Warren makes statement with win over Barrington
Yep, that scary, spine-chilling Warren defense is back, back like a bad recurring nightmare that just won't go away.
The Blue Devils certainly can be a nightmare for opposing offenses, like they were last year in pitching five shutouts and leading the area in sacks and fewest yards allowed.
On Friday night, Warren opened the 2019 season much like it closed 2018, with defensive muscle.
The Blue Devils held a talented Barrington team scoreless over the first three quarters and to just 1 touchdown overall in a 16-6 win on their O'Plaine campus in Gurnee.
It was sweet payback for Warren, which dropped its season opener to Barrington last year by allowing 30-plus points, its most points allowed in a game all season. By far.
Not counting its loss to Barrington last year, or its quarterfinal playoff loss to Brother Rice, Warren's stingy defense last year allowed just 4 points a game.
"We couldn't have what happened last year (to Barrington) happen again," Warren linebacker Malachi McNeal said. "Last year, after we got beat, we told ourselves that we're never going to do that again. We had pregame speeches this year from me and Juan (Delacruz) and Willis Singleton. We talked about playing for each other. Our theme this year is "Agape," which means unconditional love for your brother. We just went out there and played for each other and played 70 (players) strong."
McNeal helped set a dominating tone defensively with big tackles, a blocked field goal and an interception. He also came in on some short yardage plays to help the offense move the ball. In fact, he scored Warren's final touchdown, a 1-yard run in the third quarter to cap an 18-play drive that chewed the first 10 minutes of the quarter.
"We have to tip our hats to them, they are a really good defense and they have some big guys up front," said Barrington receiver EJ Darlington, who caught 6 passes for 93 yards, including the Broncos' only score, a 20-yard touchdown from quarterback Tommy Fitzpatrick with about 9 minutes left. "Last year (against Warren), we minimized the self-inflicted wounds, and this year, not so much."
Barrington had 2 interceptions and didn't capitalize on some big plays and scoring opportunities in the red zone.
"I was very proud of our guys with the way we battled back. That was like an 8A playoff game," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "But we tip our hat to them. They made more plays than we did. We need to take a look at some things and get better."
Warren had a 10-0 lead in the first quarter that held as the halftime score.
Kicker Adam Saul got the scoring started with a 34-yard field goal midway through the first quarter and then two minutes later after a short Barrington series that yielded a punt, Warren running back Christian Phillips found his way through a seam and flipped on the jets to beat everyone downfield for a 75-yard touchdown.