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updated: 11/2/2013 11:22 PM

Nickell leads another late Warren rally

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By Jeff Newton
Daily Herald Correspondent

Warren has been in situations just liked this before.

Down 17-7, start of the fourth quarter, and on the road? Yep, got 'em right where we want 'em.

The tenth-seeded Blue Devils were in deep against the seventh seed, host Glenbrook South, in a Class 8A playoff opener in Glenview. But that all changed in just over 60 seconds.

A 3-play, 84-yard drive got Warren within 17-14 -- and the Blue Devils were just getting started, as 23 unanswered fourth quarter points and a school record-setting effort by senior quarterback Andrew Nickell lifted Warren to its first road playoff win since 2001 in a 33-17 decision Saturday night.

Warren (7-3) will host No. 2 seed Barrington, a 23-8 winner over Evanston, at 6 p.m. Saturday in Gurnee. Glenbrook South closes its season at 7-3.

"We talked to our kids about getting off to a fast start, and we haven't done that much lately," said Warren coach Dave Mohapp. "We just couldn't get ourselves on track there -- then we finally got a few things to go."

The passing game struggled in the first half as Warren fell behind 10-0 early in the first quarter. Nickell slowly settled in, hitting his favorite target, senior Daniel Rockingham, for the first of two scoring plays to get Warren on the board at 10-7.

It was the first strike of a big night for the senior, who passed for a school record 431 yards on 21-of-34 passing.

"(Dan) and I are on the same page all the time it seems -- he just knows what I am thinking and I know where he is going to be," Nickell said.

Nickell and the offense were up against it the most at the start of the fourth quarter. No panic -- no need for that when you're a team that has been in this position before.

"We just had to trust ourselves," Nickell said. "We have had so many games where we have beaten ourselves at times and we just had to make a play and trust ourselves."

The quick scoring drive stole whatever momentum the Titans had gained.

"I thought that was a big series," said Glenbrook South coach Mike Noll. "We had them third and long and they convert a slip screen and score right after, and that was a huge point in the game."

The Warren defense, which hung tough all night long, got the ball right back, and Nickell and the offense went right back to work. An 80-yard seam pass from Nickell to Zack Rappel (3-catches, 155-yards) set up the Devils at the Titans 4. Two plays later, Cedric Sanders scored from a yard out and Warren had the lead for good at 20-17.

"Andrew is a very competitive and resilient kid," Mohapp said. "The first half wasn't what he had wanted, but in the second half he bounced back and competed the way we have seen him compete so many times this year."

Warren closed the impressive comeback with another touchdown pass from Nickell to Rockingham and a short touchdown run by Sanders.

Glenbrook South senior Michael Gentile rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries for the Titans, including a 42 yard scoring run that gave the Titans a 7-0 lead early on.

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