Stevenson awaits. Has Blue Devils’ time come?
By P.J. Bonato For Sun-Times Media September 30, 2013 8:30PM
Libertyville's Conor Simpson (right) prepares to stiff arm a Warren player during a game Sept. 27. | Josh Peckler/For Sun-Times Media
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Warren 50, Stevenson 25 — This was last time Devils beat Patriots, a streak that currently stands at five Patriot wins in a row. That night, RB Mike Liao carried 21 times for 129 yards, QB Zach Shaw completed 8-of-16 for 206 yards and 2 TDs, and Aaron Montgomery had two picks and returned one of them to the house.
2009 — Stevenson 26-14 over Warren
2010 — Stevenson 24-7 over Warren
2011 — Stevenson 24-21 over Warren
2012 — Stevenson 39-7 over Warren
2012 — Stevenson 26-13 over Warren in playoffs
Updated: November 2, 2013 6:07AM
If you are a senior on Warren High School’s football team, chances are good that you were playing lightweight division football with the town’s Blue Demons youth program the last time Warren beat Stevenson on the gridiron.
In the years since that 50-25 victory over the Patriots in October 2008, Stevenson has run off five straight wins in this series, including two last year — the second of which knocked Warren out of the playoffs.
The teams will renew their rivalry this coming Friday, with the game slated for 7:30 p.m. in Gurnee.
There are three things that make this more than just another Friday night football game.
■ It’s Homecoming Week for Warren. The parade that featured the state’s largest high school marching band — 300 strong — was on Sunday. And this year’s Homecoming theme is “Super Hero Smash.” No high school team wants to lose its Homecoming football game.
■ Warren (4-1) is playing its best ball of the year, coming off an amazing 59-10 rout of a Libertyville team that the Devils made look way worse than they really are.
■ Last but not least, Stevenson has made the playoffs a Lake County-record 24 straight years. But in order to make it 25, the Patriots are going to have to beat EITHER Warren (4-1), Lake Forest (4-1) or Lake Zurich (5-0) this month. Lose them all and basketball practice starts on time for the first time in more than two decades. Warren’s players like would like nothing better than to make Stevenson sweat for at least another week.
For Warren, beating Libertyville turned out to be no sweat. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, gaining more than 600 yards. Quarterback Andrew Nickell led the offense completing 14-of-23 passes for 341 yards and touchdown of 87, 40 and 36 yards. Cedrick Sanders carried the ball 11 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while Maxwell Sorby had eight carries for 127 yards.
The high-powered offense then scored three times in three minutes to end the first half.
“This was kind of a revenge game for us,” said Nickell. “We have had troubles with Libertyville in the past so this was a really good win for us. The offensive line did a great job giving me time to throw and our wideouts catch everything I throw up there.”
Sorby added that, “As a team we really clicked. We played really well and this is the best our offense has clicked. We are prepared this year and are ready to make a run in the playoffs.”
Although the spread offense has been effective so far this season, a huge tests for the Blue Devils is just around the corner.
“We are moving in the right direction,” Nickell said. “Stevenson is a great team and should be a good test for us. We need to continue to be effective on the offensive side of the ball. We definitely want to be able to score and score quite a bit.”
Warren coach Dave Mohapp, the dean of area football coaches and arguably one of the best, knows never to look past the next game.
“Looking ahead we need to take one game at a time,” he said. “We will have our hands full with Stevenson this week.
“We still have a lot of work to do this season and we have some tough games coming up.”