Warren Dominates Stevenson 37-0 as Patriots Face Must-Win at Lake Forest

Bradley Locker, Sports Editor

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Entering their home stadium with eager fans in a “Pink-Out” on Friday night, the Stevenson Patriots knew they needed just one more win to clinch a 31st straight year in the IHSA football playoffs.

However, a Senior Night victory at home against the unbeaten Warren Blue Devils proved difficult.

The 8-0 Blue Devils lived up to the hype, throttling Stevenson 37-0 and delaying the Patriots’ playoff celebration.

All night long, quarterback Liam Crawley ’21 faced immense pressure from top-flight Warren defenders Willis Singleton and Juan Delacruz. Even when Crawley was able to remain in the pocket, his throws—often to receivers Jordan Vincent ’20 and Jayden McFadden ’21—were tightly contested.

Despite Blue Devil offensive struggles in the first quarter—their first three drives resulted in a punt, a fumble by running back Derrick McLaughlin and one of two missed field goals by Adam Saul—Warren coach Brian McNulty’s defense once again led the charge.

At the start of the second quarter, Crawley, in his own end zone, was forced into an early throw by a menacing Warren blitz—a ball that was intercepted by Jaden Gregerson and returned for a touchdown to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 advantage. Crawley was ultimately intercepted twice more by linebacker Donville James.

A big punt return by Gregerson after the subsequent Stevenson drive set up Warren for their first offensive score of the night: a 20-yard touchdown pass from Trinate Jacobs to Christian Phillips with just over nine minutes remaining in the second quarter.

After halftime, the Blue Devil defense continued to stifle Stevenson. Singleton and Delacruz caused a Stevenson safety to extend Warren’s lead to 16-0 almost halfway through the third quarter.

After receiving the ball back, McNulty turned to the wildcat offense as Phillips consistently powered through the Stevenson defense, taking direct snaps up the middle. Such runs set up an eight yard touchdown trot for workhorse McLaughlin.

The Warren offensive onslaught continued as Torris Childs muscled his way into the end zone in a push-the-pile play to put the Blue Devils up 30-0. Ultimately, Warren tacked on one more score: a 25-yard touchdown reception by Phillips, his second of the night.

Stevenson’s concerns were increased due to late injuries to several key players, including Jean-Marc Etienne ’20—who the team fears tore his right ACL after planting his knee into the turf—Jahleel Perrin ’20 and Jordan Cadichon ’20.

All night, Etienne faced tough sledding as he totaled just 20 yards. His running back counterpart McLaughlin gashed the Patriots for 109 yards on 20 carries.

The stout Blue Devil defense posted its fourth shutout of the season and has now allowed just 21 points in eight games.

The Patriots will likely not have Etienne at their disposal next Friday against the 4-4 Lake Forest Scouts, who faltered 23-10 at home versus Libertyville on Friday. Stevenson must win in order to keep its season—and three-decade postseason streak—alive.

Likewise, Warren—which is hungry for a state title after losing to Brother Rice in the IHSA quarterfinals a season ago—will look to complete an unbeaten campaign against Mundelein at O’Plaine Stadium in Gurnee.

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