It was hot, overly-muggy and insects were flying everywhere, but of the thousands in attendance on Friday night in Lake Zurich, no one looked more uncomfortable than the Bears' offense. After running all over Fremd in Week 1, No. 8 Lake Zurich (1-1) was held to 45 yards on the ground as the visiting Cary-Grove Trojans (2-0) left Mel Eide Field with a 10-7 upset victory over the Bears.
The Trojans, who posted an impressive 28-0 shutout over St. Charles East last week, found themselves outside of the Week 2 ESPNChicago.com poll, but that's not the type of locker-room material Cary-Grove used as inspiration. Junior defensive back Zach Marszal made this much clear after his team's upset win: the Trojans are out to earn respect with their physicality, work ethic and determination.
"We try not to pay attention to any of that," said Marszal, who collected a pair of interceptions in the contest. "We just go out and do our thing every game. We practice hard every week and we don't look at the rankings - we know we're a very talented team that can do damage."
Doing damage is an understatement; the Lake Zurich running back tandem of Mike Shield and Connor Schrader, who each ran for over 100-yards one week ago, tallied just 12 and 6 yards respectively. LZ backup quarterback Steven Kuhn (9-23, 106 yds, 2 INT) was also limited, finishing with 21 yards on the ground and a touchdown pass, all of which came on the Bears' second to last series from scrimmage.
Trailing 10-0 with 2:42 to play, Kuhn led the Bears on a 9-play touchdown drive, capped off by a five-yard pass to Brandon Markert (5 rec, 49 yes). Following a Cary-Grove three-and-out, however, Kuhn's final two throws fell incomplete to end the game.
Though Lake Zurich had plenty of missed opportunities and a multitude of bad-snaps, head coach Bryan Stortz credited his team's effort in the loss.
"Cary-Grove played a great football game and they deserved to win, but I know that our kids walk out of here knowing that there are things we did not do well enough to earn a victory," Stortz said. "But they gave everything that they had and laid everything out on the field. There were plenty of people here who thought this one was wrapped up but our kids kept fighting - they kept fighting and I think that's definitely something to take pride in and build off of."
Despite being held scoreless in the second half, Cary-Grove wasted no time scoring its only touchdown of the game. The Trojans reached the end zone on the 10th play of their opening drive, a 21-yard reverse to senior John Pearl; kicker Josh Buckingham added the Trojans' final three points on a 31-yard field goal with 1.6 seconds remaining in the first half.
CG relied heavily on the ground game, totaling 184 yards on the ground to just 17 through the air; Trojans' quarterback Corey Laktas (34 yds, FUM), threw just a single pass in the game, a 17 yard completion to Pearl.
Trojan work-horse, Patrick O'Malley led the victors with 81 yards on 16 carries.
Player of the game: Cary-Grove junior DB, Zach Marszal: 2 INT's (one in the end zone).
Stat of the game: After entering halftime with a 10-0 lead, Cary-Grove went three-and-out on all of its seven second-half possessions and still earned the "W."
It was over when: Though it's cliche, this one was over when the clock struck 0:00 after Kuhn's final two passes fell incomplete.
Quote of the night: "We just got to the football. We didn't really have a secret." - Cary-Grove head coach, Brad Seaburg on how the Trojans thwarted Lake Zurich's rushing attack.