It is that time again in Evanston: Sunny skies and heavy humidity mean the Evanston Township High School football team is ready to kick off a new year of Wildkit sports.
After a disappointing 2-7 season in 2008, the Wildkits are looking to bounce back, and this time they bring a new crop of young talent.
Head Coach Mike Burzawa is entering his second season at the helm, and it seems as though he still has decisions to make in filling some positions – and that it might take until the season opener to see who is playing where.
The biggest question is for the quarterback position, where it appears four players are vying for the spot. The main two contenders are seniors George Sorenson and Kevin Rosinski, both of whom started for Evanston last season after then-starter David Hirsch sustained an injury that cost him that season.
Both Sorenson and Rosinski showed Coach Burzawa what they could do last season. When Sorenson himself went down with an injury, Rosinski had to switch from his regular position as linebacker to quarterback. Rosinski stepped up and had some solid performances against Niles West and in the season-ending victory against Waukegan.
It seems Rosinski is now squarely focused on the quarterback spot. He said he believes he is getting better with each day of practice. “Now my arm’s gotten a little stronger and I’m better at reading defenses. The most important thing is that I’m not rushing things, not over-thinking out there. I’m not sure where I’m going to end up, on offense or on defense. I’ll play wherever they need me most,” he told the RoundTable.
Although many think Rosinski is the front-runner because of his playing time last year, Coach Burzawa says the competition is even, and a decision will not be made until the week before their season-opener against Loyola.
“We have some excellent competition at that position, and the next couple of weeks will be important for all of them. It’s a unique situation when you have four guys who can play there. They all have different strengths and different weaknesses,” Coach Burzawa said.
Burzawa is trying to find the best man for the starting spot, one who can carry the offense and not bring so many worries to the most crucial position on the field. “Right now it’s wide open. We’ll see who is the most efficient at running the offense, and it will probably come down to who is the best leader in that group. We’re trying to find the guy who is both mentally and fundamentally sound,” the coach said.
Rounding out the whole competition at quarterback position are juniors Thomas Rourke and Byron Dawkins, who can make some noise as training camp winds down to the time that Coach Burzawa will name his whole starting roster.
Another position that Evanston fans will want to pay attention to is the running back spot. Evanston is bringing a strong backfield into this season, including senior tailbacks Darrell Sheppard, Chevy Daley and Antonio Sanders. Sheppard with his natural speed and power, is the standout. The other tailbacks, Daley and Sanders, provide a dangerous duo behind Sheppard, one that can wear down defenses when any one of them goes down or needs to play another position if needed.
Rounding out the offense is the wide receiver spot, where senior Josh Perryman is due for his long awaited break-out year, ever since he joined the team as a sophomore. Perryman is impressing many Evanston fans in training camp with his much-improved route-running and break speed that will give the starting quarterback a comfortable target to throw to. Other wide receivers who will make an impact are seniors Greg Otte and Jordan Fleps along with up-and-coming juniors Andres Rivera-Thompson and Andrew Hampton.
Many questions throughout the past years have focused on Evanston’s defense. Some impact players looking to step up on the defensive backs position include junior Mark Williams and Chevy Daley. Senior Desmen Williams, who has been a defensive end the past two seasons, is being considered for a switch to the safety spot, due to his size and much-increased and impressive speed.
Evanston will play their first game against Loyola under the lights on Aug. 28, with a sell-out crowd expected. Hopefully, the Kits can start the season off with a victory, with all of Evanston watching, against a very tough Loyola team.