The more touches Travian Banks gets on offense for Evanston’s football team this fall, the longer opposing defensive coordinators will be up late, losing sleep and figuring out how to try to deal with him.
Banks exploded for a school record-tying four touchdown receptions and helped the Wildkits spank Proviso West 42-21 in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Lazier Field.
The senior standout, who was limited to only making plays on one side of the ball most of last year due to an Achilles problem, showed he hasn’t forgotten how to deliver on offense. He caught 8 passes for 166 yards and his TD grabs covering 17, 45, 24 and 17 yards equaled the ETHS school mark of four receiving scores set by Brandon Hilliard in 2014 in a loss to New Trier.
Banks also recovered a fumble, accounting for one of four turnovers by the visitors, and set up another score when he caught a 44-yard bomb from quarterback Matt Little (13-of-19 for 217 yards, 5 TDs). Little’s 6-yard scoring pass to Elyjah Williams added up to a school single game record for him as well, eclipsing the 4 TD tosses by Marcus White (twice in the 1994 season) and Bryan Kelly (2003).
“Tray is a guy who brings explosive plays to our offense,” said Evanston coach Mike Burzawa. “And he made some big plays tonight. He’s really quite an all-purpose player.
“Proviso West got a big play on us early, but our offense came back and really responded. We played a very good first half. I thought a key point in the game was when we were up 21-14 and we were able to finish off another drive, and then had a goal line stand. That’s what good football teams do, finish off a half like that. I’m very proud of our guys. This is a good Week 1 victory.”
Banks was burned individually on the second play of the game when Proviso star receiver Jashaun Steward took a pass from quarterback Dennis Bryan Jr. (17-of-33, 273 yards, 2 TDs) 76 yards to paydirt, dashing down the right sideline.
Touchdowns by Banks (17-yard reception) and Micquel Roseman (8-yard run) pulled Evanston even at 14-14 early in the second quarter. It stayed that way until Banks caught a short pass from Little, eluded one defender and then broke two tackles on his way to complete a 45-yard scoring play down the sideline with 7 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first half.
After a punt, the Kits caught a break when a Proviso defender tried to jump another short route by Banks — and missed. He made the visitors play with another scoring dash, this one covering 24 yards.
The Panthers drove down to the Evanston 8, but linebacker Jalan Jenkins stopped running back William Mojica for a 5-yard loss and Bryant missed on passes on 3rd and 4th down to end the threat.
Evanston opened the second half with a 76-yard scoring drive that culminated in Little’s pass to Williams. Banks added his fourth TD of the night with 4:02 remaining to close out the scoring.