Football struggles to find its footing, loses two straight

After a long wait from 2019, ETHS football is finally back to playing in the fall.

In the season opener on Aug. 27, the Wildkits defeated the Indian Trail Hawks, 26-6, in Kenosha, Wis.. The team demonstrated great chemistry throughout the game. In total, junior quarterback Dylan Groff completed 83 passing yards, including a 38-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Kamau Ramson in the first quarter, and even ran for some yardage of his own, the most notable of which being an 11-yard run in the second. 

Groff’s touchdown pass to Ransom in the first, combined with a one-yard touchdown run from senior Giovanni Pryor, and a pair of extra points and 27-yard field goals from senior kicker Ben Barney in the first and second saw the Kits accumulate a 20-0 lead going into a halftimea gap from which the Hawks (2-3) were never able to recover. 

“The Indian Trail game was a good team win. Every part of the team was playing well, and we were able to execute very well on offense,” says Groff.

The following week at home, the Kits picked up their first loss upon being defeated by the Libertyville Wildcats, 32-13. Evanston’s defense struggled early that night, letting up a 35-yard run, a 65-yard run for a touchdown, and a 31-yard touchdown pass all in the first half. Down 16-7 at halftime, the Kits’ hopes for a comeback diminished after Libertyville (3-0) recovered a fumble at the start of the third, and when two 20-plus yard throws in the third and fourth were given up. Although Evanston tried its best to fight back, the team just wasn’t quite able to recover from the hole they were in.

“After the Libertyville game, we had to take a step back,” Groff affirmed. 

Ultimately, this loss prompted the Kits, 1-1 at this point, to restructure their offensive line going into the Sept. 10 contest against Palatine. Based on records alone, it seemed as if Evanston had the upper hand going into this occasion, but Groff made clear that Palatine was not to be underestimated.

“Although Palatine is 0-2, they’re still gonna be a really good team that’s gonna be tough as nails. We have to execute well in all areas in order to win,” said Groff the day before the match.

But in the end, things just didn’t turn out the way the records predicted; the Pirates (1-2) blew out the Wildkits, 43-0. In future games, Evanston will look to up the pressure on defense and improve their runs on offense, which haven’t gained them as much yardage as compared to passing plays. If one thing is for sure though, further changes will need to be made if the Wildkits hope to finish the season with a winning record.