Lake Zurich's quick strike sets tone in win over Fremd
It was a beautiful evening for football when host Lake Zurich met longtime rival Fremd in a season-opening game under ideal weather conditions on Friday night.
The host Bears wasted very little time getting on the scoreboard. Senior quarterback Ashton Gondeck lobbed a perfect pass over the middle for a 68-yard touchdown to Tyler Erkman on Lake Zurich's first play from scrimmage.
From there, the Bears went on to take a 21-0 lead into halftime before posting a 21-7 nonconference victory over the Vikings.
Lake Zurich's second touchdown was almost identical to its first.
But this time, Gondeck hit Jackson Piggott over the middle for a 67-yard TD pass.
The extra point by Danny Vuckovic made the score 14-0 with 4:34 left in the second quarter.
Then came a tough play for the Fremd defense as Gondeck made an unbelievable 38-yard TD run, cutting back and breaking tackles to boost the Bears' lead to 21-0 with only 4.6 seconds left in the first half.
Gondeck had a huge game with 122 yards on 14 carries to go along with 7-for-17 passing for 196 yards as he threw for all 196 yards in the first half.
"We've got a great offense, and I couldn't be happier with my offensive line," Gondeck said. "Their safeties were like cheating over a little bit so that left the middle of the field vacant so I just threw it over the top of them. I thought we handled the pressure well, and we did great for the first game."
Fremd moved the ball effectively throughout the contest. Quarterback Caiden Suchy (20-for-29 passing for 178 yards) hit Brennan Saxe with a 32-yard TD pass midway though the third quarter before the extra point by Ja Martinez cut the lead to 21-7.
The Vikings marched down to the Lake Zurich 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. But Lake Zurich's Tyler Erkman recovered a crucial fumble by Suchy to prevent Fremd from cutting the lead to 21-14.
"Our guys battled all game. We let some opportunities slip, but it's game one," said Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz, whose team is now 11-4 overall against Fremd. "Any time you have a quarterback who is a dual threat that really opens up your offense."
Lake Zurich's Cal Grabowski had 33 yards on 5 rushes while Martinez had 32 yards on 8 attempts. Suchy had to fight for 24 yards rushing on 19 carries as the Bears' defense had numerous sacks on Suchy.