By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
The Rockford Boylan Titans entered their IHSA Class 7A quarterfinals matchup Nov. 10 expecting a defensive struggle. Nobody told the Lake Zurich Bears that was the way it was supposed to go.
The Bears held the ball for nearly 11 minutes more than the Titans, and outgained them by 132 yards, as Lake Zurich cruised to a 21-6 victory to end Boylan’s winning streak at 39 games and knock them out of the playoffs.
“They’re tough as nails,” Boylan Head Coach John Cacciatore said of Lake Zurich. “The things I thought we could come in and do, they got the better of us. We had opportunities, we just couldn’t put it together.”
On the surface, it appeared that the Titans were getting the game they expected when the score was 0-0 after the first quarter. But the reality is, Lake Zurich already had 90 yards of offense to Boylan’s 9 yards, with two drives stalling deep in Boylan territory.
In the second quarter, they finally broke the scoring open on a 12-play, 50-yard drive that ended when quarterback Noah Allgood connected with Jake Stauner for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
“We just wanted to score and get points,” Allgood said of the second-quarter drive. “We knew they had a pretty good offense coming in.”
Boylan was able to manage a 31-yard field goal from Sean Slattery just before the half to cut the lead to 7-3. But Lake Zurich struck quickly after halftime, scoring on the fifth play of the opening possession when Sean Lynch went 55 yards for a score to make it 14-3.
“The blocks up front were great, and it was a huge hole,” said Lynch, who ran for 114 yards and had an interception. “All I had to do was book it and run. It’s always nice to start the second half with a big run and a touchdown.”
Boylan appeared to catch a break on the next possession when they stopped the Bears on a fourth-and-1 at the Lake Zurich 35-yard line. After the questionable call, the Titans moved it all the way down to the 6-yard line for first-and-goal.
But the Lake Zurich defense held tough again, aided by Boylan penalties and personnel problems. The Titans could only manage a field goal to keep it a one-score game at 14-6.
“That second field goal was especially frustrating,” Cacciatore said. “Just frustrated we couldn’t string more things together. If we put 6 in on that one, it changes things and gives us a different perspective going forward.”
Lake Zurich wasted little time responding, as Allgood, who was 3-for-5 passing for 78 yards, connected on his second touchdown pass, this time making the score 21-6. Boylan mustered little offense from there, as the Bears held on for a victory.
The key for Lake Zurich was their ability to put up first downs early in the game where Boylan could not. Connor Schraeder ran for a game-high 125 yards for the Bears, helping them control the clock and wear down the Boylan defense.
“We watched a lot of film on them,” Schraeder said of facing the Titans’ defense. “We were pretty confident coming in because we know our potential. We knew what we needed to do, and we executed.”
For Boylan, it is the end of streaks. No state championship this season and an impressive three-year run comes to an end. But Cacciatore said it is not the end of an era for Boylan.
“We’ll be back,” he said. “We’ll put things back together. 2013 starts right here on this turf.”
From the Nov. 14-20, 2012, issue