Lake Villa 10/18/12 Lakes' Direll Clark (20) is congratulated for his touchdown against North Chicago| Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 21, 2012 6:07AM
Turns out that not all 7-1 football teams in the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division are created equal.
On Friday night, 7-1 Lakes hosted 7-1 North Chicago in the final game of the regular season and the 62-0 Eagles’ victory showed that one team is ready for the playoffs and the others has a lot of work to do in practice this week to avoid being a one-and-done in the postseason.
Lakes dominated in every phase Friday, and the victory that gave the Eagles their second straight division title and their first ever that they didn’t have to share.
The competitive phase of the game was over early.
Senior star Direll Clark rushed for first-quarter touchdowns from 50 and four yards out.
In the second quarter, junior QB T.J. Edwards threw TD passes to Justin Bergeron (23 yards), Andrew Spencer (28 yards) and Nick Battaglia (4 yards).
In the first half, North Chicago ran seven plays that gained yardage and nine plays that lost ground. The Hawks finished the half with a minus-17 yards of offense. The Warhawks finished the night with 20 yards of offense.
In addition, there were 23 penalties in 24 minutes of game action, including 14 on North Chicago.
No, it wasn’t pretty.
Mercifully, the game moved into running-clock mode 90 seconds into the second half when Spencer’s pick-6 return of 55 yards made it 41-0.
For the game, Clark rushed 13 times for 155 yards and 2 scores.
Edwards completed 8-of-14 passes for 110 yards and 4 scores, and also rushed 12 times for 121 yards.
Both teams will have playoff games next week, and their opponents will be announced tonight. The schools are in different classes based on enrollment, so there will not be a rematch.
“Our mentality on defense is 11 equals 1,” said Lakes defensive end A.J. Scoggins who had two sacks in the game. “We had 11 guys on the field doing their job. It was a great team effort.
“It feels good. It’s a big thing for the Lakes program. Last year, we split it and it just didn’t feel the same. It feels good to accomplish another of our goals. Our next goal is to win state.”
The game ended with 19 North Chicago penalties and 10 for the Eagles.
The game deteriorted after intermission and included a North Chicago backup getting ejected. He will be ineligible for the first playoff game.
“The big thing our kids have to understand is that it’s do or die now,” said Lakes coach Luke Mertens of the playoffs. “You don’t get a second chance.
“Every game from now on has to be their best effort.”