After tasting defeat for the first time in a 20-10 loss to Highland Park on Sept. 12, the Evanston Township High School football team looked to get back in the win column against Maine West on Sept. 20. They did just that, rolling past Maine West, 42-21, on Sept. 20 at Lazier Field in Evanston.
The Kits built an early 28-0 lead thanks to a 57-yard touchdown run by running back Maalik Todd on the Kits’ second play of the game, followed by two touchdown passes from quarterback Chris Little to wide receiver Rei Gaines. From there, the defense forced a turnover that led to another Kits’ score and a 28-0 lead. At that point, the Kits were in complete control of the game and cruised to their third victory of the season, improving to 3-1 overall.
Little led the Kits’ attack, completing 13 of 22 passes for a total 128 yards and three touchdowns. Gaines had three catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns. "Chris had a good evening. He was 11 for 13 in the first half. With a high completion percentage, we were able to get some big plays," said head coach Mike Burzawa. "He was efficient in the passing game and we are very happy with Chris’ performance [in the first] four games. He is making good decisions and doing a very nice job as our leader so far."
Even though his team came away with a 21-point victory, Coach Burzawa knows there is work to be done as the Kits enter the conference portion of their schedule. "The areas of concern are obviously the penalties. We had eight penalties in the first half [and 13 totaling 122 yards for the game against Maine West] and those really hindered our offense," said the Coach. "So we have to be more disciplined and make smarter decisions when we are on the field. A couple of them really hurt us as we had first and goal on one of them, and the other was a defensive touchdown that was called back. So we have got to clean those things up if we want to be successful in the [Central Suburban League South Conference]."
Coach Burzawa added, "This is a point [in the season] where we are going to find out a lot about ourselves as we get into the conference [portion of the schedule]. We are pleased with our 3-1 start, but the bottom line is every body’s record is 0-0 right now entering division play."
Regarding the conference as a whole, Burzawa acknowledges that all of the teams are currently playing quality football, which should make for an exciting race to the conference championship this year. "Everybody [in conference] is playing real good ball. Niles West is 4-0, and that is our conference opener. We know that is going to be a huge challenge. The whole league is playing really well, [so] it is going to be interesting this year in the CSL South."
For the Kits to be successful in the second half of the season, Coach Burzawa feels his team has to limit the penalties and play with more discipline. "We have to clean up things on offense, defense, and special teams, and be more disciplined when we are on the field. We have got to eliminate the penalties," he said. "If we do not eliminate the penalties on offense, then we are going to struggle. It is as simple as that. But if we can be more disciplined and clean up our penalties, we can put ourselves in a good spot. But if not, we are going to struggle."
Next up, the Kits open the CSL South portion of the schedule against Niles West Wolves on Sept. 28. That game is followed by a matchup with Glenbrook South on Oct. 4 in Evanston. Regarding Niles West, Coach Burzawa said, "They are well-coached and they do a lot of different things [well]. [Niles West head coach] Scotty [Baum] is doing an awesome job over there. Every year that we play them, it is a tough, physical football game, and we know we are going to have our hands full going to Niles this weekend."