Senior football players will give the shirt off their back in exchange for a special memory.
So Warren senior Tyler Keith wasn't lamenting his No. 40 jersey that got ripped up to his shoulder when he got tackled on the final play of the first half.
"He walked in (at halftime) and said, 'Hey, Coach Mo,' " Warren coach Dave Mohapp said of Keith's torn jersey. "I said, 'We're going to have to go in the shed and get (a jersey) for you.' "
In a season that unraveled early for Warren, which lost its first four games, Keith and his senior teammates at least stitched one last special memory in their final game Friday night. The Blue Devils rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits to stun visiting Grant 34-33 in the teams' North Suburban Conference crossover in Gurnee.
"We didn't like the way the season went, but we just played our hardest at the end and got (the win)," Keith said. "As seniors, we wanted to end strong."
Warren finished 3-6, while snapping Grant's five-game winning streak.
Adam Reuss' third touchdown pass of the game to Mitch Munda, from 8 yards out with 8:59 left in the fourth quarter, and Pat Kenney's PAT was the difference for Warren, which stopped a late Grant drive that stalled at the home team's 10.
"These kids got character," Mohapp said. "They're impressive. It's been a tough year for us, but these kids really stick together through thick and thin."
Grant (6-3) wasted three 100-yard rushing efforts. Running back Jonathon Wells (22 carries, 2 touchdowns) and quarterback Alex Villa (12 carries) each gained 125 yards, while fullback Kyle Whitman picked up 120 on the ground, despite leaving the game early in the second half with an apparent injury and not returning.
Villa's 59-yard run, on a brilliantly disguised option, had the Bulldogs up 33-21 with 4:48 left in the third quarter. But the conversion pass failed. That, after Grant missed the PAT kick following Wells' 26-yard TD run early in the third that snapped a 21-21 tie.
Warren scored the game's final 13 points.
"I don't even know (what happened)," a stunned Wells said as he walked out of Warren's stadium.
Keith, who had opened the scoring with a 42-yard run, switched to jersey No. 33 after halftime. He picked up key yardage on the ground for the Blue Devils' spread offense, which saw Reuss (14-of-28 passing) throw for 222 yards and 4 TDs.
Reuss hit Connor Iwema from 40 yards out with 2:05 left in the third quarter to start Warren's second comeback (The Blue Devils trailed 21-7 in the first half).
After the Blue Devils went ahead on Reuss' pass in the end zone to Munda (4 catches, 65 yards), who went to his knees to make the catch, Grant marched from its own 20 to the Warren 10. But a holding penalty backed up the Bulldogs to the 27. Andrew Nitch knocked away an option pass to keep Warren in front.
Warren still had to kill 2:50 on the clock and did, going for it on fourth-and-inches from its own 31 with 1:47 to go. Keith gained 15 yards, sealing the win.
"Coach Mo (Mohapp) said, 'All we need is an inch,' " said Keith, who finished with 85 yards on the ground. "I said, 'Yes, sir.' "