Evanston’s football team landed the first punch for the second week in a row. And by the time the first quarter was over Friday night at Lazier Field, the Wildkits had delivered a knockout blow.
The Wildkits scored on their first five possessions, rolling to a 35-point advantage in the first quarter, and overwhelmed Chicago Foreman on their way to a 49-8 rout and their second straight win.
With three starters held out for minor injuries, coach Mike Burzawa’s squad dug deeper into the bench with no apparent dropoff. An inspired defensive unit was credited with 11 tackles for loss — in the first half.
“That’s two games in a row that we’ve been able to deliver that first punch (scoring first), and our kids played hard tonight,” said Burzawa. “Our goal this week was to get healthy, and develop more depth so we can create more competition in practice. We need more guys to step up and we had an opportunity for them to get a lot of reps (repetitions) tonight. It was exciting to see them all get a chance to compete and to get better.”
Defensive linemen Mo Brown (two tackles for losses) and Damariay Birge (quarterback sack, forced fumble, blocked punt) both made big impacts even though they didn’t see any action after the first period. Reserves who stood out included Tyler Battle (blocked punt), Marcus Hopson (fumble recovery), Trent Bertrand (fumble recovery), Carlos Gonzalez (fumble recovery) and Mike Axelrood (49-yard kickoff return).
Freshman running back Quadre Nicholson, who was added to the varsity roster late in preseason training camp when an older tailback unexpectedly quit the program, led the Wildkit offense with touchdown runs of 3 and 8 yards. He totaled 115 yards on 18 attempts, more yards than the entire Foreman team piled up on the ground (91).
Senior Ben Easington opened the scoring for ETHS with runs of 5 and 25 yards as the Kit defense kept the visitors pinned down in their own territory for the entire period. Then a 32-yard kickoff return by sophomore Gerrad Lamour set up a play that is certain to make the team’s highlight film no matter what happens the rest of the year.
Derell Pruitt, making his season debut at wide receiver, made a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone — while falling down — to complete an 11-yard scoring pass from quarterback Drew Dawkins. Nicholson added his two TD runs before the clock wound down to zero in the quarter.
Evanston’s other score was a 31-yard dash by senior Miles Hampton on the first play of the fourth quarter. Foreman got on the board late in the third quarter on an 86-yard kickoff return by Darrian Austin.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.