Wildkit football won’t suck this year


For the past three years our football team has been disappointing, but I know that this year things will be different.

Inspired by the beloved defensive Coach Steve King who passed away last year, the football team has adopted a new motto of  “One pack. One goal.” to commemorate King’s philosophy that “the strength of the wolf is the pack.” The Kits look to use King’s philosophy as fuel to become more of a family throughout the season.

At the annual Illinois Wesleyan team retreat in Bloomington, the players got a chance to genuinely know their teammates.  One highlight was when the team stayed up in the lobby until 1:30 a.m. sharing two vital pieces of information: who they are and why they play football. I can imagine that such a deep conversation was a bonding experience that left the players feeling quite vulnerable towards one another. You really can’t argue with the fact that the team’s chemistry with be stronger on and off the field.

Not only are the players more familiar with one another, they are also more familiar with the coaching staff. This year head coach Mike “Buzz” Burzawa hired new varsity coaches from the lower levels of the program instead of from outside of the program.  Another plus, players know what to expect from the coaches, and even veteran coaches know what to expect from the first year coaches.

During all my years at Evanston, we have not had a successful football team. To put it bluntly, last year we were terrible, finishing with a 3-6 record (counting a Waukegan forfeit), and the two years before that we were mediocre, finishing with a 5-5 record both years.

Last season perennial state powerhouse Maine South choked in the playoffs and were accompanied by New Trier, Glenbrook South, and even Niles West—yes, you read that correctly, even Niles West—most of whom we lost to by two touchdowns or more. The bad news is that none of these teams show any signs of slowing down. The good news is that we’re on the rise.

This season we are running a spread offense without a tight end and a 4-2-5 on defense.  Both of these are adjustments designed so that our personnel are playing to their strengths on the field.

You have probably heard of our big name Division One commits: Defensive end Naquan Jones from Michigan State, quarterback Matt Little from Western Michigan, and defensive back Travion Banks from Miami of Ohio. These commits will lead the team on their respective sides of the ball.

All together I think the improved team chemistry rather than the individual talent will lead our football team to the most successful season during my time at ETHS.