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Timberlake’s improbable run propels Evanston to Homecoming win over New Trier

Evanston Township High School’s Homecoming Game ends in Kits’ second victory all season after thrilling last minute.
Timberlake%E2%80%99s+improbable+run+propels+Evanston+to+Homecoming+win+over+New+Trier
Sophia Lindsey

To every fan in Lazier Field on Friday night, it appeared as if senior Damarion Timberlake had gained about ten yards on a slip screen from junior Colin Livatino before being bottled up by the New Trier defense.

“I was just trying to get a first down,” coach Mike Burzawa said.

All of a sudden, the running back got a push from his offensive line, broke six tackles, hit a spin move and raced down the sideline for a game-winning 46 yard touchdown with 43 seconds left to launch Evanston to a 26-22 win in the Kits’ Homecoming game.

“A tremendous play. That will go down in history,” Burzawa exclaimed. “Colin did a great job on the pump fake screen to [Keron Pryor] and hit Timberlake on the slip screen. It was outstanding.”

With the win, Evanston improved to 2-4 (1-1 CSL) on the season and officially kept their playoff hopes alive. New Trier fell to 1-5 (0-2 CSL) and was subsequently eliminated from playoff contention.

Despite the high scoring affair, both teams struggled to get going in a scoreless first quarter. Livatino was picked off on Evanston’s first drive, but New Trier didn’t do much with its first offensive series and was forced to punt after junior Ryan Abrams sacked Trevian QB Patrick Heneghan on 3rd and long.

Evanston opened the second quarter with a slow but steady drive, capping off an eight-minute, 92-yard drive with a Timberlake two-yard rush to put the Kits up, 7-0. But the Trevians responded immediately. After a 30-yard Trevian kickoff return, blown coverage by the Evanston secondary led Heneghan to find a wide open Miles Cremascoli for a 40-yard score (which was followed by a missed PAT).

After the Kits and the Trevians traded touchdowns on an Emmett Robinson fade and a Cremascoli run, Livatino threw a bomb to junior receiver Cajmere Lemond for a 51-yard score with five seconds left in the half, to give the Kits a 20-13 lead at the half.

New Trier came out of the break hot, finishing off a 60-yard drive with a Heneghan rushing touchdown to even the game up at 20-20. But following that score, Evanston’s defense started to become a huge factor. On New Trier’s 35 yard field goal attempt, senior Yohanness Jean-Francois blocked the kick to prevent a Trevian lead at the end of the third quarter. Two drives later in the fourth, back to back sacks by Jean-Francois and senior Destiny Ekwebelan forced the Trevians to punt, in which they pinned Evanston deep in their own territory.

“Our defense was absolutely phenomenal. The kids showed they had character,” Burzawa said.

The final minutes of the quarter were an absolute rollercoaster. With five minutes left in the game, Evanston was set to punt the ball away, but the long snap sailed over sophomore Jasper Barney’s head and ended up in the back of the Evanston end zone for a New Trier safety, giving the Trevians a 22-20 lead. But after the Evanston kickoff, the Trevians gave the ball right back to the Kits on junior Avan Teuer’s fumble recovery. Timberlake’s miracle catch and run gave the home team the 26-22 lead, and sophomore Michael Pryor’s last second interception sealed the dramatic victory for Evanston.

“That was really the first time all year we’ve looked complete. It wasn’t just big plays or lucky plays– we really just kept driving down the field,” said Livatino, who threw for 238 yards and 3 TDs. “It’s always nice to win. It’s always good to do it against your rivals, too.”

Burzawa emphasized the adversity his team overcame the entire night.

“I’m so proud of our team. Win-losses haven’t gone our way this season, but the team stayed together,” Burzawa stated. “Just to see a smile on their face and get the validation with the win is incredible.”

“Winners keep working. They keep battling. And that’s what these young men did tonight.”

Evanston will look to build on the win next Friday, Oct. 6, at Deerfield.

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Owen Chiss
Owen Chiss, Digital Sports Editor
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