Lake Zurich stays hot, tops Libertyville

After pulling off the upset last weekend at Warren, confident Lake Zurich was hoping to keep that momentum going Friday night in a North Suburban Conference football showdown at Libertyville.

The Bears looked sharp overall offensively in the first half as they took a 14-0 lead into halftime before posting a 21-8 NSC victory to improve to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the conference.

The Wildcats (3-3, 2-2) had a chance to cut into the lead just before the intermission as they took over at the Lake Zurich 46-yard line. But they were unable to get past the Bears' 23 before time expired.

After a missed 37-yard field goal late in the first quarter, Lake Zurich got on the scoreboard when quarterback Ashton Gondeck (16-for-23, 148 yards passing) hit Jackson Piggott for a 20-yard touchdown on a bubble screen pass. The extra point by Danny Vuckovic made the score 7-0 just 54 seconds into the second quarter.

On the Bears' next drive, Gondeck (103 yards rushing on 11 carries) showed great speed sweeping right on a quarterback keeper for a 52-yard TD run and a 14-0 lead with 5:13 left in the opening half.

Lake Zurich methodically marched 68 yards on 15 plays to boost its lead to 21-0 with 1:33 to go in the third quarter as Gondeck scored on a 1-yard keeper.

"I'm just doing all I can to help this team whether it's run the ball or pass the ball," said Gondeck, who played at Carmel the past two seasons before returning to Lake Zurich for his senior year. "Starting the season we knew we were going to be something special."

Libertyville broke up the shutout with 2:33 to play when sophomore quarterback Quinn Schambow (18-for-34 passing, 182 yards) hit Kristian Gavric with an 18-yard TD pass. Then Charlie True ran in the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 21-8.

But in spite of an interception by Libertyville's Luka Batinovic with 1:45 to play, the Wildcats were unable to sustain a late scoring drive as an interception by Lake Zurich's Tyler Burkley put the finishing touches on the Lake Zurich win.

Lake Zurich's Chris Pirrone got 38 tough yards on 17 rushes while teammate Cal Grabowski had 22 yards on 6 attempts. Schambow had 9 carries for 28 yards.

"I feel good about where we're at as a team, and we're getting better every week," said Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz. "We have great senior leadership, our kids have been locked in, and they did exactly what we needed to do."

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