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Daily Herald's 2013 Season Coverage
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Article updated: 11/2/2013 11:27 PM
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Stevenson D gets an A against St. Charles East
 

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Stevenson D gets an A against St. Charles East
 

With two Division I receivers, a spunky quarterback named Bourbon and a scoring average of nearly 32 points per game, Stevenson's high-powered offense brings a lot of glitz and glam to Lincolnshire.

On Saturday, the defense figured it was about time to roll out its version of some bling and star power.

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The sixth-seeded Patriots kept visiting St. Charles East completely under wraps from start to nearly finish in a 35-7 victory in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs. The only touchdown for the No. 11 Saints (6-4) came in the fourth quarter, when they were down 35-0 and the Patriots (8-2) had already begun subbing out starters.

"You know, our defense is kind of becoming the glam and the glitz, to be quite honest with you," smiled Stevenson coach Bill McNamara, whose team will take on No. 3 Glenbard North (9-1) in Carol Stream next week in the second round.

The Saints might tend to agree. They certainly seemed blinded by all of Stevenson's defensive shine.

St. Charles East, which entered the game averaging 34 points, had just 5 first downs in the first half, and 12 for the game. The Saints threw 3 interceptions (to Stevenson defenders Matt Morrissey, Itai Gerchikov and Aaron Lund) and managed 26 rushing yards. Quarterback Jimmy Mitchell finished with negative-30 rushing yards, mostly because he was sacked five times by the quick and relentless Patriots.

Two of those sacks came from junior linebacker Rory Koenig on back-to-back plays in the third quarter.

"That was fun," Koenig said of his sacks, which added up to a loss of 18 yards for St. Charles East. "I guess I just had the fire to get in there today.

"We don't really give much thought to how people look at our defense, or if they overlook us. We come out every day and play our hardest and we keep tightening the wrench."

Stevenson has definitely gotten better with time. The Patriots are allowing 11.7 points per game, but that number drops to just 8.7 points per game over the last seven weeks.

"Our defense is incredible," McNamara said. "Coach (Josh) Hjorth (Stevenson's defensive coordinator) has a good game plan and those kids buy in and they believe. We predicate our defense on speed and hitting and those guys fire around and make plays. Our defense is very exciting to watch."

But, of course, so is the offense, which seemed to be clicking on all cylinders once again.

Quarterback Willie Bourbon completed 18-of-30 passes for 248 yards and found his big Division I guns for some Division I-caliber catches.

Morrissey, a senior who has committed to Michigan State, caught 6 passes for 87 yards, including 2 touchdown grabs. Junior Cameron Green, who has already gotten major Division I offers, put the first points of the game on the board when he hauled in a 7-yard touchdown pass with 2:37 left in the first quarter. He finished with 8 receptions for 100 yards.

Add in a Morrissey touchdown catch (28 yards) and a 3-yard touchdown run by Tim Vestuto and the Patriots were up 21-0 by halftime.

Morrissey (16-yard catch) and Vestuto (9-yard run) scored again in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

"We have a lot of playmakers on offense, and overall, our offense had a really good day," Morrissey said. "But a lot of guys who don't get credit are our defensive players, our linebackers and defensive linemen.

"(St. Charles East) has a great offense and they've got a lot of great players. But a lot of players on defense stepped up for us today."

The Saints finally got on the board with 8:41 remaining when Mitchell, harassed, hurried and chased all game, capped an 8-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Mitchell completed 12-of-25 passes for 233 yards. His favorite targets were Phil Hopper (3 catches, 110 yards), Mitch Munroe (3 catches, 74 yards) and Brannon Barry (6 catches, 69 yards).

"Stevenson really handcuffed us all day. They stuck it to us early and often," St. Charles East coach Mike Fields said. "We weren't able to finish (drives) as we would have liked and they did. They executed well, particularly on third and fourth down.

"But I'm proud of our kids. The whole season was a success, getting six wins and getting back to the playoffs for the second year in a row."

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