on his face. But he finished the game.
"My assumption is that he will be playing (against Glenbard West)."
The Bears can only hope. Till was the focal point of their offense against Geneva. Until he suffered his ankle sprain, he had a lot of success hitting those outside corners and turning the ball up field for big gains.
"Zach is great at reading our blocks," Lake Zurich running back Mike Shield said. "We try to get him to the outside but if he can't get that, he's able to make the read right away and make a great cut."
Till scored Lake Zurich's first touchdown with 4:54 left in the first quarter on a 15-yard run. That eased the Bears' angst in the wake of the gift they gave Geneva just 14 seconds into the game.
Lake Zurich began the game backed up on its own 14-yard line and wound up fumbling the ball on its first play from scrimmage. Geneva defensive lineman Drew White followed the ball as it made its way into the end zone and landed on it for a touchdown.
"That was a good way to start the game, but we knew it wasn't going to end in the first quarter," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "You can lose the game in the first quarter, but you sure can't win it in the first quarter."
Or in the second quarter.
The Vikings seemed to be in firm control late in the second quarter after scoring two straight rushing touchdowns, on a 1-yard run by running back Parker Woodworth (22 carries, 57 yards) and on a 9-yard run by quarterback Matt Williams, who was also making plenty of big plays through the air.
That gave Geneva a 21-7 lead that nearly held up as the halftime score.
But in the final moments before halftime, the Lake Zurich offense went into hyper mode, scoring two touchdowns in the final 1:57.
Till directed an 11-play drive that covered 65 yards and was capped by his 3-yard run.
Then, the Lake Zurich defense forced Geneva into a punt just 44 seconds later. Four plays after that, the Bears scored again, this time on a 1-yard run by Till. That knotted the halftime score at 21.
"That was awesome," Till said of his team's two late touchdowns before the half. "We've been playing from behind all year. It wasn't anything different for us trying to come back."
Geneva regained the lead late in the third quarter when Williams, also the place kicker, boomed a 44-yard field goal.
But the Bears revved up their quick-striking offense again and scored 2 touchdowns in the final 52.8 seconds of the third.
Shield broke off a 51-yard touchdown run to give Lake Zurich a 28-24 lead. Geneva then fumbled away the ball two plays later and Blake Moskal recovered for the Bears at the Geneva 15-yard line.
Till scored on the very next play to give Lake Zurich a 35-24 lead as time expired in the third.
"To move through the playoffs, you have to be resilient," Shield said. "You can't ever give up because nothing's over until the fat lady sings. Our offense took advantage of what they gave us."
Geneva made things interesting late in the game when Williams directed a quick five-play drive that covered 34 yards and was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Woodworth. That cut the Vikings' deficit to 35-32 with 2:32 left.
But Geneva couldn't stop Lake Zurich from moving the ball on it next series. Even with Till on the sideline, the Bears got one more big first down and that was all they needed to run out the clock.
"We didn't give up. We kept fighting," said Williams, who completed 13-of-18 passes for 231 yards. His favorite target was Ben Rogers, who caught 9 passes for 155 yards. "We had our opportunities, we just didn't make the plays. They (Lake Zurich) made one more play than we did.
"This is crazy. I remember thinking when I was sophomore, 'Oh, I have three more years left.' And now it's over. It's unbelievable."