LAKE FOREST — With 9:28 remaining in the third quarter against Lake Forest on Friday night, Lake Zurich offensive coordinator Aaron Towne decided it was time to throw the football.
Up until that point of Lake Zurich’s 35-24 win over Lake Forest, Towne had called only one pass play for junior quarterback Joey Lindstrom. But at halftime, quarterbacks coach Drew Cooper told Towne he believed the Bears could throw deep against a Lake Forest defense overplaying the run.
With Lake Zurich on its 35-yard line facing second-and-4, all three elements of a perfect pass play came together. Towne made the call, Lindstrom made the throw and senior wide receiver Trevor Staley made the catch. The 65-yard touchdown gave the Bears a 21-10 lead, providing a big-play spark to the team’s unstoppable ground game.
The North Suburban Lake road win was easily the best offensive performance of the season for Lake Zurich (4-3, 3-2). It came at a time when the Bears needed it most.
“We knew this was a must-win going in. We had to execute in all phases. And I think we did that tonight,” said Lindstrom, who finished 3-of-3 passing for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Unhappy with his team’s level of play in a 21-0 loss to Stevenson on Oct. 3, Lake Zurich coach Dave Profitt challenged his players in practice. He ramped up the number of starter repetitions in team drills. The hope was that hard practices during the week would lead to physical play against the Scouts. It worked, as the Bears ran the football with authority all night. Out of 60 offensive plays, 57 were rushes, resulting in 287 yards.
Senior Zane Lodico finished with 123 yards on 26 carries. His 4-yard touchdown with 10:12 left in the second quarter broke a scoreless game. Lodico was most effective inside the hashmarks while junior Ben Klett (16 carries, 97 yards) found lanes on the perimeter. His 18-yard TD with 1:36 left in the half gave the Bears a 14-3 lead.
“We love gridiron football. Running it all over, converting on third downs,” Lodico said. “We love it when our offense is out there for a long time.”
Lake Zurich was helped by a miscue from the Lake Forest offense late in the third quarter. With the Bears leading 21-17, Lake Forest had the ball on its own 36-yard line. But a high snap to quarterback Danny Carollo (14-of-22, 152 yards, two TDs) rolled all the way to the end zone before it was recovered for a touchdown by Bears senior linebacker Jordan Juarez.
On Lake Zurich’s next offensive possession, Lindstrom found Staley again for a 26-yard TD to make it 35-24.
For the Scouts (4-3, 1-3), senior running back Wes Janeck had 18 carries for 104 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run.
“They did whatever they wanted offensively. We were non-effective defensively,” Scouts coach Chuck Spagnoli said. “We couldn’t stop the run with any consistency at all. And when they wanted to throw it, we did a poor job covering.”