Morgan Park quarterback Aaron Warren is one of the city’s must-see football talents. He’s 6-2 and fast with an absolute cannon of an arm.
He’s also fun, especially for the neutral observer. Pretty much anything can happen after Warren grabs the snap, from an 80-yard touchdown pass (he didn’t have one of those Saturday) to a 74-yard touchdown run in which he nearly touches both sidelines. That did happen.
But all of that fun stuff probably isn’t in the game plan.
“He’s a kid that . . . I’m going to go bald because of Aaron Warren,” Mustangs coach Chris James said. “He’ll make a crazy play, and then he’ll make a play like that. He’s a special kid. He just has to put it all together.”
Warren had 14 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns and was 2-for-6 for 45 yards and a touchdown in Morgan Park’s 27-21 victory against Simeon at Gately Stadium.
That offense almost wasn’t enough for the Mustangs in their first win against Simeon since 2009, however. The Wolverines had the ball at the end with a chance to win.
Morgan Park senior Jonas Lee stepped into the spotlight at that moment, leaping in the middle of the field to grab an interception and seal the victory in the final seconds.
“It was an out-of-body experience,” Lee said. “I made the play. We’ve been through hell the last few weeks. To get this win gives us a lot of hope. We didn’t beat them for 12 years, and to do it my senior year? That feels real good.”
The Mustangs (4-3, 3-1 Illini Red Bird) led 21-0 early in the second quarter, and it looked like the Battle of Vincennes was going to be a blowout.
Kiwaun Davis grabbed Simeon quarterback Korey Flowers’ first pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. It was exactly the lift Morgan Park needed after losing its last two games.
“That was beautiful,” Warren said. “It gave the offense energy. It gave the fans energy, and we all bought in as one.”
The Wolverines (3-4, 3-1) trailed 27-8 at halftime but showed plenty of backbone in the second half. They held the Mustangs scoreless and made things close with a five-yard touchdown run by Andre Crews in the third quarter and a one-yard touchdown run by Flowers with 9:13 to play.
“We are not good enough to shoot ourselves in the foot and still win,” Simeon coach Dante Culbreath said. “There were just too many mistakes to win a football game.”
Flowers was 4-for-19 for 92 yards. He threw five interceptions. Crews had 21 carries for 135 yards.
The win keeps Morgan Park’s state-playoff hopes alive. The Mustangs finish the regular season next week against Hubbard. The Public League playoffs begin in Week 9.
“That game was stressful,” James said. “We toughed it out. I’m just excited for the guys. That’s our rival. It’s like Michigan vs. Ohio State. That’s a big one and will give us the momentum we needed, hopefully. But we have to play better.”
Simeon plays undefeated Kenwood next week and likely will have to win its last two games to make the state playoffs. According to current projections, however, some four-win teams will qualify this season.