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As Warren senior quarterback Andrew Nickell thought for a second, a teammate of his snuck up behind him and razzed the first-year starter while he chatted with reporters.
"That's Matt Doljanin," Nickell said. "He is part of the O-line. We were scared last week when we thought we may have lost him. I'm glad he's back."
Doljanin and the Warren offensive line are just as happy to have Nickell behind them slinging the football, and they showed their appreciation by not letting a member of the visiting New Trier defense near Nickell the entire night.
"I think I have only been sacked like once in two weeks," Nickell said. "It just gives me so much confidence playing behind those guys."
When Nickell was upright and able to throw, he did so with precision in the Blue Devils' home opener with the visiting Trevians.
Nickell completed 11 of his first 13 passes in the first half to six different receivers. Three of them went for scores. A fourth TD toss came after halftime as Warren rolled to its first 2-0 start since 2009 by thumping New Trier 42-6 in nonconference play in Gurnee on Friday night.
"We are very fortunate to have a hard-working group like that," Warren coach Dave Mohapp said of the offensive line. "That group has gotten better with each week of the season so far."
Matt Bloom, Joe Zumpano, Sawyer McCaffrey, Nick Villareal and Jason Redford helped to pave the way from the first offensive series of the night for Warren.
The hosts took the ball for the first time at their own 4-yard line and proceeded to march 96 yards in 14 plays, chewing up better than five minutes. The last 17 yards came on a nice pitch and catch from Nickell to junior Caleb Reams, and Warren had the lead at 7-0.
"We needed to do that," Mohapp said. "We wanted to come out and establish the tempo and we did that with a good drive like that to start the game."
From there, things started to really roll for the Warren offense. The hosts scored three more times in the second quarter, with two more scores coming on touchdown strikes of 12 yards to Javon Charleston and a perfectly lofted 56-yard throw that ended up in the hands of senior Zach Rappel for a 21-0 Warren lead.
"Andrew is a very intelligent guy that analyzes the game very well," Mohapp said. "He understands the schemes and where we and he can get better, which makes him very coachable."
The spectacular first half ended rather perfectly for the Devils as the defense got onto the score sheet. With 12 seconds left, senior linebacker Ravon Spruill stepped in front of a New Trier pass and took it back 76 yards for the score and a 35-0 halftime advantage.
Nickell added his final scoring play of the night when he hit Reams for 14 yards. Nickell finished the night throwing for 245 yards on 15 of 20 passing.