Stevenson routs Waukegan 42-0, punches playoff ticket

Bradley Locker, Staff Reporter

As the Stevenson Patriots (6-1 overall, 4-1 in the North Suburban Conference) entered October 5th’s showing against the visiting Waukegan Bulldogs (0-7, 0-5), the former had one thing on their collective mind: earning their 30th straight IHSA playoff ticket.

The Patriots did that–and far more–in a dismantling of the Bulldogs, 42-0. Although the game concluded midway through the third quarter due to continuous rain, the Patriots dominated in all three facets of the contest and never yielded to complacency.

Wide receiver Eli Fishbein ’19 was utilized frequently in both rushing and receiving for the Patriot offense; he accumulated 41 rushing yards on two nifty “jet sweep” plays, the second of which scored the first touchdown of the game, as well as 20 receiving yards on a touchdown throw by QB Cole Okmin ’19.

Running back JM Etienne ’20 continued his dominant 2018 campaign by posting 51 yards on six carries, two of which garnered touchdowns–he, along with numerous Patriots, did not play in the concise second half. On a 27-yard run, his longest of the night, Etienne dazzled with his elusiveness and quickness as he bypassed several defenders and cut to the left side of the field.

Stevenson’s offensive effort was matched by its defensive prowess; the Patriots contained the Bulldogs to a mere 62 yards as starting quarterback Giovanni Quinones was momentarily benched in favor of Martiece Brown. Both signal callers were intercepted—Quinones by CB Isaiah Hart ‘19 and Brown by Michael D’Angelo ’19, who returned the throw 36 yards to the end zone to put the game to sleep.

Although the Bulldogs were mired in offensive futility, freshman receiver Carl Strawder appeared poised for future North Suburban Conference success by collecting 3 receptions. Additionally, the 1-2 running back punch of junior Josiah Kerney and senior Daievion Gentle provided the Bulldogs with both a swift and powerful rushing attack–the two combined for 34 yards.

Waukegan, further, was inefficient in its special teams work. Immediately subsequent to Fishbein’s touchdown dash, the Bulldogs muffed the kickoff, and, in a wild sequence, Mike Youkhanna ‘20 poked the ball free only for his brother Brandon ’20 to scoop it up in the end zone for Stevenson’s 14th point.

The Patriots can now rejoice, having earned an opportunity to win their first state championship since 2014, but a meeting at adversary Warren Township looms large next week with playoff implications likely on the line–the battle should truly test the mettle of this 2018 Stevenson squad.