Four-game winning streak propels football

After facing a difficult stretch, including its worst loss in the last six years, ETHS football entered the middle of September looking to bounce back—and get the bounce back in its step.

Over the last four contests, the Wildkits have done just that, taking in victories over Fremd, New Trier in a Homecoming contest, Niles West and Glenbrook North.

Last Friday night, on an evening where former ETHS student and basketball player Ryan Bost was honored a year after his passing, the Kits (5-2, 3-0 CSL) stomped out any hope of a Glenbrook North (2-5, 0-3) upset early. Two first-half touchdown catches by senior Kamau Ransom helped put the game out of reach early for Evanston, who went into half up, 27-3. The Orange and Blue went on to win the contest handily, 41-10. On the way, Evanston also inches towards playoff eligibility. 

In the Sept. 17 game against Fremd (1-6 currently), ETHS won by a score of 20-17. The Kits started off the game strong, recovering a fumble within the first five minutes. Though Fremd gave itself an early lead with a touchdown at the end of the first, Evanston was prepared to fight back. The Kits scored their first points off a 1-yard run by senior running back Giovanni Pryor. Unfortunately, the Orange and Blue missed the extra point, setting the score at 7-6. With another touchdown by Pryor as well as a passing touchdown thrown by junior quarterback Dylan Groff in the second half, the deal was sealed, as Evanston had accumulated a 19-10 lead from which Fremd could not recover.

“We were more effective when we ran the football and we did a better job on defense stopping the run, ” said varsity football head coach Mike Burzawa after the game. “Proud of the kids and coaches for bouncing back.” 

In their Homecoming game on Sep. 24 against New Trier (4-3, 1-2), the Wildkits defeated their rivals for the first time in 11 years, winning 38-24. Senior running back-linebacker combo Sebastian Cheeks proved to be very much missed in his second game back from injury as he carried the ball 11 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. On the first play of the game however, Groff completed a 52-yard pass to Ransom for a touchdown. Early in the second quarter, Cheeks completed a 10-yard touchdown run, and later on, a 50-yard run; which set the score at 21-7. With multiple other 30-plus yard passes and a few more touchdowns to boot, the Kits left Lazier with a victory on Homecoming.

“We were able to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, and [Cheeks] makes a difference. He’s an impact player,” said Burzawa of what Cheeks’ return meant for the team. 

Continuing its hot streak, ETHS won its Oct. 1 game against Niles West, by a blowout score of 49-0. 

This time, senior running back Giovanni Pryor was the star of the show, carrying 12 times for a total of 87 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns. Along with their offense, the Wildkits stood out defensively, recovering multiple fumbles and holding Niles West to only 150 total yards on offense. 

To start the game, Pryor scored on a 10-yard run, giving ETHS the lead. The Kits continued their path to a blowout with Cheeks scoring on an 8-yard run. Along with scoring on runs, the Wildkits did very well passing wise, with Groff completing 10-11 passes—two of them for touchdowns. With a 35-0 lead at halftime, ETHS opted to put in its reserves, a somewhat risky bet that ultimately proved to be a good decision. One reserve, senior running back Vorn Ellis, scored his first varsity touchdown, and on a 68-yard run which proved to be the final blow for Niles West. 

“ [Guys are] stepping up and earning spots, so there’s been a lot of bright spots [recently],”  opined Coach Burzawa “We’re starting to gel, we’re starting to come together, and we’re starting to care about each other.” 

With two games left in the regular season, Evanston is in search of a Central Suburban League South Conference championship. Its biggest remaining barrier is Maine South, who the Kits will face on the road tonight at 7:30 p.m.. The contest against the Hawks (6-1, 3-0) will likely determine the winner of the CSL South.