Evanston’s football family remembered their late defensive coordinator, Steve King, in a pre-game ceremony that included King’s wife Philina and daughter Payton Friday night.

But the real tribute to King came on Lazier Field as the Wildkits notched their first victory of the 2014 campaign, defeating Crete-Monee 14-7 with an inspired defensive performance.

Junior linebacker Jalan Jenkins returned a fumble 38 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter, and a fumble recovery by senior Ferris Ingraham set up the other score as Evanston evened its record at 1-1 on the season.

Crete-Monee (1-1) lost three fumbles and quarterback Frank Douglas (20-of-37 for 167 yards) was sacked four times by a tenacious Wildkit defensive unit that more than lived up to the “Wolfpack” mentality employed by King during his tenure as an assistant coach.

Besides the efforts by Jenkins and Ingraham, Evanston’s heroes included defensive tackle Naquan Jones, who turned up the defensive heat on Douglas in the pocket in the second half; Arrhian Monroe, who scored on a 3-yard run and foiled a potential scoring drive by the Warriors with an interception late in the fourth quarter; and punter Nate Brown, who booted four punts of more than 50 yards to help the hosts win the field position battle after they finally took the lead.

“You couldn’t have written a better script tonight than for us to win with a defensive score,” said Evanston head coach Mike Burzawa. “Our defense really got the job done tonight. I’ll take the effort and the heart we played with tonight any day of the week. We had tons of big plays tonight. We want to build our team around the defense, and I thought our coaching staff did a great job of preparing the kids this week. I am so proud of the way we were able to tighten things up.”

The emotional triumph left one of the ETHS heroes, Jenkins, almost too wound up to talk.

“Tonight we knew we had to make plays and not leave this field without a W (win),” Jenkins said. “We wanted to give his family three hours of enjoyment tonight. It was a whole team effort, and I couldn’t have done it without my brothers.

“I hit their quarterback, the ball popped out and I just grabbed it and ran with it. I just had to do it for Coach King’s family.”

Evanston’s offense mustered only one first down in the second half, following a scoreless first half that was delayed by a lightning sighting at one point. The Wildkits only racked up 139 total yards on offense — 77 on the ground — and their only turnover of the rain-soaked night produced Crete’s lone score when linebacker Omari Stringer scooped up a fumble by quarterback Matt Little and dashed 39 yards with 9 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Four minutes later, a Brown punt and a holding penalty pinned the Warriors back on their own 10 yard line. On the first play, defensive end Ingraham beat Douglas to the ball on a bad center snap and Monroe plowed into the end zone two plays later to knot the score at 7-7.

At the 9:16 mark of the final period, the trio of Jones, Vernell Bentley and Jenkins swarmed all over Crete’s quarterback on a 3rd and 10 from his own 49, with Jenkins making the biggest play of his short varsity career to date.

Bentley’s sack forced a punt later in the period, and on the Warriors’ next possession, White tried to force a sideline pass into a crowd of ETHS defenders and it was Monroe who grabbed the tip ball for another turnover with 57 seconds remaining.

Source: ETHS Sports Information

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Coach King
    God reveals himself in many forms.This time at ETHS football game .Nice tribute and honor to the King family!

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *