Wauconda, Lakes post Friday night shutouts
The Wauconda defensive steamroller took its act into North Chicago Friday and the results were the same.
The Bulldogs held North Chicago to minus-22 yards of total offense in a 51-0 Northern Lake County Conference mauling. Wauconda moved to 7-0 overall and almost certainly guaranteed it will host a first-round playoff game in three weeks.
"Our defense played outstanding," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said.
Offensively, Wauconda, which sits atop the NLCC at 5-0 and is looking to become the first team not named Antioch to win the conference title. The Bulldogs, a game ahead of the Sequoits and Lakes, excelled in the passing game against North Chicago with their first 3 touchdowns coming through the air.
"On offense, they stacked the line of scrimmage, which opened up the passing game," Mills noted. "When your quarterback (Vince Bennett) goes 4-for-4 with three of those being touchdowns, it's a good day."
Wauconda was equally deft with its special teams. Colin Husko booked a kickoff back 75 yards for a score. The Bulldogs' defense and special teams accounted for a pair of safeties as well. Wauconda amassed 160 yards on 3 kickoff returns.
"When you can score in all three phases of the game, it is a good day," Mills said.
Wauconda led 30-0 after the first quarter and 37-0 at halftime of a game that quickly deteriorated into a blowout. The Bulldogs racked up 262 total yards of offense and needed only 35 plays to do so -- and the return yardage puts Wauconda's total yardage output north of 400.
Clayton Gasby hauled in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Bennett, while Nick Bennett grabbed a 17-yard strike for a score. Luke Hansen caught a 10-yard pass for a score. Vince Bennett also ran in a pair of touchdowns from 1 and 9 yards out. Jacob Norris rounded out the scoring with a 10-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run.
Connor Vanselow ran the ball 12 times for 66 yards. Vince Bennett carried 6 times for 58 yards and Husko had 4 carries for 33 yards.
Mills said his squad must cut down on yellow flags going forward. "The one area we will have to clean up is penalties," he said. "We had five in the game with two of them coming on big runs by Connor Vaneslow. We need to play cleaner."
Wauconda, which has shut out four of its seven opponents this year and surrendered a grand total of 40 points in 7 games, finishes up with a home game against Grayslake North (2-5) Friday and a road contest at Round Lake (2-5) in Week 9. North Chicago dropped to 0-7, 0-5.
Lakes 42, Grant 0:
Lakes became playoff eligible with this Northern Lake County win in Lake Villa.
In addition to being 5-2 overall, the Eagles moved to 4-1 in NLCC action, one game behind leader Wauconda.
As has become the norm more often than not this season, Lakes thrived in the win thanks to a powerful rushing attack. While Mark Hunter ran it 17 times for 186 yards and a score, Amir Al Hindi was equally up to task, running 12 times for 82 yards and scoring 4 touchdowns.
"Mark Hunter, Amir Al Hindi and our offensive line were the standout players," Lakes coach Jordan Eder said. "Both ran very hard and had big nights, and the offensive line continued to open up holes for them."
Tyson Dewey put a bow on an explosive Lakes offensive night with 4 catches for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Defensively, JP Sullivan, JoJo Kotrosios and Tim Mink each had fumble recoveries.
"Our defense played outstanding as well, creating turnovers and getting the shutout," Eder said. "We were able to control the block and establish the run game early. Our defense continued to create stops and come up with turnovers. It was a great team win."
Needing one win to earn a guaranteed playoff spot, Lakes travels to Grayslake Central (5-2) Friday where the winner stamps a playoff ticket, and then hosts Antioch (4-3) to close out the regular season in another game that likely will have big playoff implications, possibly for both teams. The Eagles are tied for second in the NLCC with Antioch.
Other Lake County scores:
Grayslake North 41, Round Lake 0
Stevenson 41, Waukegan 0