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Lakes renews its football rivalry at Antioch
By Joe Aguilar | Daily Herald Staff

Lakes' Donte Arnold, left, gives Parker Blain a had after Arnold scored the first touchdown of the game against Round Lake on Saturday, October 2.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

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Published: 10/4/2010 11:11 PM

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The Antioch and Lakes football teams renew their crosstown rivalry Friday night in Antioch.

Lakes owns a 3-2 edge in the "Pigskin Classic," with victories last year (38-22), 2007 (27-26 in overtime) and 2006 (31-13). Antioch won the inaugural meeting 42-7 in 2005 and walloped the Eagles 50-7 en route to a berth in the Class 6A state semifinals in 2008.

Lakes coach Luke Mertens thinks the rivalry is bigger for the fans than his football team, but he also knows there should be no shortage of enthusiasm for the game since both teams are 5-1.

The winner clinches a playoff berth. Lakes became playoff-eligible thanks to its 28-14 win over Round Lake on Saturday.

"One thing we know is that we HAVE to definitely get 6 (wins) to get in, because we won't have enough playoff points," said Mertens, whose Eagles count nonconference wins over Perspectives Charter/Calumet (1-5) and Harvard (3-3) and a North Suburban crossover victory over Zion-Benton (0-6).

"But, to be honest with you, if we were to lose the next three, we don't deserve to be in the state playoffs anyway."

Lakes hosts Wauconda in Week 8 and concludes the regular season with a trip to Grant.

"The next three weeks are three state playoff-quality opponents," Mertens said. "We'll see if we're really a state playoff team the next three weeks."

Antioch closes the season with three straight home games against Lakes, Round Lake and Stevenson. The Sequoits have nonconference wins over Streamwood (2-4) and Waukegan (2-4). They'll get a lot of playoff points from Stevenson, which is 6-0.

Family is first with Menheer: The word "family" is tattooed vertically on the left biceps of Lakes starting linebacker Tyler Menheer, with tattoos of a large cross and violets running up his shoulder. The word "first" is tattooed vertically on his left arm.

The body markings honor three deceased members of Menheer's family with whom he was close his grandmother, great grandmother and brother, James, who died at age 19 in a car accident a couple of years ago.

"I was real close with him," Menheer said. "We're a close family."

Panther Pride: Down 28-0 late in the fourth quarter against visiting Lakes on Saturday, Round Lake kept playing hard and trying to manage the game clock.

The Panthers got two touchdowns by Jacoby Griffin late to make the 28-14 final respectable. They were calling timeouts to the very end.

"Our kids need to be in those situations, or we're never going to win," Panthers coach John Coursey explained. "I know when you're down 28 points it might not be the good sportsmanship thing to do, but for our program, it's things we need to learn how to do. And Coach (Lakes coach Luke Mertens) was real good about it. He understood."