The Evanston Township High School football team gave the crowd lots to cheer about on Homecoming Oct. 13. They beat their Central Suburban League Conference foe, Glenbrook South, 45-20.
The Kits got on the board first when senior quarterback Drew Dawkins hit junior Michael Axelrood for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter. On the ensuing possession, the Titans answered the Kits’ score with a touchdown of their own with 3:28 remaining. The point after try was no good, making the score 7-6.
From there, the Kits put the game out of reach, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal on their next four possessions to take a 31-6 lead into the half. Those scores included a 38-yard run by sophomore Quadre Nicholson, a 60-yard pass from Drew to junior Malik Ross, an 80-yard touchdown run by Drew, and a 32-yard field goal by Charlie Lindland.
To open the second half, Drew found Malik once again for a 49-yard score, extending the lead to 38-6 with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter. At that point it seemed like the game was well in hand, but the Titans did not back down, battling back to 38-20 with touchdowns at the 1:02 mark in the third and 9:45 remaining in the fourth. Drew then erased any doubt about the game, hitting pay dirt after taking it in from 14 yards out, sealing the victory for the Kits with a 45-20 lead.
Drew led the way, throwing for three touchdowns and running for two more. When asked to evaluate his performance, he said, “I felt like this was one of my best games. We needed this win. Our game plan was to go out and execute as much as possible and keep the tempo [and] we had to start winning out so we can make the playoffs.”
With the victory the Kits improved to 5-3 overall, and they can guarantee a playoff spot with a win against Niles North in the season finale on Oct. 20. But if the Kits finish with five wins, it will be up to the Illinois High School Association playoff selection committee to determine their postseason fate.
Regarding the play of his starting quarterback, head coach Mike Burzawa said, “Drew is our leader. He is our guy and everything goes through him for us offensively. …So he came out and he was efficient in the air and on the ground and our line did a great job protecting him and giving him time and our receivers did the job. So I just thought we executed at a high level.”
The offense was particularly effective, scoring on seven of their nine drives.
“We scored on all five possessions in the first half, and that was good,” said Coach Burzawa regarding the offensive performance.
“We wanted to come out and dictate our style of football and we were able to do that. GBS is a heck of a football team but tonight was our night,” the Coach added.
Malik also had a big game, as he caught two touchdown passes on offense and intercepted three passes on the defensive side of the ball. “[Malik] played a big game for us. He came out of nowhere in the corner on that [first] interception and that was a turning point as it was 14-6 at that point. He [also] had some explosive plays on offense and our players stepped up. I thought we executed at a high level, and coach [Eddie] Conley and our defensive staff did a very good job of stopping the run, getting off the field [which is] something we have struggled with,” explained Coach Burzawa. “But Malik made explosive plays and impact plays and he is an impact player for us and a two-year starter as a junior and playing on both sides of the ball, so I am proud of him and I am proud of the whole team.”
Next up is the regular season finale against Niles North on Oct. 20 at Lazier Field. Regarding that matchup, the Coach said, “We got Niles North coming back full strength. Every time we play Niles North it is a battle down to the final minute, so we know it will be a tough game.”