Lake Zurich's football team, frankly, was tired of its sluggish starts in the first three weeks of 2011.
The Bears' motto, before Friday night's Week 4 home game against undefeated Lakes?
"Deliver that first punch," said LZ senior defensive lineman William Hussey.
LZ struck for 28 first-half points, staggering Lakes' Eagles with a potent running attack and sneaky air "jabs" from senior quarterback Zach Till.
LZ's swarming defense floored Lakes' weapons in both halves, as the hosts skipped to a 28-0 victory.
The result, in front of a packed Mel Eide Field audience, left both teams with 3-1 marks.
"Tonight was a great atmosphere for a football game, and we were looking forward to it," Lakes coach Luke Mertens said. "But, to be honest, we got starstruck in the first half."
Bears struck for 353 total yards in the first two quarters, compared to Lakes' 59.
Till, in his second game after missing LZ's first two with an ankle injury, tossed for 127 yards in the first half and ran for 67 more on 7 carries.
He finished with 168 yards and 2 touchdowns, on 9-of-12 passing, and rushed 16 times for 111 yards.
"Zach," said LZ senior wideout John Orlando, "had a great game."
As did Orlando, who without any help from Dawn on LZ's "80s Night" had career bests of 6 catches and 134 receiving yards, including a 54-yard touchdown at 2:53 of the second quarter.
Orlando tried to remember his previous best night on a football field.
He wasn't exactly definitive.
"Thirty yards, maybe," he said. "Three catches, maybe."
Bears senior running back Mike Shield, no doubt, was a blur all night, gaining 125 yards on 16 carries. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder entered the end zone twice in the first quarter, first on an 8-yard run and then on 1-yarder.
Senior running back Mike Rantis tallied LZ's fourth TD, hauling in a 19-yard chuck from Till 21.9 seconds before the half.
"LZ is a great team; it's obvious," said Mertens. "They have so much speed, and they all play with a lot of passion. When you're going against them, you're going against 11 guys flying around, on every play."
Bears junior Jake Stauner ran for 47 yards, on 6 carries, and came down with 2 catches for 15 yards.
Lakes junior wideout Justin Bergeron (6 receptions, 80 yards) paced the Eagles' offense.