The Evanston Township High School football team hoped to start the 2016 season on a high note when they took on Hubbard on Aug. 26 in the season opener.
The Wildkits did just that as they beat the Greyhounds by a score of 28-13 at Lazier Field in Evanston. In that game senior Ben Easington led the Kits with 115 rushing yards on 15 carries, [the first of which resulted in a 51-yard gain] and scored two touchdowns.
Then on Sept. 2 the Kits took on Foreman at Lazier Field and prevailed once again by a score of 49-8. After a botched Foreman punt gave the Kits the ball at the Foreman five yard line, on the first play of the drive, Ben took it in for a touchdown, giving the Kits a 7-0 lead with 10:13 left in the first quarter. Then after forcing a Foreman punt on the next possession, Ben made it a 14-0 game when he took it 25 yards for a touchdown with 8:59 left in the quarter.
The Kits extended the lead to 35-0 with 2:07 left in the first quarter after junior quarterback Drew Dawkins connected with senior Derell Pruitt from 11 yards out followed by touchdown runs of four and eight yards by freshman running back Quadre Nicholson. At that point, head coach Mike Burzawa was able to insert his second stringers into the game as the Kits cruised to victory.
“Defensively, we [got] to the ball, special teams [played] well, [and] that is two games now at home where we came out and delivered the first punch, so that was good,” said Coach Burzawa. “The kids played hard. The goal this week was to develop depth and create more competition in practice, because that is what we need. We need guys to step up.” The Coach continued, “In terms of playing Foreman, they had an opportunity to get a lot of reps, so that was good. We challenged the kids because we have to get more guys contributing. We could get better with our rotations, and for that to happen, we have to have guys step up so they can play on Friday nights.” The Coach continued, “So it was exciting to see them compete and get better. The goal this week was [also] to get some guys back healthy and get stronger as a football team and not take any steps back, so that is what we were able to do.”
The Kits certainly had a number of players step up against Foreman as Ben rushed for 30 yards and two touchdowns, while Quadre finished with 115 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. “[Ben] is running hard, and it all starts up front. He will be the first one to tell you that. So it was nice to see him see some daylight and get through there and he is a downhill, power runner so it is nice to see when he can do that,” said Coach Burzawa. “Quadre was [also] able to contribute, he had some [nice] carries. And our second string quarterback [junior] Charlie Lindland, he had a great week of practice. So the guys were able to get some momentum and get their feet under them a little bit.”
Coach Burzawa was also pleased with his team’s ability to build a large lead early on and coast to victory. “It was what we wanted,” said the Coach. “We had an expectation that we wanted to come out and be physical and the kids did that from the onset, so we were happy with that.”
Next up, the Kits will try to make it three straight victories to start the season when they visit Conant on Sept. 9. From there, they return home to take on Barrington on Sept. 16. “It is going to be a big test,” said Coach Burzawa regarding Conant. “They have been on the road [the first two weeks], so we are going into their home opener, so we know it will be a big challenge with Conant and then Barrington here [in Evanston].”