After winning its first four games of the season, the Evanston Township High School football team went for a fifth straight victory when they took on Maine South on Sept. 21. But unfortunately the Wildkits were unable to get past the Hawks, as they fell in a close contest by a score of 21-13.
In that game, halfback Quadre Nicholson rushed 22 times for 86 yards and scored a touchdown, and quarterback Ben Tarpey threw for 250 yards and a touchdown to lead the Kits’ offensive attack. A victory against the Hawks would have been the first time the Kits have beaten their Central Suburban League South rivals since 1999. With the defeat, the Kits fell to 4-1 overall.
The Kits looked to bounce back against arch-rival New Trier when they visited the Trevians on Sept. 28 in Northfield. But the Kits came up short once again, as they fell by a score of 35-28. New Trier struck first after Ben’s pass was intercepted and taken in for a touchdown with 7:36 remaining in the first quarter. The Kits made it 7-6 when running back Collin Olla-Chatman took it in from one yard out with 53 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Trevians extended their lead to 14-6 as they scored with four seconds remaining in the first quarter and then 21-6 with 9:52 left in the second. But the Kits made it 21-12 when Colin ran it in from one yard out with 50 seconds to go in the third. That score capped a 22 play, 88 yard drive.
The teams then traded touchdowns from there to make it 28-20 – the Kits’ score coming when Ben connected with receiver Michael Axelrood on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 8:31 left.
With 4:58 remaining, the Trevians scored once again to make it 35-20. But on their ensuing possession, the Kits drove 47 yards to score, Quadre taking it in from one-yard out to get the Kits to within a touchdown at 35-28, ( converting on the two point try) with 3:29 remaining. The Kits went for the onside kick, but it was recovered by New Trier, which allowed the Trevians to escape with the victory. With the loss, the Kits fell to 4-2 overall.
“I think as a team, we did not play up to how we could play,” said a visibly disappointed Quadre. “We just have to play hard, play as a team and play how we played when we have won before [in order to bounce back next game].”
Coach Mike Burzawa offered similar thoughts, saying, “The kids played hard; we just did not put it together in the first half.”
The Coach added, “I do not know what it was, we just did not come out and execute well [in the first half], but we woke up in the second half and played our brand of football but it was too late and we had too many penalties to overcome and we have to be more disciplined.”
Regarding the positives they can take away from this game moving forward, Coach Burzawa said, “Collin did a nice job for us in there, punching it in from short yardage. He is a physical football player and he has a lot of heart. The Coach added, “We [also] never quit. We fought to the end, but it is just a disappointing loss. We executed better in the second half and it showed, but we just did not take care of the little things, we had some drops, and we just did not get the job done.”
Next up, the Kits will look to get back in the win column and capture its fifth victory and become playoff eligible against Niles West on Oct. 5 at Lazier Field in Evanston in the home finale. Then they visit Glenbrook South on Oct. 12 and Niles North on Oct. 19 to close out the regular season.