Nicholson pushes Kits past Wheaton North


Photo courtesy of Ann Tarpey

Junior Quadre Nicholson speeds past Wheaton North defenders on his way to a three touchdown night.

Chris Werner, Sports Editor

On Friday night, ETHS inducted their 2018 athletic hall of fame class as well as honored legendary coach Murney Lazier. The team put on a performance that Lazier would’ve enjoyed.

After a sluggish first quarter, Evanston hit their stride in the second quarter and never looked back.

The 27-13 win over the Wheaton North Falcons was a promising start for Evanston and a record-setting game for star junior running back Quadre Nicholson.

Nicholson finished with a career-high 204 rushing yards and three touchdowns, only one less than his total for all of last season. He averaged more than seven yards per attempt.

“Quadre settled in after the first quarter,” coach Mike Burzawa said. “He got into a rhythm after that. We were being physical up front and created cutback lanes for him. That’s how we play.”

Burzawa knew that winning the line of scrimmage would be a key to success for his team this season. In the season opener, that proved to be the case.

Aside from opening holes for Nicholson, the offensive line also protected senior quarterback Ben Tarpey in the first start of his career.

“I love the O-line,” Tarpey said. “They are the key to our offense. Our offense is nothing without them. They played big tonight and that’s why our offense played big.”

Tarpey performed well in his much anticipated debut as the starter, completing 14 of 22 passes, finishing with 125 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.

“I’ve been waiting for this ever since I was in fifth grade so to get out here with the guys on a Friday night like this against a powerhouse like Wheaton North and get a big ‘W,’ it was the most fun I’ve had in all of high school,” Tarpey explained

The defensive line also came to play as they put relentless pressure on Wheaton North quarterback Nathan Love, who only completed 52 percent of his passes, and held the Falcons to 74 total rushing yards.

The defensive backfield was also expected to be a strength for Evanston this year and they did not disappoint on opening night as seniors Michael Axelrood, Trenton Bertrand and Gerrad Lamourall had interceptions. Axelrood also contributed 63 yards receiving.

“Our defensive staff came up with ‘turnover Tuesday,’ so it’s something we work on,” Burzawa said. “We’ve got some veteran guys back there that attack the ball and they made some plays. Those turnovers were obviously huge in holding our lead.”

The Kits got out to a 20-6 lead at halftime on touchdown runs of 15 and one yards from Nicholson as well as a 12-yard pass into the end zone from Tarpey to sophomore tight end Zach Myers. Nicholson added his third touchdown of the night from three yards out with 6:11 left in the third quarter.

Evanston will be at home again next Friday to face Chicago Taft at 7:30. ETHS cruised past the Eagles last year, winning 38-12.