The final score was lopsided, but everyone involved was just happy to finally get back on the field for a long-awaited IHSA football game Friday night at Stevenson.
The host Patriots stormed ahead of an outmanned Waukegan squad 28-0 after one quarter, and never looked back as they rolled to a 49-0 North Suburban Conference victory before a festive atmosphere for the opening game of the 2021 spring season.
And even though this first-week contest was being played in late March as opposed to late August, it actually had that same old football feel to it as some cool temperatures near 40 degrees by the end of the game gave it a fall-like atmosphere.
“I’m just happy for us to get a chance to compete, and I’m just thrilled for our seniors,” said Stevenson coach Brent Becker, whose team built a commanding 42-0 advantage at halftime.
“We accomplished our goals. We won the game, and we executed well.”
A 41-yard pass right out of the gates from quarterback Liam Crawley to Jayden McFadden put the ball on the Waukegan 26-yard-line. Then a 13-yard touchdown run by senior running back Andrew Miller followed by the first of seven extra points by Matthew Spilotro gave the Patriots a quick 7-0 lead.
On Stevenson’s next possession, Miller also found the end zone as he broke off a 32-yard TD run for a 14-0 lead just 3:14 into the contest.
“(Miller) is a senior who did not play a lot last year and he has worked really hard so I’m proud of him getting those two scores,” added Becker, whose team is at Warren next Friday.
Crawley scored on a 10-yard keeper for a 21-0 lead before teammate Colin Schultz recovered Michael Angulo’s fumble in the end zone for a 28-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Then Stevenson’s Jimmy Davis scored on a wild play as he recovered the fumble of a teammate who had just recovered a Waukegan fumble moments earlier as Davis ran the fumble in from 5 yards out for a 35-0 lead.
“They’re a good football program, they’re really solid, and there are no easy games in the North Suburban Conference,” said Waukegan coach Jonathan Hadnott. “We had two freshmen starters on defense, but it feels good to get back out here, and we want to get to be more competitive.”
An 18-yard TD pass from Crawley to McFadden, and a 39-yard TD run down the right sideline by Davis midway through the third quarter accounted for the final score.
The entire second half was played with a running clock as the Patriots substituted freely at all positions.