Any loss to arch-rival New Trier is painful for anyone who puts on an Evanston uniform.

But the Trevians poured salt in the wound on a chilly night Friday at Lazier Field.

New Trier kept its postseason hopes alive with a 31-7 triumph and eliminated the Wildkits from the Illinois High School Association Class 8A playoff picture at the same time while continuing its dominance in the head-to-head rivalry.

New Trier hasn’t lost to the Kits since the 2010 season and has now closed the gap in the all-time series to 54-51 in ETHS’ favor. The two teams have tied 6 times.

Evanston will fall short of the minimum 5 victories required to reach postseason play even if the Wildkits win out against Niles West and Glenbrook South. The Kits had qualified for 4 straight years and 8 of the last 9 under head coach Mike Burzawa prior to this season.

Now 2-5 overall, the Kits surrendered 5 quarterback sacks, lost two fumbles in the first half that led to Trevian touchdowns, and the hosts were also penalized 8 times for 84 yards.

New Trier quarterback Tyler Hardin ran for 2 touchdowns and passed for another as New Trier improved to 3-4, 2-1 in Central Suburban League South division play.

“We didn’t execute tonight, and that’s on me as a head coach,” said Burzawa. “This is a painful loss. It’s always disappointing to lose to New Trier, but to their credit they came out and executed. They capitalized on those early turnovers, and then they had that 6 or 7 minute drive to start the second half and they took control.

“This one hurts. We knew it was important for us to win if we wanted to stay in the playoff hunt, but we just haven’t put it together yet as a team.”

Short scoring drives that were the result of Evanston turnovers helped the visitors put points on the board and control the clock with their running game after that.

Receiver Jeremiah Lasley coughed up the ball on a jet sweep on Evanston’s second possession setting up a 44-yard drive for New Trier that climaxed with a 17-yard TD burst off tackle by Hardin.

Quarterback Sean Cruz, under pressure all night, fumbled at the 26 two plays later and it only took the Trevs three plays to find paydirt again, on a 24 yard pass from Hardin to Nick Kuras.

The visitors put the contest out of reach to open the second half, marching 53 yards in 10 plays, with Hardin scoring from the 3.

Evanston mustered a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, aided by two New Trier pass interference penalties. Junior Tyron Inniss scored on a 2-yard run with 3 minutes, 17 seconds remaining to help the hosts avoid a shutout.

Quadre Nicholson led Evanston’s ground game with 14 carries for 62 yards, but those 5 quarterback sacks against Cruz left the Kits with a net of just 64 yards rushing. Cruz completed 8-of-17 passes for 51 yards.

Dennis Mahoney

Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for Evanston Township High School.

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