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No. 12 Warren
Last season: 8-3 overall, 4-2 North Suburban Lake, eliminated in 8A second round
Season ahead: Warren knows all too much about being knocked from the playoffs in the second round. It’s where the Blue Devils’ season has ended six times in the past 11 years.
The Blue Devils are setting their sights beyond the second round this season and will be looking to reach their first quarterfinals since 2001.
“We need to move on,” Warren coach Dave Mohapp said.
On paper, Warren has the team to do just that. The Blue Devils return nearly half of their offense and defense from last year’s 8-3 squad and welcome in a talented group of juniors.
Offensively, Warren should be one of the area’s top running teams again. The Blue Devils did graduate all-area running back Greg Kennedy, but return seniors Tom Lindal and Nolan Sordyl. Lindal ran for 800 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.
“We try to get the ball in his hands as much as we can,” Mohapp said. “He’s been a mainstay in our offense. He’s gotten a lot of yards in the last three years. He can run it inside, and he has the speed to go outside.”
Warren also will look to wide receiver Kendall Harris and offensive linemen Josh Dust, Caleb Haley and Zak Lowe to produce. Athletic junior Robby Boesch takes over at quarterback as last year’s starter Pat Kenney has decided to concentrate on baseball.
On defense, Warren’s strength should be its linebackers with Luke Mueller and Gary Eppinger both back. Matt Goad, who led the team in tackles last season, is moving from linebacker to free safety. Mohapp said he believed junior defensive lineman Michael Perrin could be a special one down the road.
Player to watch: Lindal was given the ball his fair share last season, but Greg Kennedy was the dominant back. Lindal will now be given a chance to carry the spotlight and should have no trouble doing so.
Newcomer to watch: Junior defensive lineman Michael Perrin
Key game: Oct. 8 vs. Lake Zurich – Warren was coasting along with a 6-0 record last season when Lake Zurich knocked the Blue Devils around for a 38-14 win. The Bears are the favorites in the North Suburban Lake this season, but Warren can change that with this game.
What they’re saying: “The nice thing is we have a lot of players back at a number of positions, and our young guys can fill in the other spots,” Warren coach Dave Mohapp said. “I like the 11 players we’re going to be putting out there on both sides of the ball.”