Warren makes quick work of Plainfield East
There were plenty of firsts for Warren's football team in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs Saturday night.
The Blue Devils won 10 games in a season for the first time. They also blocked two punts and recovered each of them in the end zone for touchdowns in the opening quarter.
Fourth-seeded Warren opened the playoffs with a 49-7 victory over visiting Plainfield East in Gurnee.
Warren (10-0) will next host 13th-seeded Fremd (8-2) in the second round. Fremd downed Plainfield North 19-0 on Friday night.
The Blue Devils scored so fast on Saturday that their offense didn't even get on the field for more than a few plays in the opening quarter.
"We wanted to score very quickly and we worked very hard to do it," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said. "We thought we could get at (Plainfield East) in their kicking game, which we did in a big way. We wanted to make some points right away because it's the playoffs."
The stellar Blue Devils' defense forced the Bengals back on their opening possession. Then, on the punt, Juan DelaCruz blocked it and recovered the ball in the end zone for an early lead of 7-0 with 10:03 left in the opening quarter.
"I just saw an open field with the lineman," DelaCruz said. "It was spread out and I was one-on-one with one of their guys. I made a slick move, jumped as high as I could, blocked it with my two hands, saw it, picked it up and scored. This was the first time and we like to take advantage of that on the special teams early in the game. It was my first touchdown since last year."
The Blue Devils, with the help of a 56-yard punt return setting up their second score, went ahead 13-0 as Christian Phillips rushed for a 2-yard touchdown with 9:04 remaining.
On the next Plainfield East (5-5) possession, the Bengals again had issues going forward and were forced backward inside their own 10-yard line. Yet again the Blue Devils' special teams came up with a second block and Malichi McNeal recovered another fumble in the end zone, increasing the lead to 21-0 with 3:21 left in the first.
Warren added 4 more touchdowns in the second quarter. Derrick McLaughlin (7 carries, 53 yards) scampered on a 9-yard run that made the score 28-0 at 11:56.
Trinate Jacobs broke a 44-yard run for a touchdown that increased the margin to 35-0 at 8:18. Then, McLaughlin scored his second TD of 6 yards and Torris Childs added another from 5 yards before halftime and a 49-0 lead.
Plainfield East managed to get into the end zone early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run from Sam Aponsah.
The Blue Devils have allowed just 28 points in their 10 games this season.