LAKE ZURICH — Lake Zurich’s running game was in full force during its 35-8 Week 4 homecoming win over Mundelein Friday night.
The Bears (2-2, 1-1 NSC Lake) racked up 326 rushing yards on 39 carries — along with four touchdowns — for their first division victory of the season.
Junior running back Ben Klett (8 carries, 102 yards) had a breakout game. He caught a 56-yard play-action bomb from quarterback Joey Lindstrom to open the scoring midway through the first quarter, then added a 3-yard touchdown on the ground just over three minutes later.
“Almost every play this year, when I’m in the backfield, I hear the other team calling out my number before the snap,” Klett said. “There’s no doubt teams are keying on me or spying me.”
Senior co-captain Zane Lodico (12 carries, 103 yards) was the other part of Lake Zurich’s 1-2 backfield punch. He tallied a pair of touchdown runs in the third quarter (10 and 22 yards), which put the Mustangs in the rearview mirror for good.
After having just two double-digit gains running the ball in the first half, the Bears had gains of 10, 11, 15, 17, 22, 25 and 43 yards on the ground in the second half.
“Our offensive line was creating holes big enough to drive a truck through,” Lodico said. “They deserve a lot of the credit. At halftime, we weren’t satisfied being up just 14-0. It wasn’t enough. Our coaches told us we had to finish.”
Lodico also punished Mundelein defenders after initial contact, play after play. It took a noticeable toll on the Mustangs as the game went on.
“A lot of my yards after contact come from preparation and determination,” Lodico said. “In practice, we’re taught to always keep our feet moving, and to stay low to the ground.”
Lodico has become a factor on special teams, too. He boomed a 48-yard punt that missed pinning Mundelein inside its 5-yard line by inches early in the game. During pregame warmups, several of his kicks tallied five-plus-second hang times.
“Zane is one of our senior leaders, so this is the type of performance we always expect from him,” Lake Zurich coach David Proffitt said. “Overall, I’m pleased with [this victory]. Our objective this week was to get better, and more importantly, we wanted to emphasize taking things one play at a time.
“We need to be able to run the ball consistently like this every game. It goes hand-in-hand and sets the table for everything else we do. When we’re able to run the ball consistently, it keeps the defense off the field, but it also sets the tone mentally for our entire football team.”
Mundelein (0-3, 0-2) ran the ball 45 times for 122 yards, but prevented Lake Zurich from pitching a shutout with a seven-play, 57-yard drive late in the fourth quarter.
“The Bears are just a solid, consistent football team,” said Mundelein junior quarterback Colten Fisher (18 carries, 44 yards). “Every down, they give you their best effort. They don’t let up, even for a second. I’m excited to watch film of this game, because there are a lot of things I know I can learn from it — from both teams.”