An old family friend, who happened to be wearing officials stripes, tried getting Jack Deichl's attention.
"Good throw, Jack Deichl," the side judge on Libertyville's sideline said to the junior quarterback, who was walking off the field after hitting Justin Guarnaccio in the end zone from 11 yards out. "Jack Deichl. Good throw."
Deichl was too focused on beating Zion-Benton and never heard the side judge.
"He worked with my dad back in the day," Deichl explained. "My dad has known him for a while. I didn't know until about halfway through the game that it was him."
By game's end Thursday night, Deichl and all of his teammates had earned props. Libertyville's 21-10 win over the host Zee-Bees, who wore maroon uniforms with large pink numbers and trim on a breast cancer-awareness night, moved the Wildcats one victory away from being playoff-eligible.
Libertyville (4-3, 2-2 North Suburban Lake) hosts Warren next Friday and faces Lake Forest to close out the regular season.
"It's right in front of your face," Libertyville coach Randy Kuceyeski told his players afterward of a potential playoff berth. "You know you can."
Zion-Benton (2-5, 0-4) grabbed a 3-0 lead on a 24-yard field goal by Hannah Magiera with 8:35 left in the second quarter. But Libertyville responded immediately, marching 76 yards on 9 plays. Ed Pike scored from 16 yards out to put the visitors up with 4:20 left.
An interception by Joey Salata then gave Libertyville the ball at the Z-B 33 with 2:50 to go before halftime.
Five plays later, Deichl hit Guarnaccio in the end zone.
On the Wildcats' first series of the second half, Deichl hit Max Ebert on a screen pass, and Ebert raced 43 yards into the end zone.
Deichl, who was making his fourth straight start, finished 8-of-13 passing for 110 yards. He also drew three offside penalties by using hard counts.
"Jack had a nice game," Kuceyeski said. "He had a couple of nice reads, a couple of nice throws. He continues to get better each week, because he works hard at it."
Libertyville got interceptions from Salata, Clay Cusek and Dan Tropple. Michael Parker had 2 sacks, and Stephen Skul recovered a fumble.
"They've been playing solid all year," Kuceyeski said of his defense. "Just another good performance on their part."
Libertyville got 70 rushing yards from Salata and 63 from Pike.
"Big team effort," Deichl said. "All the offense has been talking about is how we've scored only 6 points in the last two games. All we wanted to do was score. Our goal was 28. We got 21, but we're proud of it. We got a win. The defense stepped up and made some big turnovers. It was a great team win."