After beating Waukegan on Sept. 29, the Evanston Township High School football team hoped to carry the momentum gained from that game into a matchup with Maine South, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, on Oct. 6 at Lazier Field in Evanston.
Unfortunately for the Wildkits, they were unable to upset the top team as they fell to the Hawks, 31-21, as part of Homecoming at ETHS. The Kits held a, 14-13, lead with four and a half minutes left in the third quarter but the Hawks took the lead when they scored with 3 minutes and 30 seconds left. The Hawks added the two-point conversion. The Kits were down 21-14.
On the ensuing drive, they bounced right back, tying it when junior quarterback Chris Little found junior receiver Alex Zineddine in the end zone from two yards out. The pair connected four plays earlier on a fourth and long situation. That play gave the Kits first and goal from the five yard-line, which led to the score. The touchdown tied the game at 21-21 with 9 minutes and 15 seconds remaining.
The Hawks answered with a 30-yard field goal gaining a lead with just over five minutes left, 24-21. On the Kits’ next possession, the Hawks recovered a fumble deep in Kit territory but the Kits defense held the Hawks out of the end zone and regained possession after the visitors turned the ball over on downs at the five yard-line with three and a half minutes left.
But the Kits were unable to cash in on the turnover as they turned the ball back over on downs with two minutes left. From there, the Hawks added another touchdown to seal the game, handing the Kits a, 31-21, defeat. With the loss, the Kits fell to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in Central Suburban League South Conference play.
“I am extremely proud of our entire football team. We played our hearts out. We played with passion and we played with excitement and we had Maine South, the champs, on the ropes,” said head coach Mike Burzawa. “We just have to eliminate some of the mistakes. But our defense was solid. Coachs King and Hall had a great game plan and the kids bought in. This is the type of effort we need the rest of the way.”
Even though the Kits came up a bit short, Coach Burzawa said he was pleased with his team’s overall performance, especially on the defensive side of the ball. “Our defense was solid, we were physical. Offensively, we made big plays. It’s just a little bit of the basics, making sure you hold onto the football and take care of things. Bottom line is you win as a team and lose as a team and we have to stay together right now, that’s the most important thing.”
The coach added, “We are 4-3 and it’s a two-week season. We have New Trier (on Oct. 12) and Niles West (on Oct. 19) remaining. Both are teams with good records and it (New Trier) is a great rivalry. (But) It is how you finish and hopefully we are going to peak at the right time.”
The Kits are one victory shy of being eligible to make the playoffs. So if they are able to finish strong, look for them to be playing postseason football in late October.