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With his football team trailing Lake Forest by three scores late in the fourth quarter, Warren quarterback Andrew Nickell questioned out lood to no one in particular why his coaches were choosing to punt.
Never mind that the Blue Devils faced fourth-and-16 from their own 14.
Warren's coaches called timeout, changed their mind and went for it. Nickell completed a 23-yard pass to his favorite target Friday night, wide receiver Daniel Rockingham, and the Blue Devils scored five plays later.
But for most of the night they lacked the intensity that Nickell demonstrated during his moment of frustration late in the game, while Lake Forest had energy all game. Fired up on senior night for their "Pink Out" game, the Scouts led from the opening quarter on en route to a 31-19 win over the Blue Devils in the two teams' regular-season finale.
Lake Forest (7-2) finished 4-2 in the North Suburban Lake, while Warren (6-3) ended up 3-3 in the division. Both squads are playoff-bound.
"We got a lot of problems that we got to fix," said Nickell, who threw for most of his 271 yards late and was sacked six times for 46 yards. "It's starting to get late in the year, and we don't have as much time as we used to, to fix them. We got to get on that."
Warren played without two of its best players in leading rusher Max Sorby and leading tackler Bryson Eppinger, both of whom sat out with concussions. Blue Devils coach Dave Mohapp wasn't making excuses, however. Sorby had rushed for 295 yards in a Week-7 win over North Chicago, before getting dinged up against Mundelein last week.
"That hurt us," Mohapp acknowledged of Sorby's absence. "Max has real good hands and has very good quicks, and he runs our zone play really well. But we got other guys that are good players too."
Lake Forest has a great player in running back Hub Cirame, whose 3 touchdowns gave him 26 for the season. Cirame (21 carries, 133 yards) scored on runs of 3 and 14 yards to put the Scouts up 14-0 with 5:08 left in the first half. Warren's high-scoring offense then finally responded, marching 80 yards on 13 plays. Nickell's 5-yard toss to Javon Charleston pulled the Blue Devils within 14-7 with 1:03 left before halftime.
But Warren's offense couldn't move the ball against a stiff wind and tougher Lake Forest defense in the third quarter, and the home team took advantage of great field position. The Scouts marched 49 yards on nine plays, with quarterback Regis Durbin racing into the end zone from 4 yards out, to extend their advantage to 21-7.
Then late in the third, after a 9-yard punt, Lake Forest got the ball at the Warren 14. The Scouts settled for Kyle Gattari's 35-yard field goal. Durbin's 14-yard TD pass to Cirame with 8:07 left in the fourth made it 31-7.
"We left our defense out there too long," Mohapp said. "That's a good (Lake Forest) offense."
Nickell threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Rockingham (8 catches, 143 yards) and hit Caleb Reams in the end zone from 22 yards out to complete the scoring. It was Reams' ninth TD reception of the season.
"The coaches put together a game plan, and obviously we didn't execute it," Nickell said after completing 20 of 34 passes (1 interception). "Credit to Lake Forest. They're a good team, they're a well-coached team, and they pretty much shut us down until late."