Both Warren and Zion-Benton went into Friday's night matchup in Gurnee needing a win to keep any playoff dreams alive.
In addition to being longtime North Suburban Conference rivals, the added postseason importance brought out a greater intensity.
The Blue Devils, despite a career night from Zee-Bees quarterback DeAndre Green, came out on top 41-33 in a game where both teams gave a supreme effort.
Melvin Pettis (24 carries, 128 yards) tallied his second straight game of over 100 yards on the ground for the Devils. He sparked the Blue Devils in the opening quarter with a 64-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.
"There were a lot of opportunities tonight to make big plays," said Pettis, who scored from 8 yards out as well later in the game. "Every time I got the ball I took advantage."
The big plays for the Blue Devils did not stop with Pettis. Quarterback Ian Schilling threw only 7 passes for Warren (4-4, 4-2 in North Suburban). In the limited amount of work, Schilling was able to connect with Jalin Tolbert over the top of the Zee-Bees defense to the tune of 28- and 23-yard touchdown tosses to extend the lead for the Blue Devils.
"We just came out there and executed," said Tolbert. "Coach (McNulty) said I would be making some big plays today. Once my number was called I came out and performed."
Schilling added a 12 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Rashard Walker also scored from 4 yards out for the Blue Devils.
The story for Zion-Benton (3-4, 2-4) was Green. The quarterback was as elusive as can be, rolling up 487 total yards of offense (game highs of 320 passing, 167 rushing). In addition to a 3-yard touchdown run late in the game, Green hooked up with his cousin, Dinario Hickman (7 catches, 115 yards), for 2 touchdowns. Hickman's second touchdown pass from Green was a highlight play. Green magically escaped three Blue Devil tacklers in the pocket and scrambled to find his top target.
"We have a special connection out there," said Green of his connection with Hickman. "I tried to do what I could do out there.
"I had to pick the team up to get them moving, a few mistakes here and there, and it was just a little too late."
Green capped the game's scoring with his third touchdown pass, a 22 yarder-to Tyler Geiman as time expired.