Vernon Hills's defensive tackle Wayne Didier has a knack for putting points on the scoreboard.
On the second play of the game, he recorded his second safety of the season as the Cougars exploded past host North Chicago 49-8 in their North Suburban Prairie Division opener on Friday night.
After North Chicago started its first possion of the game from its 20-yard line, the Cougar defense sacked North Chicago quarterback Arnold Shead for a 15-yard loss.
Shead took the next snap and dropped back past his goal line, and Didier tackled him for the 2-point safety.
"We had (Shead) pretty much contained and when he tried to come back he ran right into me," said Didier, who had 2 more sacks. "After we lost last week (22-21 to St. Francis), we had a real hard practice and we came out with more intensity."
The Cougars defense allowed only North Chicago 103 total yards and also recovered 2 fumbles and intercepted a pass.
"The difference between this week and last week is that we had an opportunity to finish this one," said Cougars coach Tony Monken, whose team improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the NSC Prairie. "Last week we had a couple of opportunites to win, but we just didn't get it done. We came out and put it away early and in the second half we scored on the opening drive and took it from there."
Running back Tyler Alper rushed for a career-high 89 yards on 16 carries.
After the Cougars led 36-0 af halftime, Alper opened the third quarter by rushing for 59 yards on 12 straight carries and Dylan McNamara (48 yards, 11 carries, 2 touchdowns) scored his second touchdown from 11 yards out.
Senior quarterback Steve Nelson completed 6 of 9 passes for 88 yards and and passed for 2 touchdowns, both to Jarrett Wood.
With the game well in hand, Monken played reserve quarterback Brett Peterson, and he rewarded his coach with a 43-yard sweep down the right sideline to score his first varsity touchdown.
"My linemen made all of the blocks so all I had to do is run forward," said Peterson, who is looking forward to becoming the starting quarterback in his senior year. "It really wasn't too hard for me. I just wanted to work as hard as I can to score."
After Vernon Hills built a 43-0 lead late in the third quarter, Snead finally put the Warhawks on the scoreboard with a 10-yard keeper up the middle.
"We have a young team as we are starting mostly juniors and sophomores," Warhawks coach Glenn Kozlowski said. "I felt that our team played tough right up to the end and I was happy to see us score."