High school football: Warren turns to quarterback Adam Behrens to revitalize offense

Adam Behrens’ future is not in football. The Arizona State baseball rookie will focus on pitching in college.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior throws in the low 90s with a good shift and a curveball. But his right-hand man will throw a pigskin this fall for Warren.

Behrens took time off last year from football. He did not return due to a strategic, multi-sport playing philosophy. He’s back with the football team for the best reason.

“It’s my last year and it’s special,” Behrens said. “I want to have like a special year in teen high school. So I’m quitting baseball for the fall. I’m going to give my arm a break and throw the soccer ball.

Warren’s trainer Brian McNulty is thrilled.

“We’re really excited about Adam,” McNulty said. “He was our sophomore starter [on varsity] and it’s great to see him again.

The Blue Devils seniors believe everything is back to normal now that Behrens is back.

“I feel like Adam is the best quarterback I’ve ever seen,” Warren senior Cassius Callahan said. “Adam and I have been building chemistry since freshman year. It’s like our freshman team is back together.

Callahan, a defensive back, is one of five starters returning to the Blue Devils defense that recorded six shutouts last season. He is also playing receiver this season.

Behrens must be well protected. Although Warren’s defense is still one of the best in the state, the offensive line could be the team’s strength this season.

Seniors Kole Weinberg, Cohen Pye, Erik Rissmann and junior Jaivin Young all return to the offensive line.

“There’s a lot of experience,” McNulty said. “We’ve got a couple three-year-old starters, a couple big tackles and two tight ends that have been with us for three years.”

Senior Charley Thompson (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) will take over running back for Maurice Edwards, who is now at Vanderbilt.

“He’s new to football,” McNulty said. “He just started playing in second grade and was a gymnast before that. He supported Maurice last year.

Warren’s Jailen Duffie watches her teammates during a practice.

Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times

Senior Jailen Duffie is Warren’s standout talent. The defensive back/wide receiver is a rookie from North Dakota State.

“He helps both sides of the ball a lot more now,” McNulty said. “He’s just more confident. He’s a three-year-old starter and a leader. He plays safety and corner, lunge and running back. It’s a weapon.

Duffie says the offense is more skilful this season and joins the chorus of praise for Behrens.

“I just remember how perfect the balls were from him,” Duffie said. “I can’t wait to get out there and score some touchdowns. This offense is going to last and some points and the defense will keep the ball. ‘”

Expectations were higher for Warren last season. The Blue Devils even spent a week as the top-ranked team in the Super 25. They finished 9-2 and were upset by Glenbard North in the second round of the state playoffs.

“It’s high school football so we don’t know what to expect this season,” McNulty said. “In 2018, Loyola won the state championship after going 6-3 [in the regular season]. We’re pretty confident that there’s no game we won’t be in, so we have a chance of succeeding. The sky is the limit with this group as we become more experienced.

Warren’s schedule

August 26 vs. Barrington
September 2 in southern Maine
September 9 in Libertyville
September 16 at Stevenson
September 23 against Lake Zurich
September 30 in Mundelein
October 7 vs. Waukegan
October 14 at Lake Forest
Oct. 21 vs. Zion-Benton

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