As the month of September begins, so does Week 3 of the high school football season. This week’s Lake County Game of the Week features the Stevenson Patriots hitting the road to face the Libertyville Wildcats in the North Suburban Lake opener for both teams. Stevenson defeated Libertyville 13-0 last season in conference play.
Stevenson ran into a talented Homewood-Flossmoor team last week and lost 35-27 to fall to 1-1 on the season. Willie Bourbon threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Bourbon is a sophomore and is still getting his feet under him on the varsity level but is learning very quickly on the job. Danny Nowak ran for two touchdowns as the Patriots had to try to rally from 21 down but couldn’t get into the lead. Stevenson also had to rally to win in Week 1 and has been outscored this season so far. Having to rally every week isn’t something that’s going to work as the season goes on.
Libertyville is having a strong start under new coach Mike Jones, winning their first two games after going 5-5 last season. The Wildcats defeated Urban Prep 62-14 last week after beating Barrington to open the season. Connor Simpson scored four times last week while the Libertyville special teams scored twice on fumbled kickoffs that were returned for touchdowns. This is a major step up in competition with the two-team state quarterfinalist in town to open conference play. It will be important for Libertyville to play a ball control game to keep the Stevenson offense off the field as much as possible.
This game comes down to how much Bourbon has matured over the last two weeks in having to rally his team twice now. I don’t see Bourbon having to rally the Patriots this time and will lead Stevenson to a road win. I’ll take Stevenson getting a 28-13 victory to open North Suburban play.