‘All the little things:’ Friendship fuels football rebuild


Marco Roman

Photo courtesy of Eddie Roman

Football season has officially started. 

Lazier field is packed and Evanston fans are excited to see what this year’s team has to offer, as the squad will feature many new faces. Last season, the Kits had their various ups and downs, but overall finished the regular season strong with a 6-3 record. While Evanston was confident going into playoffs, the team’s hopes for a state berth were crushed after a tough 23-13 loss against Plainfield North in the first round.

“It was disappointing, everyone wants to win their last game. That’s the goal of every team,” says Coach Mike “Buzz” Burzawa. “It was heartbreaking to lose a game that we played well in the playoffs.” 

With their last season having ended that way, the Kits are dedicated to having a comeback this year—on the field and in the classroom. 

“Off the field, we want to reach the IHSA Team Academic Achievement Award [through having]  a team GPA of 3.0,” says Burzawa. “Along with that, we want to earn a playoff berth, and, of course, be CSL champions.” 

So far, the team is off to a 1-3 start with a win against Indian Trail and losses to Libertyville, Prospect and Barrington. The difference maker? Offense. The Kits scored 53 points in their first game against Trail, but only a combined 45 between the three losses.

With many key offensive players graduating last year, including current North Carolina freshman Sebastian Cheeks and star wide receiver Kamau Ransom, there are many new faces to keep an eye on this year. With Ransom being gone, the offense is expected to run the ball more, which is where junior running back and outside linebacker Damarion Timberlake comes into play. He started last year on JV, and is expected to make a big impact on this year’s team judging from his performances last year, as well as through the heart and dedication he brings to the field. 

“I just want to be able to execute on all plays that coaches provide, and continue to support the team in the run game as best as possible,” says Timberlake. 

There’s also sophomore and backup quarterback Colin Livatino, the youngest player on the varsity roster. Livatino has a lot of responsibility and standards to live up to when called upon. 

“There isn’t too much pressure yet, but if I do have to go in I have high expectations for myself and I know others will too,” says Livatino.  

With the Evanston football community being so close however, all these new faces should fit right in.

“For us, it’s a brotherhood, it’s a family, team bonding, leadership, having meals together,” says Burzawa. “Just doing all the little things and creating those friendships that last a lifetime.”