The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian


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Timberlake runs over Deerfield for three touchdowns, keeps Evanston’s playoff hopes alive

Evanston Township High School football took care of business in a slugfest against Warriors.
Owen Chiss
Evanston kept its playoff hopes alive on the road against Deerfield.

Just when you thought senior Damarion Timberlake’s list of 2023 highlights couldn’t get any longer, the running back delivered a career performance against Deerfield on Friday night.

On a frigid, raining night, Timberlake was an absolute workhorse, rushing for 202 yards on 35 carries and adding three rushing touchdowns to lead Evanston to a 32-25 road victory over the Warriors.

With the win, Evanston improved to 3-4 (2-1 CSL), keeping their playoff hopes alive. Deerfield subsequently fell to 4-3 (1-2 CSL).

“This is all will, man. It’s about the drive to want it,” said Timberlake. “The odds were against us, but it didn’t matter. [If] you put your heart in it and you love the game, you’re going to do what you have to do and get the job done.”

Despite the win, Evanston’s offense got off to a slow start in the first quarter. The Kits got stuffed on a 4th down try during their first possession of the game and handed the ball to the Warriors deep in Evanston territory. But on the ensuing Deerfield drive, sophomore Michael Pryor found his way to Deerfield QB Mac Jones—no, not the Patriots QB—and stripped the ball out of his hands for a forced fumble that was quickly recovered by senior Destiny Ekwebelan.

After another ETHS turnover on downs at the end of a lengthy drive, the Warriors marched down the field. With 2:27 left in the first quarter, Jones found receiver Jack Moros in the back corner of the endzone, who leaped up for an incredible TD.

Evanston responded by pounding the ground game. Junior Colin Livatino handed the ball off eight times to Timberlake, who rushed for 36 yards on the drive running behind a stellar offensive line. Timberlake capped off the six-minute possession with a five-yard touchdown, but the Kits missed the PAT, leaving Deerfield with a 7-6 lead with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter.

“[The offensive line] are some dawgs,” Timberlake laughed. “They are still young and have a lot to learn and improve on but as far as the performance, they have been working really, really hard, and I’m proud.”

The Evanston offense continued to move the ball down the field later in the quarter. After a 22-yard catch and fourth down conversion by senior wideout Isaac Israelite, Livatino threw up a prayer to senior receiver Keron Pryor, who came up with an unbelievable snag for a 35-yard touchdown. The Kits missed the extra point once again but led Deerfield 12-7 at the half.

“We have to clean some things up with the kicking game,” Evanston head coach Mike Burzawa said. “I was disappointed with the kicking game but overall toughness, heart and desire was there.”

“We were effective in the run game. It was nice to see the O-line get that vertical push. We were also able to throw the ball well and we were clicking on offense.”

The Warriors got off to a fast start in the second half, closing out a 60-yard, 1:05 drive with a six-yard rushing touchdown by RB Quinn Schimanski. The Warriors converted the two-point conversion, putting the hosts up 15-12.

The Kits wasted no time in their next drive. Livatino scrambled again and found a wide-open Israelite in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown. Evanston got stuffed on the two-point conversion but led 18-15 with ten minutes left to play in the third quarter.

“I was excited. We had never run that play before so I was kind of nervous,” Israelite laughed. “But I found myself wide open, so I just stuck my hands out and caught it.”

After a botched punt by Deerfield, the Kits continued to pound the rock with Timberlake. The running back rushed for 38 yards on seven straight attempts and finished off the drive with a two-yard touchdown. Once again, the Kits couldn’t convert on the two-point conversion but led 24-15.

Deerfield responded with a quick 20-yard touchdown, bringing the home team to within two going into the final frame.

Timberlake’s day wasn’t over. With 7:16 minutes left, Timberlake scored on a 20-yard rushing touchdown after tallying 64 yards on that drive alone. He also converted the two-point conversion, putting the ‘Kits up 32-22. 

After a Deerfield field goal and an interception from Livatino, the Warriors were driving deep in Kits territory down by just one score. With all the momentum against the Kits, junior Jayden Rodriguez deflected a ball at the line to himself for a clutch interception with two minutes left in the game. Deerfield ended up getting the ball back a minute later, but senior safety Jacques Philippe picked off Jones to seal the 32-25 win for Evanston.

“We knew [Deerfield] was going to be ready to roll. It was a back-and-forth game and we ended up being able to make more plays at the end,” said Burzawa.

The Kits head into senior night on Lazier next Friday night against Glenbrook North (1-6, 0-3 CSL). 

“It means a lot to keep our playoff hopes alive. We gotta keep going and get that W against GBN,” said Timberlake. “We have to fight every single week.”

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About the Contributors
Owen Chiss, Digital Sports Editor
Will Klearman, Opinion Columnist
Hey everyone! I’m Will Klearman (he/him) and this year I am an opinion columnist as well as a sports writer. I am a sophomore and this is my second year on staff. Being on The Evanstonian is great because it allows me to get an inside look on the sports at ETHS. I also love getting my opinion out there. Outside of The Evanstonian, I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing tennis and watching sports!
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