After a tough and hard-fought loss against Loyola two weeks ago, head football coach Mike Burzawa told his team to make that same effort against Hubbard the following week. His players took that to heart.
Evanston first faced off against Hubbard, the same team that embarrassed the Kits with over 300 yards rushing last year, and defeated them. Coach Burzawa knew this time his team’s main focus had to be defense, to try and stop Hubbard’s massive running game.
Once again Memorial Stadium was packed full of Wildkit football fans eager to see their team step up after a disappointing loss the week before. After an injury sustained by junior Byron Dawkins, starting quarterback in the first game, Tommy Rorke was asked to step in as quarterback and start the second game — and hopefully bring a much-needed jolt to the offense. But instead of the quarterback, it was the running back position that gave Evanston an early boost. In only the second play of offense for Evanston, junior Rendell Massie, who scored from 65 yards the week before, scored on a huge burst from 68 yards to quickly put Evanston up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Shortly after that, the Hubbard team scored on a long 56-yard run of their own that brought the score to 6-7. They failed to make a 2-point conversion, and Evanston was up by 1 point going into the second quarter.
In the second period, Coach Burzawa made a surprising move on offense by switching in Kevin Rosinski as quarterback; the senior started six games in the quarterback position last year. It seemed as though Evanston’s offense became more potent and aggressive under Rosinski. The change was evident when Rosinski’s first pass of the game — a 25-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Josh Perryman and Evanston’s first passing touchdown of the season — put Evanston up 14-6 going into halftime.
In the start of the second half, Evanston’s defense stepped up and forced Hubbard’s quarterback, sophomore Quincy Skanes, to make errand throws and toss up floating passes. To add to the fantastic defensive showing by Evanston, the offense kept in rhythm and Rosinski continued to impress as he drove Evanston down the field on seemingly every drive. In the middle of the third quarter, Massie once again capped off a great drive by running in another touchdown, this time from 9 yards, putting Evanston up by 15.
One of the biggest stories of this game was the dominance of Evanston’s defense, that had struggled a bit in the first game against Loyola, but shut down Hubbard’s offense most of the night. One of the stars of the game was Jeffery Brown, who had a great game on both sides of the ball. On defense Brown had nine tackles with four of them for a loss; on offense he provided solid blocking. Overall the Kits gave up 135 yards rushing and only six first downs in possibly the best defensive performance since Burzawa took over. Evanston prevailed 21-6 and improved their record to 1-1.
The next week, Evanston faced Niles North Vikings, who also came in with an even 1-1 record. Both teams fought it out until the end, but with an unfavorable result for the Wildkits.
Early in the game it seemed there was one man in particular Evanston could not stop – Viking junior wide receiver Sunil Rehmani, who caught three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Mike Granato. The Vikings opened the scoring late in the first half with a 10-yard pass from Granato to Rehman, then the two did not connect until Granato hit him again from 26 yards, and a 43-yarder just five minutes later to put the Vikings up 21-7. Evanston’s lone score until the fourth quarter was once again Massie in the third quarter from 32 yards away. With only 16 seconds left, Rosinski threw a 3-yard touchdown to Perryman to bring the final score to 21-14.
Evanston, who now carries a 1-2 record, will now face off against Deerfield tomorrow night in Lazier Field and will hopefully play as tough as they have so far — with better results.