Lake Zurich bears down
The names have changed -- and the head coach, too. But one thing that hasn't gone away with the coaches or the graduated players is winning.
Lake Zurich senior quarterback Jake Stauner knew that coming into this season, yet no one really knew much about Stauner.
"We knew," said first-year head coach Dave Proffitt. "We saw what he did to our defense all summer long."
Maybe visiting Fremd and new coach Lou Sponsel didn't know. But they surely do now.
Stauner looked like a four-year starter instead of a player that hadn't taken a snap in two years. He engineered a ground game that looked like Lake Zurich football of the past as the Bears amassed 241 yards on the ground en route to a convincing 21-0 win over visiting Fremd to open the 2012 season.
"You always have to believe that you can do what we did tonight," Stauner said. "I have a lot of faith in these guys and they came out and did what we knew they could do -- it was awesome."
Once the nerves of the first game of the season wore off, the Lake Zurich offense started to find its rhythm. On the first series of the second quarter, senior running back Connor Schrader capped off an 8-play, 76-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring run to put Lake Zurich up 7-0 with 7:29 left before half.
Schrader finished a very busy night by carrying the ball 25 times for a game-best 115 yards.
"Jake played great tonight but he had a lot of help from Connor," Proffitt said. "Connor and Jake really complement each other so well."
While the offense for the Bears was beginning to find its way, the stalwart of the program over the last decade, the defense, showed it was in midseason form.
Lake Zurich (1-0) held the visiting Vikings to only one first down in the second and third quarters combined while forcing a pair of turnovers.
"We got outcoached and outplayed tonight," Sponsel said. "They executed and made big plays in key situations and we didn't."
A key moment of the contest came late in the second quarter. The Vikings defense forced a punt, but with 2:14 left in the half, Fremd (0-1) was unable to get a first down and move the ball. Lake Zurich got the ball back with 1:17 left to give Stauner all the time he needed.
Lake Zurich moved the ball inside the Fremd 20 and two plays later, Stauner ran away from the defense for a 14-yard scoring play and a 14-0 cushion.
"The defense was keying on Connor and I took an opportunity and tried to run and gain some yards," Stauner said. "It was great to get an opportunity like that and as an offense we took advantage of it."
The hosts closed the scoring by reaching into their bag of tricks. A 36-yard field goal attempt turned into a fake, which turned into a 19-yard scoring pass from Matt Moon to Colton Moskal.
Junior Jeff McGlade led the Fremd offense with 48 yards rushing on 15 carries. Sophomore Sam Beutler passed for 101 yards.