Powe's big play helps Warren stop Stevenson
Jalen Powe's student fans were oh-so confident.
So as Powe stood near Warren's goal line awaiting Stevenson's kickoff late in the fourth quarter, Powe's friends started chanting.
"Ja-len Poe-oo. Jalen Poe-oo."
Then Powe, which rhymes with "go," went.
He fielded a line-drive kickoff, picking up the football at his own 7-yard line and took off, flashing his breakaway speed.
The senior's 93-yard kickoff return with 1:10 left answered Tyler Vincent's 5-yard touchdown run that had put the visitors up by four, and Warren pulled out a thrilling, 30-27 win Friday night.
Warren's win, which came with the Blue Devils sporting stylish gold-and-blue homecoming jerseys, hiked its record to 4-2 and 4-0 in the North Suburban Lake Division. It was the fourth win in a row for the Blue Devils, who visit undefeated Libertyville next Friday night in a first-place showdown.
"I heard (them)," Powe said of his spirited fans. "I tried to block it out and tried to do my best to return the kick."
He did just that, racing down the sideline as Stevenson players chased him unsuccessfully.
"Once I got (the ball), I fumbled it a little bit," Powe said. "I got it back and I saw the biggest hole I had seen all night and burst right through."
Stevenson did not plan on kicking to Powe with the game on the line, according to Patriots coach Bill McNamara.
"We were trying to kick the ball into the end zone," McNamara said after his defending Class 8A state champs lost their second game in a row. "Our kicker, with the wind, is capable of kicking the ball into the end zone, and he mis-kicked it. (Warren) made a good play."
Powe's play on the field never surprises Warren coach Bryan McNulty.
"Jalen Powe is a superb athlete," McNulty said of his three-year varsity player and starting defensive back. "He's young. He just turned 17 in late August. He can do a little bit of everything. You should see him throw a football. He can throw it 50 yards."
It was Powe who nearly caught Vincent (14 carries, 170 yards) on an 80-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter that put Stevenson up 21-17. The TD came on the first play from scrimmage after the first of 2 Darrius Crump TDs put Warren back in front.
Crump (27 carries, 156 yards) scored again, from 6 yards out, with 6:09 left in the fourth to give the Blue Devils a 23-21 advantage.
After Powe's heroics, which came after Vincent scored with 1:22 to go, Zavion Armour intercepted Stevenson quarterback Jack Sorenson with less than 40 seconds left.
Stevenson got the ball back once more, but Keylan Stocker came up with another interception on the game's final play as Sorenson dropped back from his own 38.
"We talked to our kids all week about just staying in the fight," McNulty said. "Stevenson is such a good program. I know Bill very well and consider him a friend, and I know how he coaches his kids. We knew it was going to be like this."
The teams traded scores all night. Stevenson led 14-10 at halftime thanks to Sorenson's 1-yard TD run and his 4-yard touchdown strike to Henry Marchese (10 catches, 134 yards) with 35 seconds left in the half.
Warren got a 33-yard TD pass from Kyle Debevec to Nicholas Marcinkus and 21-yard field goal from Brandon Hergenreder in the first half.
Warren's rally spoiled a great effort by Vincent, who played only about half of the Libertyville game and sat out a game before that with a sprained toe.
"He's getting healthier as we go along," McNamara said. "Tyler's a tough runner. We need him on the field, no doubt about it."