Jones, Warren jolt Libertyville
Editor's note: This file was updated to correct the name of Jonathan Palmieri in a photo caption.
It's not easy keeping up with the Joneses, or at least Warren senior wide receiver Micah Jones.
Libertyville's student fans joined the growing list of those trying to get in the head of Warren's Notre Dame commit, chanting "O-ver-rate-ed" after Jones was upended for a zero-yard reception in the first half of Friday night's North Suburban Conference opener in Gurnee.
"I heard it last year," Jones said. "It's just something you got to get over."
He's doing that.
Jones had maybe his most productive game in his three-year varsity career, as Warren beat Libertyville 26-10 on Senior Night. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder caught 8 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown -- a 28-yarder that included him breaking multiple tackles after catching a screen pass. The TD capped the scoring for the Blue Devils, who improved to 2-0 with their second win in a row.
"It was a great performance," Jones said of his team. "I think we could have put up more points, to be honest with you."
A Libertyville defender reacted jubilantly after breaking up an end-zone pass intended for Jones, but Jones added that he's taking nothing personal.
"It's a rivalry (with Warren)," Libertyville running back Brendan Bazar said. "We're close to them, location-wise. It's always fun playing against them, and this crowd was excited."
Warren quarterback Ian Schilling threw for 318 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22-of-38 passing, and running back Martin Walker Jr. rushed for 119 yards on 27 carries a week after sitting out the Blue Devils' win over New Trier with a shoulder injury. Warren's offensive line -- Jimmy Poremba, Cole Even, Jake Vastine, Matt Rich, Anthony Crotty and Nico Corsini -- gave the offense ample time to make plays and stay on the field.
Libertyville, which lost to Batavia last week, fell to 1-2.
"It's been two weeks in a row that our defense has been on the field a long time," said coach Mike Jones, whose Wildcats have yet to play a home game. "We got to be more consistent on offense and control the ball more."
Warren built a 13-0 lead on touchdown runs of 3 and 4 yards by fullback Taylor Krause, but the Blue Devils also squandered scoring chances early. They couldn't capitalize on a fumble recovery by sophomore defensive lineman Willis Singleton Jr. at the Libertyville 13, and they later had a 20-yard field goal attempt blocked.
Bazar, who's been playing all season with a broken pinkie on his left hand, got Libertyville back into the game by busting off a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage following Krause's second TD. Bazar finished with 113 rushing yards on just 10 carries and also caught 4 passes for 72 yards.
Matt Rudolphi's 37-yard field goal just before halftime cut the Wildcats' deficit to 13-10, but the visitors managed just 2 first downs in the second half. Warren got interceptions from Brian Mohry and Tavion McCarthy in the fourth quarter.
Warren put the game away with back-to-back TD passes by Schilling. Jaden Quartey's 14-yard score was aided by Jones' block with 7:09 left in the fourth. Jones caught his touchdown pass on the Blue Devils' next series.
"I think Micah put on 15-20 pounds in the off-season," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "You can just tell he's so much physically stronger and so much more confident. He's not dropping the ball at all. He's turning and trying to run people over. Obviously we're biased, but we feel we have the best receiver in the state."