Brenner, Libertyville run past Stevenson

  • Libertyville's quarterback Blake Ellingson on the move toward the goal line but falls short on this play but scores a touchdown on the next drive in the first quarter of varsity football action at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Libertyville's quarterback Blake Ellingson on the move toward the goal line but falls short on this play but scores a touchdown on the next drive in the first quarter of varsity football action at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Jayden McFadden hauls in a pass play in the first quarter during the varsity football game against Libertyville at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Stevenson's Jayden McFadden hauls in a pass play in the first quarter during the varsity football game against Libertyville at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's quarterback Liam Crawley under pressure looks for a receiver downfield but is tackled by Libertyville's Will McDonnell (left) in the first quarter of varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Stevenson's quarterback Liam Crawley under pressure looks for a receiver downfield but is tackled by Libertyville's Will McDonnell (left) in the first quarter of varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Ryan Hynes gains yardage against Libertyville on a pass play in the first quarter of varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Stevenson's Ryan Hynes gains yardage against Libertyville on a pass play in the first quarter of varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Matt Brenner on the move down the sideline for a touchdown in the first quarter of varsity football action at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Libertyville's Matt Brenner on the move down the sideline for a touchdown in the first quarter of varsity football action at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Jimmy Davis on the move despite pressure from Libertyville's Will McDonnell in varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Stevenson's Jimmy Davis on the move despite pressure from Libertyville's Will McDonnell in varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Ryan Hynes reaches across the goal line for a touchdown against Libertyville's defense in varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Stevenson's Ryan Hynes reaches across the goal line for a touchdown against Libertyville's defense in varsity football at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Matt Brenner celebrates his touchdown against Stevenson in varsity football action at Libertyville High School on Friday.

      Libertyville's Matt Brenner celebrates his touchdown against Stevenson in varsity football action at Libertyville High School on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/9/2021 11:10 PM

With all the running and running, it was like Matt Brenner was at lacrosse practice.

Which, come to think of it, he has been doing lately whenever his schedule allows since his sports are starting to overlap.

 

Brenner, Libertyville's 5-foot-9 speed demon running back who will be playing lacrosse in two weeks when the football season is over, was racking up the mileage on Friday night.

Brenner had 2 long touchdown runs of 71 and 80 yards, and a total of 173 rushing yards to spark host Libertyville to a 40-22 North Suburban Conference win over archrival Stevenson.

It's the first time Libertyville has beaten Stevenson on the varsity level since 2015.

"There's a lot of running in lacrosse," said Brenner, suggesting his conditioning from lacrosse may have helped with his breakaway runs on the football field. "We just did our thing. I got some lucky blocks and we took care of it.

"Those (long touchdown runs) just hypes up everyone I hope, and it puts energy in me, too. Our linemen really took care of business in the trenches."

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Libertyville, which moves to 3-1 on the season, had a 12-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 20-7 lead at halftime. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats had extended that lead to 26-7.

Quarterback Blake Ellingson opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run, then Brenner ran in his 71-yarder. Brenner added a 1-yard touchdown run right before halftime and then scored the only touchdown of the third quarter on his 80-yard run.

Stevenson's only touchdown through three quarters came in the second quarter on a 4-yard run by Ryan Hynes.

At halftime, Stevenson (2-2) had managed just 18 rushing yards and 59 passing yards.

"We came with a good game plan and we fought hard," Stevenson quarterback Liam Crawley said. "We just fell short. We missed a couple of big plays. I tried my best to make some plays and the line was fighting really hard, doing their best. We're a family, we're a group and we play as one. And that's all you can ask for."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Libertyville opened the fourth quarter with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Ellingson to Connor Dickson and got one more score for good measure with about four minutes left when Tommy Latka ran in a touchdown from 14 yards out.

Latka finished with 119 rushing yards on 14 carries.

"We ran the ball consistently today and executed," Libertyville coach Mike Jones said. "And Matt (Brenner) was really tough. I mean, he's going to both football practice and lacrosse practice right now and all he does is run in lacrosse practice. It's like, 'Matt, don't get too tired.' But maybe (all the running helped)."

Stevenson got two fourth quarter touchdowns to cut into its deficit, which grew to as much as 26 points (33-7).

Jayden McFadden returned a Libertyville kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and when the reserves came in, backup quarterback AJ Eliot threw a 5-yard touchdown to AJ Loch.

"This is always our biggest rivalry," Brenner said of Stevenson. "We really wanted to take care of business, especially since we hadn't beaten them on varsity since 2015."

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