Varsity football overcomes sluggish start to beat Lyons

Trevians Open 2019 Season With 20-10 Victory


Payton Marshall

The New Trier student body flooded the stands for the season opener, creating a raucous atmosphere

The varsity football team opened their 2019 season with a 20-10 victory over the Lyons Lions on Aug. 30 at Northfield Stadium.

The Trevians out-scored the Lions 20-0 in the final three quarters of play behind a powerful running game led by junior Brody Roth.

Roth, who made just one career varsity start prior to this season, gashed the Lions’ defense with 218 yards rushing along with two touchdowns.

“I think that there were some high expectations for me going into the game, but I felt like I was able to show up and have a really good game,” said Roth.

The running prowess that Roth displayed was part of an offensive attack crafted by head coach Brian Doll in order to simplify and shorten the game for his young players, a plan that he felt even more comfortable with once he considered who would be carrying the ball.

“Going into the game, we wanted to control the clock and control the game running the ball at them, and we were very confident in our offensive approach with having Brody,” said Doll.

In addition to his masterful performance on offense, Roth was also a standout on the defensive side of the ball with three tackles and the game-sealing interception midway through the fourth quarter.

Roth was joined in the secondary by senior cornerback James Hemmer, one of the few returning starters on the team. Although Hemmer was a member of the varsity team last year, he primarily played outside linebacker, making the switch back to cornerback for this season.

“Last year, I started as an outside linebacker so this wasn’t my first game, but it was my first varsity game as a corner,” said Hemmer. “I played corner during my freshman and sophomore [seasons], so it [wasn’t] anything too foreign.”

Hemmer recorded a team-leading ten tackles as part of a defensive unit that shutout the Lions in the final three quarters of play.

Despite allowing a 65-yard touchdown drive on the Lions’ opening possession, the Trevians’ defense allowed under 200 yards passing and just 17 yards rushing.

“We have a ton of new faces on defense, so I think [the team] had to get the first game nerves out of the way,” said Hemmer. “I think once everyone calmed down and started playing their game, we really began to settle in.”

The new-look defense was particularly stingy in the second half with only one Lions drive, which concluded with Roth’s interception, crossing midfield.

“During halftime, we knew that we had to come out stronger because the game was tied, and [the team] talked and we came out [of halftime] playing a lot harder,” said senior defensive lineman Nick Mangel.

Mangel, one of the many first-time varsity starters, made a habit of reaching the Lions’ backfield, racking up three tackles for loss as well as a sack. Mangel anchored a front seven that harassed the Lions’ senior quarterback Blaise Reichert, sacking him five times and recording four quarterback hurries.

“Defensively, we wanted to put a lot of pressure on their quarterback. We knew that [Reichert] was a returning starter, but, in general, we felt that we could take advantage of our quickness on the defensive line,” said Doll.

The victory over Lyons may serve as an embodiment of how the 2019 season will go for the varsity football team: experiencing growing pains early on, but eventually gaining enough confidence to dominate their opponents down the stretch.

The coming games will provide the varsity football team with an opportunity to measure themselves against quality opponents.

Before beginning conference play against Glenbrook South on Sept. 27, they faced defending state champion Loyola, a game that they lost 34-3, and will face perennial playoff contenders Barrington and Conant.

“This year, we have an extremely tough schedule, but we love the challenge,” said Hemmer. “I’d say our team goal this year is to make it back to the playoffs and hopefully make some noise in November.”

Doll echoed those sentiments, hoping that their development will result in a playoff berth.

“Our goal is to get better each week, learn as we go, and, by the end of the season, hopefully be in a position to do some damage in the postseason,” said Doll.