After a sloppy first quarter, host Libertyville got its offense going Friday night in nonconference football action against Urban Prep Charter of Chicago.
The Wildcats and Lions played to a scoreless tie after one quarter despite Libertyville dominating the game statistically for basically the entire contest.
A 23-yard field goal by versatile Libertyville junior Austin Williams gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter and they never looked back in posting a 24-0 shutout over Urban Prep.
Libertyville (2-0) used a solid running attack throughout the game as junior Brian Swift went off right tackle on the Wildcats' next possession. Swift (178 yards on 20 carries) broke into the open field and turned on the speed to just barely find the right corner of the end zone at the culmination of a 65-yard touchdown run before Williams' extra point made the score 10-0 with 6:16 left in the first half.
Urban Prep (1-1) and the Cats combined for three more possessions in the second quarter, but Libertyville had to settle for a 10-0 halftime lead.
"We had kind of a lackadaisical attitude we need to be mentally focused, and we weren't," said Libertyville coach Randy Kuceyeski, whose team held the Lions to 97 total yards of offense. "We need to be sharper going into the conference schedule and we will bring a different attitude next week, I guarantee it."
The Wildcats were still unable to put together any sustained drives in the third quarter as they lost the ball on a fumbled punt return midway through the period. That miscue was on top of the errant punt that was touched by a Libertyville player resulting in a turnover in the opening quarter.
But the Cats did come up with a huge defensive stand late in the third quarter as the Lions came up just short of a first down to give the hosts the ball on their own 41.
This would be Libertyville's best drive of the game as an 18-yard run by Williams and a 16-yard pass from quarterback Hutch Herchenbach to Williams got the team rolling.
Three plays later, that same duo showed great timing on a 15-yard TD pass from Herchenbach (92 yards passing) to Williams in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-0 lead with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.
"We knew the cornerback was close up and we just signalled the fade route," said Williams. "They're a good blitzing team and we weren't ready for all of their blitzes."
Good defensive pressure on Urban Prep quarterback Jeremey Pearson the rest of the way prevented the Lions from seriously threatening to break up the shutout.
Swift put the finishing touches on his big game with a 1-yard TD run for a 24-0 lead with 8:49 to play. That quick, 51-yard drive featured a 28-yard run by Swift down the left sideline to put the ball on the Urban Prep 3-yard-line.
"We started off pretty slow, but we put it together in the second half and put some good drives together," Swift said. "We just had great blocking up front and there was just a huge hole to run through (on 65-yard TD run). Last week we played much tougher so we have to step it up against Antioch."
Kuceyeski was happy with the performance of Williams and Swift, who scored 12 points each.
"He (Williams) is one of the best athletes on the team," Kuceyeski said. "So we're going to try to utilize his talents every way we can."