Warren's defense chases Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, during the IHSA Class 8A State Football Championship at Huskie Stadium in Dekalb, Ill.
Warren's defense chases Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, during the IHSA Class 8A State Football Championship at Huskie Stadium in Dekalb, Ill. — Eric Ginnard - eginnard@shawmedia.com

As we close out the 2019 season at Friday Night Drive, we're counting down the top 10 games of the year.

Games were nominated by our staff and voted on by our editors. Without further ado, No. 10 in our list of the top 10 games of 2019: The Class 8A state championship game between Lincoln-Way East and Warren.

Warren's defense was one of the major storylines throughout the 2019 season. No team had scored more than a touchdown against Warren's vaunted defense throughout the regular season and the playoffs.

Lincoln-Way East wouldn't either. But that was all the Griffins would need in the Class 8A state championship game at a wet and windy Huskie Stadium to close out the 2019 season.

AJ Henning's 56-yard touchdown run in third quarter was the breakthrough moment for the state champions, who also felt they had a heck of a defense entering the game, despite Warren getting most of the attention.

"We try not to get involved in the rat poison and stuff, but sometimes you have to keep in that back of your mind," defensive end Sean McLaughlin said. "They are really good team, and I'm not taking anything away from them, but we know that we had the best defense in the state. We were more well-rounded and we had more speed and we just went out and proved it."

Dominic Dzioban's leg was the other major difference in the game. The Lincoln-Way East kicker made field goals from 52 and 46 yards in the first half to give the Griffins the lead.

In the end, the team we had ranked No. 2 in our power rankings all season long ended the day as the champions of the state's largest class.

Links:

See all of our coverage from the 8A state title game here.

Photo store: Purchase any of our Lincoln-Way East football photos here