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Step 2 for Warhawks is an important one

Senior Sharif Blackman was North Chicago's leading rusher its season-opening win. | MARK UKENA~FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

Senior Sharif Blackman was North Chicago's leading rusher in its season-opening win. | MARK UKENA~FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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DANGER GAME

ROBESON VS. ILLINOIS TEAMS

(Not Chicago Publie League Foes)

2012 — lost to Joliet Catholic 34-26

2011 — beat Rich Central 28-14

2011 — lost to Marian Central 42-20

2010 — beat Riverside-Brookfield 48-9

2010 — lost to Cary-Grove 35-0

2009 — lost to Riverside-Brookfield 64-26

2009 — lost to Belvidere North 14-7

2008 — beat Riverside-Brookfield 18-14

2008 — lost to Rochelle 40-13

2007 — beat Riverside-Brookfield 58-8

2007 — beat Lakes 41-30 (Note: North Chicago beat Lakes 20-0)

2007 — lost to Dixon 18-8

WARHAWK STAT LEADERS

ONE-GAME TOTALS

Defense

Tackles — Richard Cunningham: 3 solo/5 assist. Jamal Dixon: 2 solo/1 assist/2 sacks. Arnold Shead; 2 solo/3 assist/1 sack.

Offense

Rushing — Sharif Blackman: 18 carries/83 yards/1 TD. Jamal Dixon: 8/79/2. Jay Amos-Mays: 7/30.

Passing — Jay Amos-Mays: 3-for-8/50 yards.

Receiving — Jamero Shelton: 2 catches/18 yards. Arnold Shead 1/32.

Updated: October 8, 2013 6:03AM



For North Chicago High School’s football fans, it probably doesn’t get any better than last week’s never-in-doubt 25-6 victory over neighborhood rival Waukegan in the season opener.

But when all the back-slapping and hand-clapping is done, two facts remain:

■ That triumph still only counts as one win in the standings.

■ If the Warhawks don’t come prepared to play on Saturday afternoon against Robeson High School from Chicago, they’re going to lose.

Traditionally, the Chicago Public League dominates in the sport of basketball, and struggles mightily in the sport of football — with a couple of notable exceptions.

And while Robeson isn’t one of those exceptions, the Raiders play the game at that ’tweener level where your “A” game will beat them, but your “C-minus” game will get you beat.

Last week against Waukegan, North Chicago left its “A” game on the team bus, probably the result of being overly fired up to play its No. 1 rival.

Saturday at 2 o’clock would be a good time for the Warhawks to show just how good they can be this season.

Actually, North Chicago’s defense was dominant in its opener and figures to be the story of this year’s team.

That unit allowed just 165 yards of offense in four quarters, and most of those yards came on five plays. Waukegan’s other 45 plays gained just 10 yards.

Waukegan has a great wideout in senior Jamaal Darr-Duffie, who was targeted 11 times in the game. North Chicago cornerback “Red” Martin lined up across from Darr-Duffie and did a good job making it difficult for the wideout to make plays. Darr-Duffie finished with three catches.

Arnold Shead, a linebacker and the team’s best two-way player, praised the work of Martin in the opener.

“He never gets tired. He’s wonderful. He’ll ‘D’ you up. He’ll hit you. He wants to take on the best receiver on the other team,” Shead said. “He does a good job at what he does, and he’s tall. It’s hard to get the ball over him.”

One of the other two-way stars is Jamal Dixon, who lines up at end on defense, and scored once on defense and twice as a running back on offense in the opener.

“We can be a dominant defense. There’s no letup. Even when they had a couple big plays, we didn’t let that affect us. We came back with the same intensity,” Dixon said.

Warhawk coach Glen Kozlowski knows that the 21 penalties that his team committed against Waukegan won’t cut it the rest of the year, but he correctly noted that it was an emotional game and it was the season opener.

“If we’re doing this at the end of the season, we’re not going to win those games. Weeks 1 and 2, you can accept them a little bit, but it has to be have to be corrected,” the coach said. “If you keep doing it, at some point it’s going to cost you.”

Next week, North Chicago will begin North Suburban Prairie play with a danger game at Antioch. That will be played on Thursday night because of a religious holiday on Friday.



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