Brother Rice at Warren: How to watch, keys to the game, predictions, and more

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Brother Rice at Warren: How to watch, keys to the game, predictions, and more

Josh Pos, Staff Writer

Who? Brother Rice Crusaders (8-4) at Warren Township Blue Devils (12-0)

Where? O’Plaine Turf

When? Saturday, November 23, 4 p.m.

How to watch: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/schools/warren-high-school-gurnee-gurnee-il

Tommy Matheson celebrates a sack at Bolingbrook

On Saturday, the most important football game in Warren history will be happening as the Brother Rice Crusaders travel to Gurnee to play the Warren Blue Devils for a spot in this year’s class 8A State Championship game at Northern Illinois University on Saturday, November 30th.

This is the first time in school history that Warren football has been to the Semifinals. As for Brother Rice, they return to the semifinals for the second straight year.

Brother Rice comes into this game after upsetting the number one seeded Minooka at home 38-21. The Blue Devils come into this game after a knockout-dragout 18-6 win at Bolingbrook.

This semifinal match-up will be the second straight year these two teams have gone head to head in the Playoffs. The last time the Crusaders and Blue Devils squared off 378 days ago Saturday, it was the Quarterfinals and Brother Rice won 20-0 on their way to a second place finish in class 8A.

Here are the keys to the revenge game.

Ground N’ Pound
It was another strong day for Senior RB Derrick McLaughlin at Bolingbrook Saturday. He carried 25 times for 97 yards, including a three-yard TD in the second quarter. That shows how strong the Blue Devil offensive linemen led by Senior Matt Rich are because the Bolingbrook D-Line were a strong and physical bunch. The Blue Devil Offense has been running through the teeth of every defense they have faced this year. With standout LSU and Michigan offered Defensive Lineman Denver Warren (ironic, huh?) on the other side of the ball for the Crusaders, the question will be if the Blue Devils can effectively run the ball like they’ve done throughout the season. If not, will the Warren offense be able to throw the ball effectively?

Make Brother Rice pass the ball
Last week, the Blue Devil defense needed to stop the run attack of Bolingbrook. If the Blue Devils want to win this game, then they need to hold Brother Rice to minimal rushing yards. The Crusader offensive line created big holes for their running game in their first round win at Bartlett with 284 rushing yards on 47 carries. They need to force the Crusaders sophomore Quarterback Jack Lausch to throw the ball under pressure on every throw and not let him out of the pocket to scramble. Lausch rushed 15 times for 91 yards and a touchdown in last week’s upset at home vs Minooka. The Blue Devil defense had 7 sacks last week against a really good Bolingbrook offense, and it must be more of the same this week.

Penalties (again)
Like the Fremd game, the Blue Devils had trouble with penalties against Bolingbrook last week racking up 7 penalties for more than 45 yards in just the first half. There were a couple of offensive possessions that were killed with multiple penalties.  For the Blue Devils to make it to Dekalb, the penalty numbers must go down.

Prediction
I see this game being a defensive battle from the get-go as both teams will try to run the ball through the teeth of the defense. Christian Phillips was not a huge factor in the Bolingbrook game, so I fully expect him to have a big game both running and receiving this week. After scoring 9 points on defense including a 33 yard scoop and score by Marc Davila and 7 sacks last week at Bolingbrook, I expect the defense to pick up where they left off forcing two or three turnovers and Lausch getting sacked nearly ten times. It will be a very low scoring game as both defenses have been outstanding this season.

My Prediction: Blue Devils 15, Brother Rice 6

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