Stevenson executes another comeback to beat Warren

SHARE Stevenson executes another comeback to beat Warren
SHARE Stevenson executes another comeback to beat Warren

LINCOLNSHIRE — If only Stevenson’s football team could start its games in the second half.

One week after falling behind 24-7 on the road against Homewood-Flossmoor, the Patriots were back at home Friday night and again trailed at the break.

But the Patriots used an opportunistic defense and potent ground game to rally and outscore Warren 26-10 over the final 24 minutes to win 33-20.

“We were a little sloppy in the first half, a little too streaky,” Patriots coach Bill McNamara said. “Hopefully we can correct that.”

Two turnovers and a mild wind contributed to Stevenson’s first-half woes. But the halftime message from Patriots coaches was not relayed in panicked tones.

“They coach us up. They don’t criticize us,” Patriots senior wide receiver Cameron Green said. “They just tell us it’s time to go.”

And this veteran Stevenson team did just that. A long kickoff return by junior Jack Sorenson to start the third quarter gave the Patriots great field position on the Blue Devils’ 43-yard line. Two passes from Bourbon (13-of-26, 178 yards, two interceptions) to Sorenson gave the Patriots first and goal from the Warren 9-yard line. Two plays later, junior Tyler Vincent ran over the left pylon for a 9-yard touchdown, making the score 14-10 Patriots with 10:02 left in the third.

Armed with their first lead, the Patriots followed the formula that has them 3-0 on the season — get takeaways on defense and run the football. Warren’s next two possessions resulted in interceptions, one by senior linebacker Jimmy Marchese and the other by senior defensive back Jimmy Webb.

In the fourth quarter, senior running back Jack Joseph took over the game. With just over five minutes remaining and Stevenson leading 26-13, Joseph shredded the right side of the Warren (1-2) defense on two successive plays, both 27-yard runs. The second was for a touchdown and a three-score lead, putting the game out of reach.

“It’s huge. Without running the football, we can’t kill time. When we run the football well it sets up the pass and we’ll succeed as an offense,” said Joseph, who finished with 120 yards on 13 carries, 74 yards coming in the fourth quarter.

Bourbon had another productive game on the ground, running 15 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

Warren junior running back Darrius Crump accounted for most of the Blue Devils offense (172 total yards, 84 rushing). Junior quarterback Jay Nickell struggled, throwing four interceptions and completing just seven of 29 passes

“Darrius is about as good a back as you are going to see,” Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. “When you’re playing Stevenson [on the road], you can’t turn the ball over.”

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