Lake Zurich excels in all phases against Stevenson
It's a fair question: Which unit is best after the seven games, the Lake Zurich offense or defense?
On Friday night in Lincolnshire, things broke into 3s.
In the first half, Bears QB Evan Lewandowski completed 3 touchdown passes to three different receivers.
On the defensive side of the ball, three different Bears defenders picked off passes, stifling the Stevenson offense.
"At Lake Zurich, we play hard-nosed football,'' said linebacker Nick Fabbrini. "It takes all 11 players. Our defense played great tonight."
Lewandowski (13-for-16 passing, 216 yards) applauded his offensive line and a fine week of practice for the Bears' success.
The Bears (7-0) rolled to a 28-0 win over the home-standing Patriots in a North Suburban Conference showdown.
And it wasn't like the Patriots (5-2) had nothing working in this game.
Stevenson used a 13-play drive, opening the third quarter to drive the ball deep into Bears territory.
"They had that one drive, but we knew our defense would hold,'' Lewandowski said. "We also had the best week of practice coming into this game. And it was also great to have our student section cheering us on."
Both teams' offenses struggled to make ground in the opening quarter.
Nothing short of a spectacular throw from Lewandowski and equally fine catch from Matthijs Enters broke the scoreless tie. This 54-yard scoring play came late in the first quarter.
Lewandowski settled in early in the second quarter. He found Payton Powell for two successive pass completions. On a tough third-and nine play, Trenton Burkley caught a Lewandowski toss good for a 29-yard scoring play, and it was 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Lake Zurich's defense made its first move in the second quarter. Austin LePage intercepted a Grayson Kubow pass for the game's first turnover. It took only two additional plays to get into the end zone. Lucas Dwyer was next on the Lewandowski touchdown chain, and his 14-yard scoring catch made it 21-0 before halftime.
Despite the deficit, the Stevenson defense did shine for a few moments.
That's because Stevenson's Arnaz Chaubal sacked Lewandowski.
"I think that sack was my fault,'' Lewandowski admitted.
Lewandowski was again running for cover on his punt attempt following the sack. His athleticism paid off handsomely when he got a punt off after heavy pressure.
Still, 3 touchdowns to three different receivers made the Lake Zurich offense look good at halftime.
"We try and get everyone into our offense,'' Lewandowski added. "And that helped get our running game going, too."
Again, the second half began with an impressive drive from the Stevenson offense. Sophomore, Jean-Marc Etienne (12-43) began to chalk up some yardage on the ground. Kubow (11-26-85 yards) found 6-foot-3 Alex Campstick on a pair of passes during the time-consuming drive, and Eli Fishbein collared back-to-back passes.
But the third quarter closed with yet another interception, by Lake Zurich sophomore Anthony Mangano.
Joey Stutzman, Lake Zurich's busy running back, (18 carries, 68 yards) scored the game's last touchdown from a yard out. Fabbrini closed down the Stevenson offense with Lake Zurich's third pick of the night.
Both teams substituted late. Stevenson's Ryan Miller broke off a few fine runs as the clock ran out. Doing that duty late in the fourth quarter for Lake Zurich was George Gritsonis.