Football looks to shatter expectations ahead of conference play

Gordon Redfield-Gale, Staff Writer

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After hosting their first home playoff game in seven years, the football team is fresh off of a strong season.

After they graduated starters such as Michael Axelrood, Malik Ross and Ben Tarpey, a down year was expected. However, the combination of a fantastic group of sophomores and the leadership of returning members has this team ready to shatter expectations. 

“I’m looking forward to surprising everyone in the state,” senior captain Aidan McMahon said. “We like playing the role of the underdog, and we are going to thrive in that position.”

McMahon, now one of the leaders of the squad, has the additional duty of setting a positive example for his younger teammates. 

“I get the guys on the sideline involved in the game, and I keep everyone focused. I feel that I have to establish what it [means] to be an ETHS Wildkit football player.”

The leadership of experienced members has made a profound impact on the young team. Sophomores Mark “MJ” Cannon, Sebastian Cheeks, Sean Cruz and Kamau Ransom have quickly grown into starring roles under the tutelage of the upperclassmen and coaches. 

Cruz is the starting quarterback in his first year with the team, a testament to his hard work and talent.

“I’ve improved so much,” Cruz said. “The veterans are great guys and they are amazing teachers.”

This talented group of underclassmen are a key component to the success of the team, as is senior running back Quadre Nicholson, who is sidelined with a hip injury to begin the season. 

While his injury is significant, it will not be enough to derail this team. With junior Tyron Inniss and senior Judel Vilus filling in for Nicholson, this resilient team should be able to take care of business in the case of any injury. 

“We’ve created an unbreakable brotherhood, and we are just looking to have fun on the field and win some games,” Cruz said.

The Kits will look to add another exciting win in tonight’s homecoming game against Glenbrook North at 7:30 p.m. on Murney-Lazier Field.