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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Season opener ends in 30-12 loss for football

Despite second-half adjustments, New Trier was unable to recover from 30-0 deficit vs. Hersey
Credit: KoukMedia
Junior Niki Dugandzic’s 45 yard fourth quarter field goal highlighted the Trevs’ otherwise disappointing game

The 0-1 start to the season wasn’t a surprise. John Hersey High School blew out New Trier 31-0 in last season’s opening game, and continued displaying its dominance from a 10-1 2022 season. 

Brian Doll, New Trier High School head football coach, knew the first week might be the toughest of a difficult 2023 schedule for the Trevs.

Defensively, we hurt ourselves with mistakes. Whether it was penalties or some missed tackles, I think there were some key things that really put us in tough situations.

— Brian Doll

“[Hersey] had a lot of returning starters, and they had five kids that were Division I athletes, so we knew going into the game they were going to be very good,” said Doll. “Nothing really did surprise us in what they did; they just did it very well.”

Hersey’s roster was loaded with talent. Although New Trier’s defense was able to limit three-star tight end junior Logan Farrell, Northwestern-committed receiver senior Carson Grove highlighted the Huskie offense with a 53-yard touchdown catch, and Iowa commit senior Will Nolan looked strong at left tackle.

Despite the opposing star power, a better played game from the Trevians could’ve brought home a victory last Friday.

“Defensively, we hurt ourselves with mistakes,” said Doll. “Whether it was penalties or some missed tackles, I think there were some key things that really put us in tough situations.”

The team looked weak offensively against a very physical defense. New Trier was scoreless through the first three quarters, and its only promising drive to that point ended with an interception near the goal line. 

“Offensively, we were a little timid, and we didn’t go out hitting hard,” said senior receiver Miles Cremascoli. “We need to pick up blocking all throughout receivers, running backs, O-line. Everyone needs to block better as a whole.”

The Huskies’ strong defensive line was a problem for the Trevs’ offense all night, most noticeably in their poor running game. The team ran for only 60 yards across the entire game compared to Hersey’s 133. Star senior running back Nasir Mckenzie scored three times for Hersey while running for 120 yards.

Sophomore starting left guard Francis Karp came into the game knowing that this Hersey D-line would be different than other matchups.

“Their defensive line runs a lot of twists and different looks that most defenses wouldn’t show you,” said Karp. “We had to run through that in practice against our scout defense.”

Even with the opposing talent, New Trier’s offensive line underperformed. A better performance against Yorkville tonight is needed if the offense is going to get back on track.

“Guys weren’t coming off the ball fast, our punches weren’t as good, and we had a couple penalties with the holding,” said Karp. “It’s something we’re going to make sure we do way better this week.”

It was an especially disappointing opening game considering the team’s preparation over the summer. Because IHSA adjusted its rules, the team was able to scrimmage Loyola Academy, St. Charles North High School, and Stevenson High School before the season began, with a goal of these games to physically prepare players for the regular season.

Senior Liam Fitzgerald, who recently committed to play football at Brown, felt the team lacked  physicality versus Hersey.

“What we’re doing to implement physical toughness is tackling, because that’s one of our weaknesses from the game,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re more physical at practice, and trying not to be what they call ‘soft.’”

If the Trevians are going to beat Yorkville at today’s game, a team who made it to the final 16 in last season’s playoffs, they can’t wait until further into the second half to get the offense going. Setting the tone early on will be essential in a game New Trier isn’t expected to win.

“We have to come out physically tough, and I think the first drive really matters,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s just putting in minds that we can win that game and that they’re not as good as us.”

New Trier is on the road against Yorkville tonight at 7:00.

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