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Warren's Adam Reuss (4) takes the field with his team before their game against Maine South in Gurnee Friday night. August 24, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Quarterback Adam Reuss was ecstatic that Warren decided to run the spread offense before the start of his junior season in the fall of 2011.
The 6-foot-4, 183-pounder, would get a chance to show off his tremendous athletic ability and his strong arm, which has already made numerous collegiate baseball programs take notice when he is on the mound for the Blue Devils in the spring.
Reuss finished his junior football season throwing for close to 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns, but Warren struggled to a 3-6 record and 2-4 mark in the North Suburban Conference Lake Division. Plus, the Blue Devils failed to make the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
“It was tough losing so much, but we knew it would take some time to get the offense going,” Reuss said.
It didn’t help that Warren also gave up nearly 27 points per game in 2011.
“We knew if we worked hard in the off-season that we could pull everything together — the offense, the defense and special teams,” Reuss said.
So far, so good for the Blue Devils, as they opened their NSC Lake campaign last Friday with an impressive 34-0 win over host Zion-Benton. Warren had lost its season-opener 28-14 to Maine South, a team many consider the best in the state. The Blue Devils rebounded with a 21-6 victory over New Trier before knocking off the Zee-Bees.
“We are a lot more confident right now with the spread offense,” said Reuss, who completed 11-of-22 passes for 229 yards against Zion, plus rushed for 28 yards on seven carries. He accounted for a pair of touchdowns, one in the air and one on the ground rushing.
“We have a great group of receivers, a really good running back (Devonte Wilcox), and our offense line is solid. They are making my job easier.”
Reuss poses plenty of problems for opposing defenses with his size, strong arm and ability to run the football.
“He’s deceptive,” Warren coach Dave Mohapp said. “You don’t think he’s that fast, but when he decides to go, he usually makes things happen.”
Reuss uses his size to see over the opposing defensive lineman to pick out receiving targets such as Javon Charleston, Connor Iwema, Zack Rappel, Matt Matheny and Wilcox.
“We have a lot of weapons, so it’s easy to move the ball around to different players,” said Reuss. “It makes us that much harder to defend.”
Warren has also shored up its defense this season, as the Blue Devils have allowed only six points in their last two games.
“Zion controlled the ball and the clock for most of the first quarter, but we picked it up defensively in the second quarter,” said Mohapp. “We have to be a good defensive team if we want to compete in our conference because it’s so good from top to bottom. I don’t think the score of the game (against) Zion showed how tough the game was for us.”
Warren put 21 points on the scoreboard in the second quarter last Friday on an eight-yard touchdown run by Reuss, a four-yard TD pass from Reuss to Rappel and a one-yard plunge by Wilcox to take control of the contest.
“If we run the offense correct, we can score points in a hurry,” said Reuss.
Warren’s upcoming opponents are not the only ones taking notice of Reuss’ success behind center for the Blue Devils. He has already received attention from several colleges interested in his football skills. They join a list of schools also intrigued in his ability to throw a baseball quite well, too.
“I haven’t really decided on football or baseball yet in college,” said Reuss. “Right now, I’m more concerned with helping our team keep winning and get back into the playoffs.”