ST. CHARLES – After beginning the season with back-to-back losses, Lake Park’s football team was hoping to turn the page in Friday night’s DuKane Conference opener against St. Charles East.
Fueled by a power running attack behind a bulldozing offensive line, and an efficient performance from junior quarterback Michael McCormick, the Lancers (1-2, 1-0) grinded out a 24-0 victory over the Saints (2-1, 0-1) at Norris Stadium in St. Charles.
Lake Park, led by tailback Marco Annecca’s 137-yard rushing effort on 23 carries, finished with nearly 300 yards on the ground (291) while completely dominating the line of scrimmage throughout the contest.
“We challenged our offensive line this week,” said Lake Park coach Chris Kirkpatrick, who picked up his first head coaching victory at Lake Park. “Our game plan this week was that we were going to pound the rock, and then throw it short and let the guys run long.”
The Lancers grabbed a 7-0 lead on their second possession, as McCormick (9 for 13, 100 yards) rolled to his left and tossed a 24-yard TD pass to Kevontae Vignaude with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
After the defense forced a 3-and-out series, the Lancers marched 56 yards in 6 plays, capped by McCormick’s 15-yard TD pass to Zach Simich, to make it 14-0.
Christopher Payan added a 34-yard field goal, as the Lancers led 17-0 at halftime -- outgaining the Saints, 285-62, over the first 24 minutes.
“They did take it to us,” Saints coach Nolan Possley said. “A ton of credit goes to them. They were ready to roll right away.”
McCormick added a little insurance on his 1-yard touchdown run with 11:05 remaining in the game.
“I’m proud of our quarterback, Michael McCormick,” Kirkpatrick said. “Because we weren’t winning the first two weeks, maybe he was somebody who wasn’t getting much recognition, but he is really making good decisions.
“He’s responsible for every touchdown we’ve scored this year.”
Anchored by Connor Spoczynski, Matthew Torres, Armand Voloder-Munoz and Nick Cairo, the Lancers’ offensive line opened huge holes all night long.
“Those big boys -- shoutout to all of them,” McCormick said. “We were pounding the rock.”
“We talked the last couple weeks,” Kirkpatrick said. “We play so hard but what we’ve had to learn is football is really about execution. I’m proud of the kids’ execution tonight.”
St. Charles East quarterback Lane Robinson completed 12 of 25 passes for 166 yards, while Blake Schuette (5 catches, 43 yards), Mason Tousignant (4 catches, 96 yards), and Charles Bolsoni (3 catches, 27 yards) paced the receiving corps.
“We have to finish,” Possley said. “It’s going to be the big thing moving forward.
“This is something that doesn’t define us -- it just recenters us. We’ll wake up, go to work tomorrow, and get back at it.”