After trailing in the first half of its previous two games, Stevenson changed the script Friday at home.
Rather than write a come-from-behind narrative, the No. 1 Patriots grabbed a early lead and held on for a 34-17 victory over Lake Forest behind a career passing night from quarterback Willie Bourbon.
“This is always one of our toughest games of the year.,’’ senior running back Jack Joseph said. ‘‘We came out hot, which was huge.”
Leading 14-10, Stevenson (4-0, 1-0 North Suburban Lake) appeared to put the game out of reach on its opening drive of the second half. With the Scouts (3-1, 0-1) double-teaming Patriots senior wide receiver Cameron Green on the left side of the field, junior wideout Jack Sorenson faced single man coverage to the right. Bourbon hit Sorenson in the flat, and Sorenson beat his defender and raced 52 yards for a Stevenson touchdown and a 21-10 lead.
Lake Forest junior quarterback Danny Carollo, making his first conference start, marched the Scouts down the field on their next possession.
Carollo capped a five-play 80-yard scoring drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Quinn Julian to cut the lead to 21-17. That was the closest Lake Forest would get.
Bourbon and Stevenson’s multitude of skill position players took control of the game from that point forward.
Bourbon hit a wide open Jordan Atkins for a 63-yard touchdown score to extend the Patriot’s lead to 27-17 after a failed PAT attempt with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter.
After Stevenson’s defense forced two consecutive three-and-outs from the Scouts’ offense, the Patriots took over on their 2-yard line with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter. Stevenson went 98 yards in 11 plays, culminating in a 3-yard touchdown run by junior running back Tyler Vincent that made the score 34-17 with 8:25 remaining in the game. The drive consumed 5:20 of the clock and put the game out reach for Lake Forest.
Bourbon was 4-of-6 for 56 yards on the drive and finished the game 18-for-29 for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Nine of those completions went to Northwestern recruit Green (95 yards).
Bourbon and Green hooked up for two first-half touchdowns, one for 28 yards and the other 5 yards.
“Tonight was a combination of our defense playing solid, getting turnovers and our offense which can strike at any time,” Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said.
Joseph provided the bulk of the Patriots’ running game, rushing for 80 yards on 18 carries.
Carollo finished 15-for-36 with one touchdown and two interceptions for the Scouts.