Football kicks off their season against Hubbard

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Football kicks off their season against Hubbard

Jesse Heuer, Sports Editor

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Last season may have ended with a disappointing 62-10 defeat to South Elgin in the first round of the IHSA playoffs, but the Kits take the field with a fresh team looking to prove themselves.

The season begins this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the Hubbard Greyhounds on Lazier field. The game will kickoff a weekend of festivities centered around the ETHS athletic hall of fame induction.

The Greyhounds finished their 2015 campaign with a 7-4 record. Coming from the Chicago Public League, they’re always a physical and athletic team.

“We know we’re getting a huge challenge when we schedule them. They’re a playoff team year in and year out,” said coach Mike Burzawa.

ETHS will have to stop the Greyhound athleticism on the offensive and defensive line, which returns three starters from last year including senior captains Christian Nielsen and Morgan Brown.

“The linemen had the highest attendance rate during the offseason and we have really clicked,” said Nielsen. “We are absolutely the strongest aspect of the team.”

This year’s team lost key position players from last year, such as Michigan State commit Naquan Jones, Miami (Ohio) commit Travion Banks, and Western Michigan quarterback Matt Little.

The team will be very young, starting with junior Quarterback Drew Dawkins. Dawkins served as Little’s backup last year and learned how to be a leader from the experience. When Little got hurt on senior night against Waukegan, it was Dawkins time to shine. He wound up completing 7 of 11 passes for 113 yards including three touchdown passes.

“Drew’s mechanics are very sound and he’s got very good athleticism,” said Burzawa.

“He’s very crafty and I like his moxie. It’s his time to rise up.”

Besides a strong offensive line and Dawkins at QB, the rest of the offense will have to prove themselves. The projected started running back will be senior Ben Easington, a converted linebacker and the wide receiving core has yet to be determined.

The same problem exists on defense where the strength is on the line and in the linebackers, but the secondary is very young which may leave holes open downfield. Burzawa expects four or five sophomores to be playing skill positions to fill these roles.

The kits schedule will be very tough this year with the CSL South being one of the top conferences in the state. Maine South has won the conference title 14 years in a row and New Trier is bringing back lots of returning starters.

Despite a group of young players, the team’s goal remains to win the conference and earn an IHSA playoff berth.

“So far it’s been a very fun group to coach and I like our football team,” said Burzawa. “We’re not going to have a lot of numbers, but I like the talent.”