Warren stays unbeaten in North Suburban

By Chris Kwiecinski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted9/22/2018 1:00 AM

With Lake Forest slowly chipping away at Warren's lead, the Blue Devil defense came through when the team needed it most.

Warren's defense forced a turnover on downs with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter, and the offense's rushing attack sealed the win, as the Blue Devils (4-1, 3-0) gutted out a 24-10 North Suburban Conference win over Lake Forest (2-3, 2-1) Friday night.

After getting the ball back on the turnover on downs, Warren running back Martin Walker scored the game-sealing touchdown with a 43-yard explosion. He finished his night as the main focal point of the Blue Devil offense, carrying the ball 31 times for 155 yards and a score.

"I'm looking forward to being a big part of the offense and helping the team win," Walker said. "I'm looking forward to carrying the rock, and scoring touchdowns."

The Blue Devil defense also showed out, recording three turnovers and getting six sacks on Lake Forest senior quarterback Tommy Hanson. Lake Forest tried to counteract Warren's gritty defense with a vertical passing game, but the Scouts' pass protection didn't hold up.

"We were struggling with our pass protection," Lake Forest coach Chuck Spagnoli said. "Our run game at times was OK, but nothing special. It's hard to counteract (Warren's defense)."

Warren's rushing offense kicked off the game, as the Blue Devils ran right down the field on a touchdown drive which took nearly seven minutes off the clock in the first quarter and ended with a Seamus Mellican 4-yard touchdown plunge.

The Blue Devils then capped off their outstanding first quarter with a 75-yard bomb from quarterback Philip Hird to wide receiver Juan Delacruz as time expired in the first period. Hird finished the game completing 6 of his 10 passes for 108 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

From there, it looked like the rout was on. But Lake Forest had no intention of going down that quietly on homecoming night. The Scouts' offense picked the team up off the canvas on the next drive in the second quarter with a double reverse, wide receiver pass for a 71-yard touchdown.

Ryan Cekay got the pitch from running back Jacob Thomas and made a perfect throw to Hanson, who outran the Warren defense the rest of the way.

Warren's defense shut down almost everything after that trick play. Lake Forest's only other score came on a 22-yard field goal with just over 2:30 left in the third.

The Blue Devils goal-line defense stopped the Scouts' offense cold on the Warren five yard line after the Blue Devils muffed a punt. Lake Forest never got into the red zone for the entirety of the fourth quarter.

Warren head coach Brian McNulty said his defense's success came from the unit being made up of veterans. That defense will get an opportunity to help the Blue Devils to secure their fifth-straight win next week at Zion-Benton.

"We had a lot of sophomores up last year, and those kids just seem to always want to respond," McNulty said. "They just kind of pride themselves on being tough like that, and they've answered the bell multiple times."

Lake Forest will have an opportunity to get back on track against a winless Waukegan team, which lost 49-6 at Libertyville Friday.

"We've got to do a better job of our ball security," Spagnoli said. "Defensively, we can't give up big plays, which is what cost us this game."

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