Warren makes it five straight wins
Warren senior running back Martin Walker Jr. doesn't mind having that target on your back.
"We remember losing last year to them (21-14) and just wanted to make sure we jumped on them early," said Walker, who's been the primary workhorse for the Blue Devil rushing attack this fall.
"We're really coming together as a team and work hard to prepare week by week. We know teams are coming after us."
Since the Week 1 loss to Barrington-which seems like light years ago-Warren has rolled off five straight victories, including a sound 33-0 triumph to spoil Zion-Benton's Homecoming Friday night. It was the fourth shutout of the season for Warren, who allows opponents only 8 ppg.
Right out of the gate Warren got the ball and put together a masterful 9 play, 75-yard drive that featured yes, Walker, rumbling for 56 of those yards, including a culminating 2-yard plunge to give Warren the 7-0 lead with 7:44 left in the first.
"That was a great drive," said Walker Jr., who finished with 141 yards on 24 carries and the one TD and had a run during that opening drive that featured him carrying a plethora of Zee-Bees for an extra 10 yards on one of his carries.
"The offensive line gave me an excellent push all night and I just ran through the holes," he said.
On the ensuing Zion drive, the defense made one of its several statements on the evening.
Seamus Mellican and Willis Singleton Jr. sacked Zion quarterback Jerome Crawford and Zion tried a fake punt that was snuffed out by the Devil defense, resulting in a turnover on downs.
"We remember last year when they beat us and there wasn't any revenge. We just wanted to settle the score and do what we know how to do," said Warren head coach Brian McNulty, whose guys brace for two huge home dates with Lake Zurich and Stevenson the next couple of weeks. Warren sits atop the North Suburban at 4-0 while improving to 5-1 overall after Friday.
"And it's kind of a Week 1 anamolie. We focus on defense right off the bat when every player enters the program."
From there, Warren gunslinger Phil Hird tossed a beautiful spiral to a streaking Tavion McCarthy from 33 yards and suddenly Warren was ahead 14-0 with 5:52 left in the first.
Junior kicker Adam Saul then nailed a pair of 33-yard field goals in the second and third frames as Warren held a 20-0 lead and the shutout still intact after the third.
Zion-Benton had a chance late in the second quarter to put points on the board but a 30-yard field goal fell short.
Warren added two more scores in the fourth for the final margin of victory. Junior fullback Derrick McLaughlin powered in from 8 yards, while junior running back Torris Childs Jr. plunged in from 2 yards out with the game already in hand.
After the McLaughlin score, Zion got to the Warren 33-yard line but any thoughts of scoring were nullified when Singleton Jr. and Juan DelaCruz sacked Crawford to force a turnover on downs late in the contest and help preserve the shutout.
Hird finished completing 3-of-10 passes for 100 yards and the TD to McCarthy.
Warren controlled the line of scrimmage and clock and outgained the Bees 353-74.