The Lakes Eagles passed the first of three major tests to start the season by overcoming highly regarded Grayslake North 35-21 on Friday in the season opener for both teams.
The contest was billed as a battle between Lakes’ star running back, Direll Clark, and Grayslake North’s brilliant QB, A.J. Fish.
And while both players were as spectacular as advertised, the difference in the game was a player making his first varsity start.
Lakes quarterback T.J. Edwards won the starting job with a strong summer, and he looked even stronger on Friday, running for two touchdowns and throwing for another to secure the victory.
Lakes’ start to the season also includes a home game against talented Woodstock North next Friday night, followed by a contest against Lake Forest.
Edwards’ play, however, suggests teams won’t be able to stack the line against Clark, meaning Lakes has a shot against any opponent on its schedule.
Edwards’s 27-yard TD pass to Thomas Dubicki in the first quarter tied the game a 7-7, and his seven-run scoring burst on the first play of the second quarter made it 14-7 for the Eagles.
Clark (22 carries, 158 yards, 2 TDs) scored on runs of one and two yards to make it 28-14 at halftime, and Edwards delivered the clinching score on a four-yard burst with 5;07 left.
For the game, Edwards was 13-of-18 passing for 171 yards, 1 TD and 1 pick. He also carried 13 times for 45 yards and 2 scores.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my line,” said Edwards. “They made it really easy for me today, both passing and running.
“Grayslake North is a good football team. We knew we just had to come out and keep driving our feet.”
For Grayslake North, Fish was 17-of-25 passing for 172 yards. He had two passes picked off, including his last one, which Blake Parsons swiped with four minutes left.
Fish also ran 25 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns.