Lake Zurich's strengths always seem to be the same, and perhaps the best thing about them is they're weatherproof.
So maybe it's no coincidence the Bears are always at their best this time of year.
A punishing defense, persistent ground game and the ability to minimize mistakes have Lake Zurich where it's been for five consecutive postseasons now — the state semifinals.
The Bears controlled the field-position battle all night and manufactured enough offense to defeat Wheaton North 16-6 in a Class 7A quarterfinal Saturday night in Wheaton.
Lake Zurich (11-1) will travel to defending champion Glenbard West in a semifinal rematch next weekend. Glenbard West beat the Bears 19-13 in last year's semis.
"We call ourselves Eskimos," said Lake Zurich quarterback Noah Allgood, whose 47-yard pass to Ben Klett gave the Bears a 16-0 cushion in the third quarter. "We try to adapt to everything."
The rain and the wind didn't do Wheaton North (9-3) and quarterback Clayton Thorson any favors, but Lake Zurich's defense had just as much to do with his struggles.
The Northwestern recruit, who threw for 403 yards last week, was held to under 100 while throwing three interceptions. Lake Zurich also managed to shut down Wheaton North's running game thanks to Syracuse-bound linebacker Colton Moskal.
"When you can play with a five-man box and still stop the run, you've got special kids up there," Wheaton North coach Joel Wardynski said. "They're quick up front, they scheme well and their linebackers run to the football. They took away the run plays we thought we could get going."
Player of the game: Colton Moskal, Lake Zurich, 11 tackles.
Key performers: Lake Zurich — Dylan Schassler, 10 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD; Sean Lynch, 12 carries, 67 yards; INT; A.J. Trittschuh, 37-yard FG.
Next: 7A semifinal, Lake Zurich at Glenbard West.