Stevenson turns back determined Lake Zurich
Stevenson: Pass first, run second.
Lake Zurich: Run first and pass second.
This North Suburban Lake opener for both clubs opened in Lincolnshire was a contrast in styles.
Because of the accurate throwing of quarterback Jack Sorenson (17-for-22, 300 yards), the Patriots had comfortable leads for most of the contest on Friday night.
And then the winless Bears from Lake Zurich put a scare into the defending state champions.
Only when Sorenson took a knee in the final seconds was this game finally into the win column for the Pats. Sorenson threw for 4 touchdowns and ran for another one as Stevenson survived the Bears in a true slugfest, 38-35.
"This is a rivalry game,'' Sorenson said. "There was a lot of hype. And it was a lot of fun. We got into a groove early. But also we never got too high or too low."
Certainly Sorenson and his first target, Matt Norton (3 TD catches), had their way with the Bears' defense. By the time the 6-foot-6 receiver had collected his third TD of the contest, the Pats' lead was a seemingly safe 28-7.
"Norton can do a lot of great things for us,'' said Stevenson coach Bill McNamara. "But this game had a crazy ending. Give Lake Zurich a lot of credit. Those boys played hard to very end."
Stevenson (2-1) looked ready to call this one in after Sorenson fired his fourth TD of the night. This one went 46 yards to Mike Marchese, and with less than eight minutes to play, the Stevenson lead was 38-21.
That's when Lake Zurich scrapped its very effective running game and gave quarterback Joey Lindstrom a chance to put the ball up in the air. He completed 7 passes in two drives. Touchdowns went into the arms of Alex Miller (8 yards) and Jake Stevens (10 yards), and it was a 3-point game.
One onside kick had worked to perfection. But the second one was collared by Stevenson, and the Pats put the game on ice.
Lake Zurich lost star running back Ben Klett to an injury before halftime.
In his place came Kyle Roth (19-118). Senior John Strojny scored a pair of touchdowns for the Bears.
"Every year, Lake Zurich has a really good team,'' Sorenson said. "We were pumped for this. But this was a hard game to win 38-35."