Warren's injured McLaughlin toughed it out in title game
Like the rest of Warren's offense, workhorse running back Derrick McLaughlin didn't have his best game Saturday night, as the Blue Devils fell to Lincoln-Way East 12-0 in the Class 8A state championship game at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.
The Griffins' stellar defense was only part of the reason for the Indiana State commit's lack of production.
Warren coach Bryan McNulty confirmed Monday night that McLaughlin played with an AC joint sprain in his shoulder after suffering the injury against Brother Rice in the state semifinals.
"You could see he was favoring it a little," McNulty said. "He wasn't running quite as physically as he normally does. It was a tough way for him to end the year, but he gave us everything he had."
McLaughlin entered the state title game with 1,616 rushing yards on 232 carries (7.0 average) and 21 touchdowns. Lincoln-Way East held him to 13 yards on 8 carries on a cold, breezy, rainy night.
"There were a couple of times where he was one on one in the hole with a linebacker (and couldn't break the tackle)," McNulty said. "If that's Week 7, he's going to make that kid miss all day and all night."
"D" vs. "D": While Lincoln-Way East limited Warren to 36 yards of total offense, the Blue Devils gave up just 163 yards to the Griffins. Michigan-bound AJ Henning rushed 29 times for 125 yards, which included 56-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that all but sealed Warren's fate.
"Defensively, I thought we played OK," Warren coach Bryan McNulty said after his team finished 13-1. "Henning got loose that one time, but he's that kind of player, and that's going to happen."
"They were a tough, physical, aggressive defense," Blue Devils quarterback Trinate Jacobs said of the Griffins. "They were exactly what we expected. We just didn't finish through."
Bright future: Warren's defense will be hit hard by graduation, but there will be talent returning. Included will be all-conference linebacker Malachi McNeal, who started on varsity as a sophomore last year, and defensive lineman Tommy Matheson, a first-year varsity starter this fall.
In the state championship game against Lincoln-Way East, Matheson (6-4, 265) was credited with a team-best 10 solo tackles (13 total), including 2 for loss. McNeal (6-0, 220) had 7 tackles, including 3 TFLs.
Turner commits to NWSU: Warren coach Bryan McNulty said Monday night that senior strong safety Josh Turner has committed to NCAA Division II Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo.
Turner, a three-year varsity starter in the secondary, had a team-best 5 interceptions, including a Pick 6 in the state semifinals against Brother Rice.
"He's got a bright college future ahead of him," McNulty said.
Leaving a legacy: Coach Bryan McNulty, summarizing the best season in Warren history: "I think this group of kids will always be tied together, forever. These kids will always be a part of my life, and I'm pretty sure I'll always be a part of their life. This Class of 2020 has provided excellence for Warren Township High School football."