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Daily Herald's 2013 Season Coverage
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Article updated: 10/5/2013 12:06 AM
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Stevenson's defense stands tall
 

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Stevenson's defense stands tall
  • Warren quarterback Andrew Nickell is sacked by Stevenson defender Jimmy Marchese at Warren on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Warren quarterback Andrew Nickell is sacked by Stevenson defender Jimmy Marchese at Warren on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  Stevenson quarterback Willie Bourbon scrambles with the ball against Warren on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Stevenson quarterback Willie Bourbon scrambles with the ball against Warren on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  Warren quarterback Andrew Nickell hands off to running back Maxwell Sorby against Stevenson on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Warren quarterback Andrew Nickell hands off to running back Maxwell Sorby against Stevenson on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 

After holding a Warren team that rolled up 59 points and 660 yards of offense last week to just 7 points, the Stevenson defense got some props.

Head coach Bill McNamara made every defender stand up in the postgame huddle, and then told the rest of the team to applaud them.

"That was great defense," McNamara yelled in the wake of his team's 21-7 North Suburban Conference Lake Division victory over host Warren.

Quarterback Willie Bourbon went a step further than that.

In the locker room, he sought out every defensive player he could find so that he could express his gratitude personally.

Bourbon threw 4 interceptions, all in the first half, and yet, the Stevenson defense did not let Warren capitalize. Not even once. In fact, after one of Bourbon's interceptions, the Stevenson defense got the ball back with an interception of its own.

"I went up to all of them (the defensive players) and I was like, 'Thank you!' I said, 'This is your win,'" said Bourbon, who had never before thrown 4 interceptions in a game, but eventually redeemed himself with 2 second-half touchdown passes. "They saved us many times today."

The only score the Patriots surrendered came late when the game was already well in hand.

"Our defense played so well," McNamara said. "At halftime, I took my hat off to those guys, after the game, I took my hat off to them. Our defense kept us in the game in the first half and is probably the reason why we won."

Stevenson moves to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Lake. Warren drops to 4-2 and 2-2 in the Lake.

Neither team played up to its potential offensively. Heading into the game, Stevenson (36.8 ppg) and Warren (36.2 ppg) ranked first and second respectively in the Lake Division in points per game.

"It was a great team effort for us on defense," said Stevenson senior Matt Morrissey, who starts at both wide receiver and cornerback. "The defensive line really got penetration for us and that was big.

"This was definitely one of our better games (on defense). They're a great team over there and they've got a lot of weapons but I'm really proud of our guys because this was a big test."

Morrissey passed with flying colors. He picked off a pass by Warren quarterback Andrew Nickell, then later caught a 73-yard touchdown pass that gave Stevenson a 15-0 lead late in the third quarter.

A second touchdown pass by Bourbon, this time an 8-yarder to Cameron Green, put the Patriots up 21-0 and firmly in control with 11:14 left.

"It just shows character," said Bourbon, who completed 9-of-18 passes for 169 yards. "You see things not going your way, but you can't go out the next time and be thinking, 'What if this happens, what if that happens.' You've just got to go out and do your best and trust your teammates. And I have great teammates. The guys on this team just kept pushing me up and keeping me up."

Morrissey was Bourbon's favorite target with 4 catches for 123 yards.

On the flip side, Nickell also finished with good numbers, outside of his 3 interceptions. He completed 29-of-47 passes for 277 yards. He capped off an 8-play drive in the waning minutes with a 1-yard touchdown toss to Zack Rappel (8 catches, 83 yards).

"Stevenson is a good team," said Nickell, who also connected with Daniel Rockingham five times for 97 yards. "We moved the ball on them, we definitely had a good game plan. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot when we got down deep. We got the turnovers, but we couldn't capitalize.

"We should have put a lot more points on the board."

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