With its most valuable player the last two weeks out with a broken left foot and sprained ankle, Lake Zurich's football team turned to its MVP.
Mark Weber: Most Valuable Punter.
"Ought to be MVP right there!" an excited gentleman, while exiting Glenbard West's Duchon Field, shouted at Weber, a 6-foot, 185-pound, No. 70-wearing senior who punts for Lake Zurich when not playing tight end.
"MVP" another adult yelled in Weber's direction after Lake Zurich's 10-3 win on perfect fall day in Glen Ellyn.
"Heck, yeah," agreed Zach Till, who watched Saturday's Class 7A second-round playoff game on crutches. "Everyone is the MVP. The defense and the team is the MVP."
Weber was a weapon that no one could have predicted.
He placed half of his season-high 8 punts inside the 20 including a 50-yarder that rolled dead at the 4 and a 37-yarder that sailed out of bounds at the 9 and still managed to average 38.6 yards per boot.
"I just wanted to do what (the coaches) asked me to," Weber said. "I had a bad game last week, and I just wanted to win this week. Help my team out."
"Our punter did absolutely tremendous," Bears running back/linebacker Mike Shield said. "I think that's the best game he's probably going to have his whole life right there.
"I mean, I hope he has a better one," Shield added, laughing.
Without the injured Till, the two-year starting quarterback who in the last two weeks rushed for 9 touchdowns a school-record 5 against Zion-Benton in Week 9 and four vs. Geneva in the Bears' playoff opener Lake Zurich relied on will.
A little Will, too.
Will Hussey, the Bears' 5-8, 175-pound senior defensive end, snuffed out a reverse, good for an 11-yard loss, and helped lead a defense that had to play well considering the Bears were missing Till.
Steven Kuhn, a 6-4 senior, filled in for Till, who said on Thursday he knew he wasn't going to play. Wide receiver John Orlando "JO," as his teammates call him took snaps at QB, too.
Orlando's 66-yard burst to the Glenbard West 13 set up Mike Leiva's 23-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the half and proved to be the game's final points.
Kuhn completed 3 of his 4 passes.
"I have faith in anyone that's in the offensive position," Hussey said. "Steven definitely stepped up. So did other guys."
"We knew that playing without Zach was going to be hard, but it's a team sport and we got guys that are always willing to step up," Shield said. "JO and Steven Kuhn did a great job, and our offensive line, as usual, did tremendous."
The defense shut down Glenbard West, with a little assist from Duchon Field. The grass surface negated each team's speed.
"Grass field, it just rained on Thursday, and both sides were slipping," Shield said. "So I knew from the beginning of this contest that defense was going to win the game."
The most valuable punter was just enjoying the sunshine and spotlight.
"This is like a dream," Weber said. "This is unreal."
"It's amazing. Nothing like it," Hussey said. "Definitely a great team. Definitely a great program."
Lake Zurich, Will?
"Them (Glenbard West)," Hussey clarified.
Lake Zurich, too.