Stevenson heads to playoffs for 30th straight year
Host Stevenson played some opportunistic football Friday night against Waukegan, and in the process the Patriots reached a major milestone for their program.
Stevenson (6-1, 4-1) jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Bulldogs just 3:32 into the contest and the Patriots never looked back as they rolled to a 42-0 North Suburban Conference victory.
The Pats led Waukegan (0-7, 0-5) 42-0 at halftime, and when heavy rain and lightning hit the area, the game was stopped with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter. Instead of trying to wait out the rain and lighting, the game was called complete and the official final score was 42-0 as the entire second half would have been played with a running clock.
With the big win, Stevenson's football program has now qualified for the IHSA state playoffs for 30 straight seasons which is the longest current running streak of consecutive playoff appearances of any team in the state.
"It's pretty cool. I got together with some of the coaches last night and we reflected upon all this," said Stevenson coach Josh Hjorth, whose team held a commanding 28-0 lead after one quarter. "It's a tribute to our coaches and our community, it's not always easy, and it's fun having some kids whose fathers played in the program too."
On the current roster, Stevenson senior Cameron Constabileo's father, John, played for Stevenson's football team in the early 1980s.
A 33-yard run by Eli Fishbein was the key to the Patriots' first scoring drive before Fishbein scored on a 6-yard touchdown run 3:16 into the game. The first of 6 extra points by senior Jack Baruch made the score 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Stevenson's Mikey Youkhanna forced a fumble, and twin brother Brandon Youkhanna recovered the ball in the end zone for a very quick 14-0 lead.
Good field position helped Stevenson's next scoring drive as a 4-yard TD run by JM Etienne (56 yards on 6 carries) capped a fast 43-yard drive for a 21-0 lead.
Then Etienne scored on a 7-yard TD run 3:03 later, and the Pats led 28-0.
"We're happy we were able to keep things rolling, and it's good to get the scores on special teams," said Hjorth, whose team has a showdown at Warren next week. "JM had two touchdowns, (quarterback Cole) Okmin was delivering the ball, and everybody was kind of clicking."
A 20-yard TD pass from Okmin (8-for-9, 80 yards passing) to Fishbein on the first play of the second quarter boosted the lead to 35-0.
Then Stevenson's Michael D'Angelo intercepted a pass and raced 37 yards for the touchdown and a 42-0 lead 2:25 later. Senior Isaiah Hart also intercepted a pass for the Patriots to help set up their third scoring drive.
"It was a great game by the offense and a lot of fun being out there," said Okmin following the abbreviated game. "I was looking forward to being out there more so it's too bad the game got cut short."
Fishbein ran for 39 yards on 2 carries while Waukegan's rushing was led by Josiah Kerney (35 yards on 7 carries), and Daeivion Gentle (26 yards on 7 attempts).