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Victory wears well for Zion-Benton at Mundelein
By Joe Aguilar | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/15/2012 12:49 AM

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Game Day is Work Day for Zion-Benton’s football players.

So for school on Fridays, as ordered by head coach Robert Strickland, the Zee-Bees dress up. They wear slacks, a dress shirt and tie.

Friday night, for the first time since last year, the Zee-Bees took care of business and sported victory smiles afterward. As a reward for their 32-18, homecoming-spoiling win over host Mundelein, they get to wear their jerseys to school Monday.

“It’s nice to walk around school wearing them,” senior running back Alex Pasiewicz said.

No one looked better on the football field Friday night than Pasiewicz, who would have impressed Superman with his change from dress shirt into hero’s clothes.

Pasiewicz rushed for a career-high 296 yards and 4 touchdowns on 32 carries. The three-year varsity player scored on runs of 32, 24, 9 and 58 yards.

“The holes were all there all game,” said Pasiewicz, who ran behind a group that included Jacob Otterson, Matt Kish, Joel McBride, Josh Jones, Demetrius Knox and Reid Ruckebeil. “We did a great job blocking. I was just finding the holes.”

The win over its North Suburban Lake Division rival was the first for Zion-Benton (1-3, 1-1) since Week 8 of last season when the Zee-Bees topped the Mustangs 22-7.

Z-B, which won three games last season, had played competitively in its first three games of 2012 — against Deerfield, Evanston and Warren — but turnovers had hurt the Zee-Bees.

They committed 14 in their first two games.

“Here we thought our offense was going to be the unit that we were going to relay on,” Strickland said. “We were going to ball-control and do a lot of things all year long.

“And we just stumbled and tripped and had a lot of problems with turnovers.”

Mundelein (0-4, 0-2), which dropped its 13th straight game, never led but trailed only 6-3 at halftime after Ryan Rubio’s 31-yard field goal with 23 seconds left before halftime answered Pasiewicz’s 32-yard TD sprint earlier in the second quarter.

As he did on his first touchdown, Pasiewicz used his speed to gain the corner and outrace all Mundelein defenders to the end zone for his second score. The 24-yard run capped an eight-play, 66-yard drive to open the third quarter.

Pasiewicz scored again, this time from 9 yards out, in the closing seconds of the third. QB Dillon Appenzeller’s conversion toss to Ruckebeil had Zion-Benton up 20-3.

Kealin McLean then intercepted Mundelein freshman quarterback Gavin Graves (9-of-23 passing, 167 yards, 2 picks) on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Graves’ 58-yard TD pass to Luke Adams and Nick DeVito’s late TD run from 1 yard out sandwiched Pasiewicz’s final score from 58 yards away.

“The mind set was, if we want to make the playoffs, we got to start here,” Pasiewicz said. “We can’t keep giving up games.”

Mundelein got a fumble recovery from Rubio and an interception from Josh Aranda, but couldn’t capitalize on either Z-B turnover.

When the Zee-Bees needed him, Pasiewicz kept gaining yards and keeping the ball in his team’s hands.

“When they actually execute a play, they can run the ball against anybody,” Strickland said of his players. “They’ve proved it. We did against Warren. We did it against Evanston. We did it against Deerfield.”