Stevenson awaits familiar foe in playoffs

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Scouting reports will not be difficult to find as Stevenson prepares to host Warren on Friday in the opening round of the IHSA Class 8A playoffs.

As fellow members of the North Suburban Conference Lake Division, the teams have faced off at least once a year in recent seasons.

“Personally, I would rather play someone from outside our conference,” said Patriots coach Bill McNamara, whose club improved to 7-2 by defeating Zion-Benton 28-14 Friday. “I think the IHSA likes to see rematches.”

Stevenson took care of business in Week 5, beating Warren 39-7. But the Blue Devils did not have the services of senior standout running back Devonte Wilcox, who has since recovered from injury and will play Friday.

“He (Wilcox) is a very good player,” Stevenson cornerback/wingback Anthony Bozin said. “We have to keep outside contain on him.”

The Patriots also must slow down Blue Devils quarterback Adam Reuss.

“It all starts with their quarterback,” McNamara said. “He runs the show for them.”

Bozin hopes the defense is up to the challenge.

“Our line will help with pressuring the QB,” Bozin said. “Hopefully, our DBs will be OK against the pass.”

When Stevenson has the football, the Patriots are capable of wreaking havoc through the air. Quarterback Willie Bourbon can spread the ball to receivers Cameron Green, Alan Velev, Matt Morrissey and Bozin.

“We have to use every weapon,” Bozin said. “We want to show what we have on offense.”

Bozin, who plays in the slot, is prepared to contribute in several ways.

“I’ll do whatever I can to help the team win,” he said. “If I’m not getting the ball, I have to help by making good blocks. If teams are focusing on Velev and Green, I’ll have more of a chance to get the football,” Bozin said.

Stopping this multi-pronged attack is a difficult challenge.

“We have a lot of options and a lot of people to defend,” said Green, a sophomore. “So it will be tough for them (to stop us).”

Warren (5-4) enters the playoffs after a pair of solid games. The Blue Devils beat Lake Forest, 21-18, in Week 8 and then lost, 17-13, to Lake Zurich in their regular-season finale.

“They are very gifted athletically,” McNamara said. “We had to play well to beat them earlier in the year, and we’ll have to do the same thing again.”

All of the Patriots plan to make a statement in the 2012 state playoffs.

“We have a lot of chemistry,” Bozin said. “We have confidence in each other, and we always back each other. I think we can go on a big run.”

Green believes the Patriots are primed to stick around for a while.

“If we play Stevenson football, we can accomplish anything,” Green said. “If we execute and do our jobs on the field, we can get the job done.”

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