Groff leads football to lopsided Homecoming victory


Marco Roman

Senior Boaz Liberman kicked off the scoring for the Kits with a first-quarter touchdown reception.

When senior quarterback Dylan Groff found fellow classmate Boaz Lieberman in the end zone for an 18-yard passing touchdown early in the first quarter of Evanston’s Homecoming game against Niles West, Lieberman promptly celebrated the occasion with a backflip.

For a team that was on a four-game losing streak, the celebration was a sign that this would be the game Evanston would return to the win column. By the end of the night, Groff would put up three more total touchdowns, leading the Kits to a 31-0 victory over the Wolves.

The win was a reminder for Evanston (2-4, 1-1 CSL) that it was a better team than its record may reflect.

“We’ve had four of our first five games go down to literally the final minute,” said Coach Mike Burzawa.

Last week, the Kits lost to New Trier by a touchdown in a tightly contested game. Games like that only added fuel to the fire for the Orange and Blue on Homecoming.

“It’d be one thing if we were getting blown out every game, but it’s been four close losses that we’ve been in the entire time, so that’s been really frustrating,” said Groff.

On Homecoming, it was Evanston on both sides of the ball that would be doing the frustrating all night to the Wolves (2-4, 0-2 CSL).

With the Kits already up 7-0, senior kicker Evan Siegel nailed a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter, and that on top of Groff rushing for a 32-yard TD gave the Kits a solid, 17-0 lead by the half. In the second half, with the game well in hand, Evanston continued to put on the pressure, with a seven-yard TD pass from Groff to senior Mac Mettee in the third and another massive 54-yarder to senior Preston Brown in the fourth.

The offense was only half of the story, however.

On defense, Evanston was nothing short of a wall. Seniors Flo Feldman and Caleb Lieberman as well as junior Yohannes Jean-Francois combined for a grand total of 17 solo tackles. Thanks largely to their efforts, the Kits’ defense was able to limit the Wolves to a mere 59 rushing yards, 67 passing yards and, most importantly of course, zero points. 

“It’s just great to get that feeling of a win. It’s evidence of all the work that the kids and the coaches put in,” said Burzawa.

With a game against a 2-4 Glenbrook North squad next Friday on the horizon for the Kits, they will spend the week putting in work to keep the momentum from Homecoming up through the rest of the season.

“Just look at what we did right, look at what we did wrong,” Groff said. “Fix what we did wrong and continue to execute what we did right.”