Tough finale for Libertyville
Let's talk numbers because this is big.
Many of us don't remember where we were 27 years ago.
Rest assured, everyone involved from both Libertyville and host Zion-Benton certainly had an inkling.
The final horn sounded and Zee-Bee players rejoiced with fans in the middle of the field, as if they had just won the state title.
It had been 27 years since the Bees last defeated Libertyville, and Friday night's 48-0 thumping of the wildcats also assured Zion of its first playoff appearance in, oh, a cool 15 years.
"There's nothing better than this, it's been so long," said senior running back Jordan Chisum, who rushed for 37 yards on 11 carries and a scored twice.
"We had a chance in the last game last year to beat them and make the playoffs. Tonight, the defense played crazy and we closed the deal."
Zion (5-4, 4-2) got it rolling early and often. The Bees scored 4 touchdowns on only three offensive plays in the opening quarter for a comfortable 28-0 lead before you could blink.
"We got on them early and never let up. We're just trying to stay humble," added Chisum.
After a 3-and-out and punt by Libertyville, senior gunslinger Romey Crawford hit senior wideout Kiani Mitchell for a 56-yard score on the first play from scrimmage for the Bees.
Chisum then dashed in from 2 yards out for a 14-0 lead not even 3 minutes into the game.
Senior linebacker Julian Johnson then picked off the first of his two passes on the night, which, you guessed, it another score by Zion.
This time it took 2 plays when Crawford raced 55 yards for a score and 21-0 lead.
Junior middle linebacker Christian Rogers added a 15-yard fumble return for a TD late in the first with the game well at hand at 28-0.
Chisum then caught a 10-yard TD pass from Crawford to make it 35-0 with 8:04 left in the third.
Crawford then hit Stephan Watkins 61 yard score, while senior free safety Tyler Creamer put the finishing touches on the victory with a 60 yard interception return.
Crawford finished completing 13-of-22 passes for 231 yards while also rushing for 91 on 11 carries.
The Zion defense forced 7 turnovers on the evening.
Libertyville had a chance to ruin the shutout by with the running clock in the second half, the Cats got to into the Bees red zone but time ran out.
"We had opportunities but we couldn't capitalize on anything," said Libertyville coach Mike Jones, whose troops finished 2-7 overall and 2-4 in the North Suburban Conference.
"We beat ourselves in a lot of games this year. We may not have done it on the field, but this group of guys are really good people and have character that will lead them well past football."