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updated: 10/13/2012 12:19 AM

Will finds its way as Warren wins a close one

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Warren had Davonte Willcox. And will.

Now the question is, will the Blue Devils clinch a playoff berth with a home win over Lake Zurich in their regular-season finale? Or will their thrilling, 21-18 win over visiting Lake Forest on a homecoming Friday night be enough to secure a postseason berth?

A year after missing the playoffs for just the second time in the last 13 years, Warren (5-3, 3-2 North Suburban Lake Division) became playoff-eligible with a win that wasn't sealed until Lake Forest (5-3, 2-3) missed a 39-yard field-goal attempt as time expired.

"It feels great," said Willcox, whose 1-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds left capped an exhausting fourth quarter in which both high-tempo offenses manufactured long scoring drives. "The last five minutes, I felt it was destined for us. I felt that was supposed to happen for us. We had five minutes left, and we were supposed to make plays, and we did. It's a great feeling, on homecoming."

Lake Forest trailed the entire game, including 14-12 at halftime, but took the lead with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter on Stephen Cirame's 4-yard run. The TD capped a 15-play, 81-yard drive.

But Max Sorby's 37-yard return on the ensuing kickoff set Warren up at its own 40. The 14-play scoring drive included Adam Reuss' 19-yard completion to Javon Charleston on fourth-and-8 from the Lake Forest 23. Three plays later, Willcox, who had a 23-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, dived into the end zone, breaking the end-zone plane by inches.

"The last drive, we knew we had to get it done," said Willcox, who finished with 95 rushing yards on 19 carries. "We trusted each other to make plays, and that's what we did."

"I guess we could have said, 'Here we go. We're in a hole,' " Warren coach Dave Mohapp said. "But the kids battled back and did a nice job. Good job by Willcox down there (on the goal line). Lake Forest has got a couple of studs up front, and it's had to move those guys."

Lake Forest wasn't done, though. With just 43 seconds on the clock, the Scouts marched from their own 36 to the Warren 22, scrambling to get off their last-second field-goal try, which missed wide left.

"It's been a tough stretch for us," Mohapp said. "We've had a number of injuries with everyone on our team. We're getting back to full strength. I thought the kids played hard against a good team. Man, that's a tough team."

Lake Forest quarterback Andrew Clifford finished 29-of-44 passing for 229 yards and no interceptions. Reuss wasn't picked off, either, as he completed 17 of 29 passes for 154 yards.

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