Rich Zirngibl began playing flag football with many of his current Buffalo Grove teammates several years ago.
"And losing has always annoyed all of us," said the Bison senior quarterback.
Zirngibl sure did everything he could on Friday night to make sure the Bison were winners in their season opener against visiting Lake Forest.
Seemingly all over the field, Zirngibl ran for 2 touchdowns and 76 yards, passed for 85 yards and a 2-point conversion, grabbed 2 interceptions and recovered an onside kick with 2:28 left to clinch the 31-24 win for the Bison.
"That's what a leader does," said Bison coach Jim Farrell. "He puts the team on his shoulders."
And he used the wide shoulders of linemen Andy Walker, Tommy Sakkos, Trevor Chandler, Fredy Cardenas, Josh Pak and Joe Conley, along with tight ends Mike Catino and Ryan Inlow (2-55) for never-ending support.
"The 0-line was great," Farrell said. "They kept Rich standing up."
Also benefitting from the line were senior running backs Briuan Bush (117 yard) and Alex Fritz (73).
TD runs of 8 and 44 yards by Zirngibl and Kevin Cho's 24 yard field goal had the Bison leading 16-14 at half.
Lake Forest, which was penalized eight times for 100 yards, took its only lead on with 5:42 left in the third quarter on Baylor Broughton's 33-yard field goal.
But BG answered with an 82-yard drive, capped by Alex Fritz' 1-yard run on pitch from Zirngibl with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
Lake Forest went three-and-out on its next possession, thanks to a big sack by junior Jack Asquini on Scouts' QB Jordan Beck (12-for-27, 102 yards) at the Lake Forest 10 yard-line.
After a 60-yard punt by Bo Dever, Zirngibl engineered a 70-yard TD drive, capped with a 15-yard pass to Ryan Schumi, who caught the ball crossing over the middle of the field and then leapt into the end zone.
Beck hit Dever for a 7-yard TD pass with 2:28 left to bring the Scouts to within 31-24 before Zirngibl recovered the onside kick.
"I was scared but when it came down to crunch time, I knew I had to go after it," he said. "It was a slow kick. I expected a harder one."
"Rich is a 100 percent competitor all the time," Farrell said. "He'll do whatever to takes for his teammates to win."