After finishing 7-2 last year before losing in their first playoff game, the Kits graduated many key players such as quarterback Ben Tarpey to Miami of Ohio as well as Michael Axelrood, a wide receiver and safety to Princeton.
With the loss of many of their best players, underclassmen have been forced to step up. Most notably, Sean Cruz, a sophomore quarterback who coach Mike Burzawa plans to make the Kits starting quarterback. While Cruz’s talent was crucial for him to earn the starting role, his work ethic didn’t go unnoticed either.
“Anytime I had the chance, I would call players to go to the field and work with me. I help them get better, and they help me get better,” Cruz said. “Our practices are really helping me get ready for the challenge that I will be facing this year.”
Even as a rookie to the varsity team, Cruz has set high goals for himself to leave his mark on ETHS’ football program.
“I want to break Ben Tarpey’s record for most passing yards in a season, and I just want to have a successful season and make people proud.”
Despite Cruz’s high aspirations, it seems likely that the offense will be more run-oriented.
Quadre Nicholson, the Kits’ star running back, has picked up dozens of division one offers. Nicholson will announce his commitment on Sept. 1, and shared his top five schools are UIUC, Missouri, Cincinnati, Mizzou and Purdue.
It is probable that Nicholson will be the centerpiece of the Kits’ offense, but Cruz’s performance may be the X-factor for Evanston’s offense.
The Kits start their season next Friday, Aug. 30 against St. Patrick at Lazier Field at 7 p.m.