Libertyville knocks off Lake Zurich

SHARE Libertyville knocks off Lake Zurich
SHARE Libertyville knocks off Lake Zurich

LIBERTYVILLE — All it took was one key play to shift the balance of power in the NSC Lake Division during Libertyville’s stunning 20-10 Week 3 road win over Lake Zurich Friday.

With just under 7 minutes remaining in the third quarter — and the Wildcats clinging to a 6-3 lead in a steady drizzle — Libertyville senior defensive end Jordan McInerney burst into the backfield and blocked Lake Zurich senior Zane Lodico’s punt.

But he wasn’t finished. McInerney never gave up on the play and continued to chase the ball. It touched the hands of several players from both teams on a slick turf surface in the ensuing scramble, before he finally scooped it up inside the 20-yard line.

Less than a minute later, the Wildcats scored on a 1-yard run by quarterback Riley Lees for a double-digit lead.

“A lot of adrenaline was flowing out there,” McInerney said. “We’re taught to never give up on the ball. When Lake Zurich’s offensive line took one step back, we felt like we’d already taken three steps into their backfield most of the night.”

Lees (26 carries, 100 yards) used his outstanding agility to rack up three rushing TDs, but it was defense and special teams that did the dirty work in between, Senior defensive tackle Scott Larak had a momentum-changing sack that stalled a lengthy second-half Lake Zurich drive, and was fired-up talking about how Libertyville (3-0 overall, 1-0 NSC Lake) will head into a Week 4 division showdown against Warren unbeaten.

“It helps we rotate guys in and out a lot on our defensive line,” Larak said. “We have a ton of capable bodies on our bench, so if one guy wears down, we’re not losing much, if anything, skill-wise. This was an incredible football game and an incredible win for us against a real good football team.”

Another defensive end, 6-foot-6 Ben Kimpler, got in on the action, too. He had a pair of sacks and threw in a key 51-yard punt in the fourth quarter that pinned Lake Zurich (1-2, 0-1) deep in its own territory.

“Just an unbelievable win for us,” Kimpler said. “Each time we needed a big play, someone stepped up.”

It was the second time Libertyville coach Mike Jones has beaten Lake Zurich on the road in his three seasons as the Wildcats’ head coach. He also knocked off the Bears, 3-0, in 2012.

“Winning a football game on Lake Zurich’s field is no easy task,” Jones said. “This is the kind of win that should do wonders for our confidence. I’m proud of our guys. Now let’s see if we can sustain it, because we still have a lot of things to work on.”

Bears coach David Proffitt gave Libertyville heaps of credit postgame,

“I said it before the season began, Riley Lees is a really good football player and an outstanding athlete,” Proffitt said. “And Libertyville is a very good football team, make no mistake. Both teams played hard, and I thought the effort was there on both sides. But there were several plays that could’ve changed the course of the game we didn’t take advantage of. They did, to their credit.”

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