Up three touchdowns after having run just one play on offense, host Lakes built an insurmountable halftime lead and rolled past winless North Chicago 52-0 on Friday to complete a season of total domination in the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division.
The Eagles (8-1, 6-0) have now finished first in the division four straight years and have won 21 consecutive division games — all by 16 or more points. This year’s division wins were by 46, 43, 50, 52, 27 and 52 points.
Next up for Lakes will be the playoffs. North Chicago finished its first season under Johnny Johnson 0-9.
The unusual early scoring sequence went like this:
Cameron Ruiz (5 carries, 34 yards) ran 15 yards for a TD on the first play after Sean Rafferty blocked a Warhawk punt.
Doug Boudart then scored a TD when he recovered a second blocked punt by Rafferty to make it 14-0.
Then, Jake Balliu returned North Chicago’s next punt 46 yards for a touchdown and the 21-0 lead.
Junior quarterback Jordan Mercure (7 of 11, 111 yards) had TD passes of 13, 41 and 12 yards in the first half and also scored on a 37-yard run to complete the scoring. In the first two quarters, Lakes had 207 yards of offense and North Chicago 69. A 39-yard field goal by Cody Brum was the only scoring in the running-clock second half.
For North Chicago, Isaiah Washington ran 13 times for 52 yards and Jamero Shelton carried six times for 31 yards. Damond Washington was 3-of-7 passing for 31 yards.
“We were excited to play on Senior Night,” said Balliu, one of the area’s most versatile players (Yes, he could play QB if needed). Then when talking about the playoffs he said: “We know what we need to do to win in the playoffs. We have to come prepared starting Monday to play our best football.”
Lakes coach Luke Mertens talked about cleaning up the offense (penalties and bad plays), then lauded his junior QB, Jordan Mercure.
“Our quarterback is a big part of our offense and we have shown the ability to be successful in the air and on the ground,” the coach said. “To win, defensively we are going to have to stop the running game of other teams.”
On the other side, junior running back Washington was upbeat despite the team’s record.
“The results on the scoreboard didn’t always show it, but I though we played hard and finished games, he said. “I’m looking forward to next year to have more success.”