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There were some pretty big things to accomplish when host Warren took the football field Friday night against Mundelein with a full moon hovering above.
And the Blue Devils left nothing to chance as they put an amazing 41 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter of this North Suburban Conference contest.
When all was said and done, Warren (6-2, 3-2) qualfied for the IHSA state playoffs for the second straight season with an impressive 54-0 NSC Lake Division victory over the Mustangs.
Not only was it a great performance for the Blue Devils' team, but Warren coach Dave Mohapp became the winningest coach in school history. Warren's win Friday marked Mohapp's 108th career victory to surpass former coach Mike Kunkle with 107.
"Mike Kunkle and Reggie Hughes who coached here before me were very good coaches and I had some big shoes to fill," said Mohapp, whose team was extremely opportunistic in the first quarter. "Rocco Oddo has been our defensive coordinator the whole time I've been here (17 years) so he gets a lot of credit too."
With seven sophomores starting at the varsity level, Mundelein (1-7, 0-6) found itself behind the eight-ball right away on Warren's senior night as senior Zack Rappel returned the opening kickoff 71 yards down to the Mustangs' 14-yard-line.
On the next play, Warren senior quarterback Andrew Nickell (5-for-8, 86 yards, 3 TD's) hit senior teammate Daniel Rockingham with a 14-yard TD pass and the Blue Devils led 7-0 17 seconds into the game.
After a 5-yard penalty on Warren, Mundelein sophomore quarterback Gavin Graves (4-for-11, 45 yards, 2 interceptions) lost a fumble to Warren senior Andrew Herbst on the Mustangs' first official play from scrimmage.
Senior Maxwell Sorby caught a 27-yard pass on second down before he scored on a 1-yard TD run two plays later. The second of 6 extra points by kicker Griffin Rosuck (6-for-8) made the score 14-0 just 1:24 into the first quarter.
Mundelein was forced to punt after a first down on its next possession and the Blue Devils' offense got rolling again on a 65-yard scoring drive.
This time it was senior Javon Charleston putting on the finishing touch as Charleston made a fantastic diving TD catch in the right corner of the end zone for a 21-0 advantage.
Then after a Mustangs' four and out, Rappel got into the act again as he fielded a punt on his own 18, ran to the right sideline, picked up some blocks before cutting back around the Mundelein 20 en route to an 82-yard punt return and a 28-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Warren senior Nick Kokotas caught the Mundelein return team napping as Kokotas hustled down field and recovered the free ball at the Mundelein 25.
Seven plays later, Warren junior Nick Turner caught a 4-yard TD pass in the back of the end zone and the Blue Devils led 34-0.
But the nightmarish first quarter would not end for Mundelein until Kokotas intercepted Graves at the Mundelein 34 before breaking a tackle around the 10 and scoring for a commanding 41-0 lead.
"We had a lot of turnovers last week and we wanted to tighten that up," said Nickell. "We wanted to start fast and get points on the board right away and we did a good job of executing the game plan."
With the reserves in, the Blue Devils scored again on an 8-yard TD run by Mason McIntosh late in the second quarter as Warren led 48-0 at halftime.
Warren sophomore Jalen Powe (65 yards on 16 carries) closed out the scoring with a 1-yard TD run with 7:35 to play as the second half was played with a running clock. A 46-yard interception return by Warren senior Justine Viola had taken the ball down to the 1.
"We just really wanted to get off to a fast start and the first quarter was the key," said Mohapp after the post-game celebration. "We wanted the offense, defense, and kicking game to try to work together as well as we can and we took a step in the right direction."
Mundelein was led by Emanuel Jones' 42 yards on 8 rushes while teammate Matt Hutchison had 21 yards on 5 carries.