Fremd stuns Lake Zurich
It was graduation day Friday for Ryan Saxe and Fremd Friday in Palatine.
Saxe did it by air and by ground while Fremd's defense was smothering at times as the Vikings drilled Lake Zurich 24-6 in the nonconference season opener.
Saxe, who is a junior, took over the reins at quarterback about halfway into the season last year. It was a learn-on-the-job approach as he helped the Vikings to a share of the conference title and a playoff berth.
After a summer of getting himself prepared, Saxe showed what he learned. He threw for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns, completing 14-of-20. He also rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
"Our 'win' team was huge for us," said Saxe, giving credit to his scout team.
"We have been preparing for this game a long time. When I have targets like (Jack) Hipchen, my brother (Andrew Saxe), (Jason) Haas and (Ryan) Palmer, we will be tossing it around the field a lot."
Ryan Saxe did just that, engineering two long scoring drives in the third quarter as Fremd pulled away from a 7-6 halftime lead.
The Vikings took the second half kickoff and marched 76 yards in 13 plays. Ryan Saxe connected with Hipchen on an 18-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-6.
After a punt, Fremd took over on its own 14. This time the Vikings went the distance in 11 plays as it was Saxe (Ryan) to Saxe (Andrew) on a 29-yard touchdown pass with 1:15 left in the quarter as Fremd built a 21-6 lead.
The Fremd defense, which stymied Lake Zurich all night, then came up with one of its 3 interceptions as Haas picked off a pass and returned it 16 yards to the Lake Zurich 11. That set up a 23-yard field goal by Connor Cox and Fremd had a 24-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.
It was that defense, led by Haas, Hipchen Trey Castella, Palmer, Jack Walsh, Andrew Saxe and Joey Rattin who limited Lake Zurich to just 3 first downs in the second half until the Bears' final drive of the game.
"We knew every play they were going to run," said Hipchen, who also had an interception and earlier in the game blocked a conversion kick.
"We were just in the right spot because we knew where it was coming,"
Fremd, which has now has won 4 of the 13 games in the series, got the start to the season it was looking for.
"The boys played a great game," Vikings coach Lou Sponsel said. "I don't think I have seen a team in week one, in all three phases of the game, a group execute like that. We knew what we were capable of. It's sometime like opening a Christmas present. You never know what you are going to get."
Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz, who was making his head coaching debut for the Bears, said he was disappointed in his team's performance.
"We didn't execute very well on some of the things that we thought we could," Planz said. "We had some self-inflicted wounds, we just didn't get the guys prepared. "
Fremd opened the scoring in the first half when Ryan Saxe scored on a 2-yard run.
Lake Zurich came right back and tallied on a 13-yard run by Jack Dwyer.