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Football’s Playoff Rematch

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Football’s Playoff Rematch

Lakes will play Grayslake North in a rematch from Week 3 where the Eagles won 31-14.

Lakes will play Grayslake North in a rematch from Week 3 where the Eagles won 31-14.

Megan Olson

Lakes will play Grayslake North in a rematch from Week 3 where the Eagles won 31-14.

Megan Olson

Megan Olson

Lakes will play Grayslake North in a rematch from Week 3 where the Eagles won 31-14.

Stephen Gerrits, Sports Editor

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The Eagles of Lakes Community High School are playoff bound after securing their sixth, playoff clinching game. Lakes routed North Chicago 63-35 to end their regular season at (6-3). The Eagles will face Grayslake North (7-2) in the first round.

Lakes started off the game scoring a touchdown on their first drive. North Chicago responded on the next drive scoring a touchdown of their own. For the rest of the half the teams traded blows with North Chicago gaining the upper-hand 28-21 at the halftime break.

“I thought we came out slow in the first half and I know the team would agree with that,” senior quarterback Brandon Khan said. “We managed to regather ourselves in the locker room and I thought we played a much better second half of football.”

In regards to preventing another slow start, Head Coach Luke Mertens believes that how the team starts the game is entirely on the players.

“This is their team; our players, especially the seniors, have to realize that there are no plays to burn. If they start slowly, we will put ourselves in a tough spot to be able win,” Mertens said.

One of the keys to beating Grayslake North, who Lakes beat 31-14 in Week 3, is going to be stopping their rushing attack according to Mertens. To do this, senior defensive back Cameron Ruiz believes they have to stick to the plan.

“We are going to need to execute and be confident in our abilities,” Ruiz said.

Having beaten the Knights once already this season, one could reasonably assume that the Eagles have an added measure of confidence going into this game. However Mertens has instilled a faceless opponent mentality into his team all season.

“This time of year is simple: make plays or go home,” Mertens said. “Doesn’t matter who we play; we have to better than the opponent or our season is over. That’s the reality.”

Although Lakes has a one more loss than Grayslake, Khan believes that it is not an accurate depiction of their ability. He knows that his team is prepared for the playoffs and for whoever the face from now on.

“We’ve been preparing for this all season. I know our team has the confidence to go out and get the job done,” Khan said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere and I know we’re ready to embrace that rather than let it pressure us.”

In this time of year, Mertens can give only one piece of advice. A piece of advice to he says is applicable in all aspects of life, not just football.

“No excuses – make plays or go home. What I love about the playoffs is the life lesson,” Mertens said. “You have to show up, handle the pressure, and win.”

Khan understands the pressure and is ready to handle it. What keeps his eyes on the prize is his team.

“My motivation going forward will be my senior teammates. This is our last ride and we’ve got to be willing to do anything and everything for the guys next to us,” Khan said.

The Eagles will take on Grayslake North at their place at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 28.

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Football’s Playoff Rematch