Beating the odds

Football faces undefeated Homewood Flossmoor

Jesse Heuer, Sports Editor

ETHS suffered a blowout loss in their final regular season game against Maine South, but they get a fresh start tonight as they open the first round of the IHSA playoffs at Homewood-Flossmoor.

“No one picked us to win four games, and we proved them wrong,” coach Mike Burzawa said. “We’re in the big dance and it’s a great accomplishment.”

The Vikings come into tonight’s game with the fourth seed out of the 32 team bracket and ranked second in the state according to the Chicago Sun Times. They finished the regular season with a record of nine wins and zero losses for the first time in Head Coach Craig Buzea’s career at Homewood.

“They’re a phenomenal team and they’re going to give us everything they have in a playoff atmosphere. We need a week of perfect practice to prepare for a team as good as them,” senior linebacker Charlie Krause said.

The Kits, on the other hand, finished the regular season with a record of six wins, three losses, and the 29th seed out of the 32-team bracket. This will be their sixth playoff appearance in the last seven years.

“It’s always a goal of ours to make the playoffs, so being able to do so this year and in the last five years speaks to our team’s hard work and commitment,” senior safety Jacob Greifer said.

In order to pull off the upset, ETHS will have to focus on running the ball effectively and executing sound defensive coverage. Also, they will have to win the field position battle throughout the game.

Senior running back Ben Easington has been the spark for the ETHS offense so far this year. He had his biggest games in week six and week seven with a total of 487 rushing yards on 63 carries.

“The offensive line has been dominant this year. They’ve opened up big holes for me which makes it a lot easier to escape,” Easington said.

ETHS comes into the game with a relatively healthy team. Besides the normal week ten bumps and bruises, junior Terrance Gibson is the only starter that will be sidelined due to a knee injury suffered against Maine South.

Despite the big loss last week, the Kits need to flush that game away and put all of their focus on tonight’s game.

“Football is a game about desire and caring about the guys next to you,” Burzawa said. “As I told the kids, there’s a reason you play the game.”