Warren’s defense dominates Lake Zurich

Warren has only given up 21 points this season. It hasn’t allowed more than six points in a game and has posted three shutouts. The Blue Devils beat Lake Zurich 24-3.

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Warren’s Juan Delacruz (18) and Donville James (45) try to take down Lake Zurich’s Thomas Vages (1).

Warren’s Juan Delacruz (18) and Donville James (45) try to take down Lake Zurich’s Thomas Vages (1).

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Warren’s defense has only given up 21 points this season. It hasn’t allowed more than six points in a game and has posted three shutouts.

But it turns out those point totals aren’t even the numbers that the players are concerned about.

“We don’t like giving up first downs,” senior Willis Singleton, an Iowa State recruit, said. “We have high standards for this defense. We don’t really care what the state is thinking about us, we care internally.”

Singleton, a defensive tackle, had a pair of sacks in the fourth quarter of the No. 10 Blue Devils’ 24-3 win against host Lake Zurich on Friday.

The Bears (4-3, 4-1 North Suburban) were actually successful on the first drive of the game, driving 90 yards and making a field goal to lead 3-0. That was notable. The Blue Devils have won 17 of their last 18 games dating back to last year.

Running back Derrick McLaughlin, who rushed for two touchdowns, couldn’t remember the last time his team trailed in a game.

“I wasn’t too worried about the defense to be honest,” McLaughlin said.

The field goal was all that Lake Zurich would manage. Warren coach Bryan McNulty said his defense needed a drive to adjust to Bears quarterback Jack Moses, a quick, crafty senior.

“Moses is about as good of a player as we’ve seen,” McNulty said. “We knew we had to contain him and that was a big deal. Once we were able to settle down and contain him in the pocket we were successful. But he’s tough. He just ad libs plays. He’s so athletic and a smart player.”

Moses had 17 carries for 48 yards and was 7-for-21 passing for 133 yards with one interception.

“[The defense] didn’t like that [Lake Zurich] moved the ball down the field on us,” McNulty said. “But they settled down really well. A kid like [Moses] is going to get you, he’s just that good. We did a good job of keeping him out of the end zone obviously.”

The Bears couldn’t keep McLaughlin out of the end zone. He had 26 carries for 206 yards and had touchdown runs of 51 and four yards.

“As the game went on you can start to feel how week the defense is getting so I just keep hitting the holes harder,” McLaughlin said.

Warren (7-0, 5-0) has outscored opponents 215-21 this season. Singleton is the only major college recruit but linebacker Juan De La Cruz and defensive tackle Markos Sanchez are standouts. Josh Turner grabbed an interception early in the third quarter.

So what makes the Blue Devils’ defense so special?

“I get asked that question a lot,” McNulty said. “When our kids come into the program, no matter how good they are on offense, they play defense first. They learn that first and it is the culture we have developed.”

Warren finishes the season against Stevenson and Mundelein. It’s very likely the Blue Devils will finish the season undefeated and grab a top seed in Class 8A.

“This win shows we are the big dogs of the conference,” McLaughlin said. “But the goal has always been state.”

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