Warren routs Mundelein for 8th straight victory

 
 

Torrential rains forced Mundelein to punt on its elaborate Homecoming halftime show earlier this season.

The school had planned to unleash an extensive fireworks show.

That plan was revisited on Friday night in the Mustangs' home and season finale.

A legit fireworks show that lasted more than 10 minutes and rivaled that of some suburban Fourth of July displays lit up the sky above the football field at halftime.

It was a continuation of how visiting Warren lit up the scoreboard in the first half.

The Blue Devils flexed their North Suburban Conference-leading muscles and rolled up 29 unanswered points in the first half. And that paved the way to a breezy 43-7 victory.

Warren finishes the season with an 8-1 record and eight straight wins after a season-opening loss to Barrington. The Blue Devils also ran the table in the NSC for their first undefeated (7-0) conference championship since 2008.

Mundelein closes its season at 2-7 overall and 1-6 in the NSC.

"We prepare hard every week and we would never take (Mundelein) easy, we prepared for them like we would Stevenson or Lake Zurich or any of the top teams in our conference," Warren linebacker Juan DelaCruz said. "Our defense lived up to a high standard today and I'm so proud of everyone."

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The Warren defense, which is allowing 6 points per game and has pitched 5 shutouts in 9 games, again came up big. Mundelein managed just 6 first downs and was down 43-0 before scoring in the final minutes of the game against Warren's reserves.

The Blue Devils registered 4 sacks and forced 5 Mundelein turnovers.

DelaCruz got one of those turnovers when defensive lineman Zack Pelland tipped a Mundelein pass and DelaCruz caught it for an interception and rumbled 18 yards for a touchdown.

"I've got to give credit to Zack," DelaCruz said. "I was right behind him and I just caught it thanks to Zack. That was great."

The Blue Devils opened the scoring with a 37-yard field goal by Adam Saul midway through the first quarter and then scored four straight touchdowns in the second quarter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Malachi McNeal scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, lead running back Martin Walker Jr. scored his first of 2 touchdowns on a 3-yard run, Christian Phillips scored his first of 2 touchdowns on a 5-yard run and DelaCruz got his interception and touchdown to put Warren up 29-0 at the break.

Walker, who rushed for 61 yards in limited duty, scored on a 2-yard run in the third and Phillips capped off Warren's scoring in the third with a 60-yard run when he found daylight through the massive holes opened by the offensive line.

"I just really want to give it up to my line. When I found the hole (on the 60-yard touchdown run), I knew I was gone," said Phillips, who transferred to Warren from Urbana High School prior to the season. "It meant a lot to win this game. This year we wanted to show that we were the best team in our conference and we finished it all the way through. We can make a good run (in the Class 8A playoffs)."

Phillips' long touchdown run enacted a running clock but Mundelein didn't roll over.

The Mustangs finally got on the board in the fourth quarter when quarterback Juan Tirado connected with Shawn Patrick for a 68-yard touchdown pass.

Mundelein won two of its first four games this season but then lost five straight games to fall out of contention for a playoff spot.

"The highs this season are obviously the wins, but even in some of the losses, we continued to battle and not give up and I think that's a positive we can take away from this season," Mundelein receiver Brandon Paluch said.

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