Team determined to reload after early losses

Following 31-0, 35-7, and 34-14 losses, New Trier continues to look for answers



The football team opened the season at home on Aug. 26 against Hersey losing 31-0. They hope to find their footing on Sept. 15 against Fremd

Trevian fans packed the stands opening night, dressed in white and sprinkled with baby powder to show team pride for “whiteout night.” But since then, there have been few bright spots in the first two games of the year. 

Starting defensive end Liam Fitzgerald said the defense struggled in the first game, because they were not as conditioned as they could have been. “So we’re working on that,” he said. “And a lot more live hitting.”

On the other side of the ball, the offense has been shaky. Defensive end Franklin Zoloto’s interception gave the Trevs the ball at Hersey’s 25 yard line, but the team went backwards and ended the drive scoreless. This was the theme the whole night, with the Hersey defense looking fairly dominating.

The offense would go three and out a couple of times, and we’d be on the field a lot. The defense would get pretty tired.

— Fitzgerald

Starting quarterback Patrick Henegan recognizes the lack of offense thus far. “Our offense has to come out and we have to execute when we start the second half,” he said. “Once they really started to pile on some more scores, I think everyone on the team’s attitude started to go down.”

In the opener, things went downhill starting in the second half. The defense that had been relentless in the first half couldn’t continue to hold the Hersey offense, and opposing sophomore quarterback Colton Gumino, whose list of college offers include Oregon and Iowa State, started to find a groove. 

“The offense would go three and out a couple of times, and we’d be on the field a lot,” said Fitzgerald. “The defense would get pretty tired.”

Practice has adapted to certain areas of focus following the early showing. This includes an emphasis on strength and conditioning, along with typical skill drills in order to avoid the same second-half fate the team endured against Hersey.

“You’ve got to be a little more conditioned, got to keep listening during the season,” Henegan said about what coaches have been preaching. “Keep putting time in the gym and that can give you a shot.”

The offense evidently focused on the run game, especially game one. Running back Jackson Ochsenhirt was given the ball early and often, but it seemed that most of the night there was nowhere for him to run. Starting receiver Miles Cremascoli said  the importance of the run game is that it helps open up the passing game..

“We started out with the run because we wanted them to bite on the run and then we’ll open up the pass game a lot more,” said Cremascoli. “Because our receiving core is so strong, if we open up the pass game, we can definitely do well.”

Following the week two loss to Stevenson, a game in which several starting defensive players would get benched and the offense again lacked the explosive plays, Trevian fans were again disappointed. But this year’s team is an unusually young one, stirring hopes that the best is yet to come.

“We’re a newer group,” said Cremascoli. “One of the bigger things (in practice) was working on the playbook and making sure we understood it, which I think we did a good job on.”

For this young team, physicality will be a key issue. This reinforces the importance the caches place on preparing for each team as they plan practices.

“If you know their tendencies and what they like to do it can help on the field making that quick adjustment,” said Henegan. “Being quarterback, having confidence to call an audible and get to a play we do like to exploit the defense, is huge.”

As much as anything, the right mentality is needed for the team to recover from the loss. The defense especially wants to showcase a more intimidating squad.

“It’s a legal place to hit people as hard as you can,” says Fitzgerald. “We’ve just got to find the mentality of wanting to crush people on the football field.”