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Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 8/25/2017 11:07 PM

Etienne, Stevenson outrun Palatine

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  • Palatine's Darryl Garner meets with a committee of Stevenson defenders on Friday at Palatine.

      Palatine's Darryl Garner meets with a committee of Stevenson defenders on Friday at Palatine.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's JeanMarc Etienne runs for short yardage in the first quarter against host Palatine on Friday.

      Stevenson's JeanMarc Etienne runs for short yardage in the first quarter against host Palatine on Friday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comPalatine defender Luke Stoffel brings down Stevenson's Tyler Porzycki on Friday at Palatine.

    Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comPalatine defender Luke Stoffel brings down Stevenson's Tyler Porzycki on Friday at Palatine.

  • Stevenson quarterback Grayson Kubow looks downfield for a receiver against Palatine on Friday.

      Stevenson quarterback Grayson Kubow looks downfield for a receiver against Palatine on Friday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's players celebrate a missed field goal by Palatine in the first quarter Friday at Palatine.

      Stevenson's players celebrate a missed field goal by Palatine in the first quarter Friday at Palatine.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Jordan Vincent applies pressure to Palatine quarterback DJ Angelaccio as he releases the ball on Friday at Palatine.

      Stevenson's Jordan Vincent applies pressure to Palatine quarterback DJ Angelaccio as he releases the ball on Friday at Palatine.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine's Jake Orlando is stopped by Stevenson's defense on Friday.

      Palatine's Jake Orlando is stopped by Stevenson's defense on Friday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Fans take the stands as mother nature provides a soothing backdrop to season-opening high school football between Stevenson and host Palatine on Friday.

      Fans take the stands as mother nature provides a soothing backdrop to season-opening high school football between Stevenson and host Palatine on Friday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine running back Marshawn Rayford looks for a crease in the first quarter against visiting Stevenson on Friday.

      Palatine running back Marshawn Rayford looks for a crease in the first quarter against visiting Stevenson on Friday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

JeanMarc Etienne had an impressive debut for Stevenson on Friday night in Palatine.

The sophomore rushed for 147 yards on 20 carries and scored 2 touchdowns to lead Stevenson past 14-7 in a nonconference high school football season opener in matchup of two teams with high hopes.

"It was really fun," Etienne said. "My teammates were lifting me up the whole game. It kept my energy level up the whole game."

When starting quarterback Grayson Kubow went down last in the first half, Stevenson began to lean on Etienne -- and the sophomore didn't disappoint.

"It is a great one to get under your belt," said Josh Hjorth, who was making his debut as Stevenson's head coach. "It was impressive to watch JM as a sophomore. He did a great job. He could have been like a deer in the headlights out there. The more times we gave him the ball, he took off."

Along with a new head coach in Corey Olson came a new-look Palatine offense. The Pirates, who have been deadly through the air the last few seasons, decided that the ground was the way to success -- at least early in the year.

On the very first series of the game, Palatine moved the ball from its own 35 to the Stevenson 2 on 13 consecutive running plays. But the Patriots defense stiffened from there, forcing the Pirates back 2 yards on the next two running plays.

The Pirates came up empty when they missed a 28-yard field goal, which foreshadowed many of the drives that left the Pirates frustrated.

"You have to execute in the red zone," Olson said. "You have to convert on third and short and fourth and short. We have to learn from that and grow as a football team."

Stevenson also had a chance to take the lead before the end of the first half when Cole Okmin took the Patriots to the Palatine 21. But a 38-yard field goal attempt was wide.

"I had to be ready," said Okmin, who finished the game 9-of-14 passing for 75 yards. "I had to step in. But look at the blocking out there. It was the run game that won it for us."

Etienne got things started for Stevenson when he broke off a sweet run off of a counter to race 54 yards for a touchdown with 8:45 left in the third quarter to put the Patriots up 7-0.

Palatine finally put a scoring drive together late in the third quarter. The Pirates were able to lean on Johnny O'Shea (7 receptions, 88 yards) to help them move the ball down the field. DJ Angelaccio capped the drive with a 1-yard run to tie the game at 7-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Etienne was not done.

Again the sophomore carried the load as the Patriots marched right back. Etienne scored on a 5-yard run with 7:37 to play to make it 14-7.

Etienne and Stevenson helped salt away some of the clock late in the game. Running behind the offensive line of Jeff Zuraitis, Ivan Gleyzer, John Maskalunas, Jordan Caselberry and Max Blatt, Stevenson was able to push the ball to near mid-field with just over a minute to play.

Palatine was able to get a final opportunity to tie when an errant snap on a punt, gave the Pirates the ball at the Patriots 35. Angelaccio moved the ball down to the Stevenson 14, but he fired a pair of incomplete passes to end the threat.

"It was just two teams that played some old fashioned football tonight," Hjorth said. "It was exciting to see. I thought our guys stepped up well when we needed big plays."

Despite the loss in his first game as a head coach, Olson took away some positives from his team's performance.

"The biggest thing I wanted to see was for our team to compete," Olson said. "And I think we did that. We will grow as a football team from it and move forward."

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