The Evanston Township High School football team got off to a solid start as they beat Proviso West 42-21 on Aug. 28 in the season opener at Lazier Field in Evanston.
The Kits were led by senior quarterback Matt Little, who threw for a school record five touchdown passes while going 13-of-19 for 217 yards in the victory. Matt’s performance broke the previous ETHS record of four touchdown throws by Marcus White who did it twice in 1994, followed most recently by Bryan Kelly in 2003. Outside of hitting senior receiver Travion Banks four times for scores, Matt also connected with junior Elyjah Williams from six yards out. The Kits’ other touchdown came courtesy of senior running back Micquel Roseman, who scored from eight yards out early in the second quarter.
Regarding Matt’s performance, head coach Mike Burzawa said, “I thought our offense clicked on all cylinders, Matt did a very good job as our general out there leading the way and he was sharp in the passing game with [an approximate] 70 percent completion rate, and he read the defense well, so he did a good job.”
In addition to Matt’s big night, Travion had a big night as well, catching eight passes for 166 yards. Four of Travion’s catches were for touchdowns, from distances of 17, 45, 24 and 17 yards out. “Travion had an excellent game against Proviso West,” said Coach Burzawa. “He is an all-purpose type of player for us where we can do different things with him on offense.” The Coach explained, “Defensively he is our lock-down cornerback and he is very dangerous in the return game. When we were able to give him the ball, he made the catches and Matt was able to deliver some perfect strikes in there.”
The Kits looked to make it two victories in a row when they took on Notre Dame on Sept. 4 in the inaugural football matchup between the two teams. However, the Kits fell by a score of 48-21.
Trailing 21-14 late in the second quarter, Matt took a snap and handed the ball off to Travion, who dropped back to pass. But unfortunately, his pass was intercepted and the Dons made the Kits pay as they scored a touchdown with just over a minute remaining in the half. On the ensuing possession, the Kits were forced to punt it back to the Dons after a three-and-out. The Dons had the ball with 12 seconds remaining. After completing a six yard pass on the first play of the drive, Dons’ quarterback Tyler Tsagalis threw up a desperation pass as time expired and Tim Simon caught the pass for a touchdown, giving the Dons a commanding 35-14 lead heading into halftime after a successful two-point conversion. In the second half the Kits could only muster one more score, a 69-yard punt return by Travion in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we let the game get away from us a little bit before [halftime],” said Coach Burzawa. “Against Proviso West, we were able to close out the half with a score, a goal line stand, and against Notre Dame, it was just the opposite.” The Coach continued, “We did not finish the half and it was a 21-14 game and everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. We were not able to move the ball in the last two minutes and we gave up two scores and we had a turnover, so that had a big momentum shift in the football game and we were not able to bounce back.”
Next up, they will look to get back into the win column against Central Suburban League Conference foe Glenbrook North on Sept. 11 in Northbrook. Regarding GBN, Coach Burzawa said, “We will be challenged again [as] we go right back [against] CSL North power Glenbrook North on the road [on] Friday night, so that is going to be another enormous challenge.” From there, the Kits return home to take on Maine East on Sept. 18 as part of Homecoming at Lazier Field.