The breakaway speed of Mundelein running back Emanuel Jones provided a wake-up call for Stevenson's football team Friday night.
The Patriots figure to have no problem getting up for any more games the rest of the season. After capturing a 35-14 win over host Mundelein, which had some potential early momentum wiped out when Jones' 85-yard touchdown run was negated due to a penalty, Stevenson turns its focus to a pair of North Suburban Lake Division showdowns.
The Patriots (5-2, 4-0), who all but officially clinched their 25th straight playoff berth with their win over Mundelein (1-6, 0-5), visit 6-1 Lake Forest next Friday before hosting undefeated Lake Zurich in Week 9.
"It's going to be a great two weeks," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "Tonight was a good team win. We're moving onto Lake Forest and Lake Zurich, and we have a lot of respect for those teams. You're going to see some good football these next couple of weeks."
Cameron Green provided Stevenson some great football play against Mundelein. The junior wide receiver caught 3 touchdown passes from quarterback Willie Bourbon in the opening half, while safety Matt Morrissey scored on a fumble return to help the Patriots build a 28-0 lead by halftime.
Along with Morrissey and most of the first-string players, Green got to enjoy the second half from the sideline. Green, who's received scholarship offers from Illinois and Toledo, said it was his first 3-TD game since his freshman year against Libertyville in his first game after getting promoted to the sophomore team.
"I'm happy I got out of the game and got the second and third teams in so they could play," said Green, who finished with 4 receptions for 91 yards, while hiking his season TD total to seven. "I got to give all the credit to quarterback Willie Bourbon and also all the O-linemen for protecting him and letting him get the ball up to me."
Stevenson's first drive of the game stalled when Bourbon was intercepted by Mundelein safety Colton Fisher, who took the ball away from Morrissey. On the next snap, from the Mustangs 15, Jones busted through the line and raced the distance. A holding penalty, however, wiped out the TD.
"I think it just woke us up," Stevenson middle linebacker/center Jason Vavrick said. "We had to elevate our game. We just had to get after it again. I think we came out a little flat, a little complacent."
"Our kids were really excited (about the apparent TD)," Mundelein coach George Kaider said. "That took a little wind out, but then they kept fighting."
Stevenson eventually forced a Mundelein punt. Four plays after the Patriots got the ball back, Bourbon hit the 6-foot-3 Green down the right sideline for a 51-yard TD strike with 1:28 left in the opening quarter.
Stevenson struck again quickly, as Morrissey scooped up a fumble at the Mundelein 28, shed a Mustang who was tugging at his jersey and raced into the end zone with still 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
"He just kept legging and legging and legging," a smiling McNamara said of the Michigan State-bound Morrissey. "We do a lot of great things on defense, and I think that was our first defensive score of the year. We've been waiting for it and waiting for it."
Bourbon's 21-yard touchdown pass to Green capped a 10-play, 49-yard drive to make it 21-0, and Bourbon's 8-yard pass over the middle to Green in end zone had the visitors ahead 28-0 at halftime.
Stevenson got a 10-yard TD run from Jack Joseph (13 carries, 65 yards) in the third quarter to make it 35-0. The win stretched the Patriots' winning streak to five games.
"Practices are just really energetic (since consecutive losses to open the season)," Vavrick said. "We try to amp it up and make it as much fun as possible. Having fun just leads to great plays."
Mundelein started seven sophomores, including Fisher and middle linebacker Dustin Shultz, who had 2 tackles for loss. The Mustangs got a pair of fourth-quarter TDs. Sophomore QB Gavin Graves lobbed a 13-yard pass to Dillon O'Donoghue, who made a leaping catch in the end zone, and Jones raced in from 5 yards out.
"Our theme this week was, 'Just fight,' " Kaider said. "Before the game, we listened to a song about being a fighter. We said, regardless of the score, we want to be proud of our effort, come out and hit these guys hard, and let them know that it's a new Mundelein football team. And it is."