Glenbard West (11-1) may be a No. 3 seed, but its run to last year’s Class 7A state title showed it packs every bit as much punch on both sides of the ball as No. 1-seeded Lake Zurich (11-1). These two are no strangers. Last season, the Hilltoppers took a 19-0 lead into halftime against the Bears in the state semifinal, only to see Lake Zurich’s attempt at a furious fourth-quarter rally come up short for a dramatic 19-13 final. Glenbard West beat Lake Zurich 21-17 in the 2009 semifinals, but the Bears exacted some revenge with a 10-3 win against the Hilltoppers two years later.
The winner of Saturday’s game will square off against either Mt. Carmel (11-1) or unbeaten Edwardsville (12-0), which play in the other Class 7A semifinal.
When Lake Zurich throws…
As has been the case with great frequency this season, it was the arm of Lake Zurich senior quarterback Noah Allgood that tipped the scales for good during last week’s 16-6 win at Wheaton North. His 47-yard play-action heave to sophomore running back Ben Klett for a touchdown all but put the game out of reach, especially given the way Lake Zurich’s defense continues to dominate opponents (12 total points allowed in three playoff games). Expect more of the same from Allgood this week, as the Bears use their triple-option rushing attack to set up well-timed play-action strikes downfield.
“Noah’s worked so hard at getting better all season long,” Lake Zurich coach David Proffit said.
Look for Dylan Schassler, Sean Lynch, Brent Sweetwood, Sam Walstrum and Zane Lodico to be used as potential targets when the Bears do throw.
When Lake Zurich runs…
Last week’s wet, messy field conditions at Wheaton North made it tough to get a true feel for just how well the Bears’ rushing attack, which averages well over 5 yards per carry, has progressed. But if Lake Zurich hopes to make it to NIU’s Huskie Stadium next week, this will be one area in which the Bears — particularly Klett and Lynch — must succeed. The Hilltoppers allowed Schaumburg to rack up more than 250 yards on the ground last weekend.
Taking care of the ball has been a sore spot for the Bears, who had 18 fumbles in their first 10 games and have been guilty of multiple fumbles in each of their postseason contests. Ball security has to be a top priority this week.
When Glenbard West throws…
Teams don’t usually put up 125 combined points in three playoff wins (41.6 ppg) without getting some timely production out of the passing game, and the Hilltoppers are no exception.
Quarterback Drew Vogg, like his counterpart Allgood, likes to utilize play-action fakes when the timing is right. Receiver Luke Domask is among multiple wideouts on the Hilltoppers’ roster with the ability to stretch the field.
Lake Zurich held Northwestern-bound quarterback Clayton Thorson to just 87 yards through the air last Saturday night, but that was in a steady rain that was torrential at times. How successful Glenbard West is at trying to challenge a sturdy Bears’ secondary that includes Syracuse recruit Colton Moskal patrolling the middle of the field could be determining factor in the game’s outcome.
When Glenbard West runs…
The Hilltoppers’ powerful rushing attack is as big a reason as any why they are in position to defend their Class 7A crown. Scott Andrews is a speedy featured back who has racked up 1,444 yards and 27 touchdowns, and Glenbard West comes in averaging right around 300 yards per game on the ground. Devante Toney (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) and Jermon Kindle Joyner (5-8, 170) provide outstanding second and third options.
All three will have plenty of size to run behind, led by North Carolina State recruit and offensive lineman Eric Shute.