The young Trevians again clashed with the steep learning curve of varsity high school football Friday night in Lincolnshire.
New Trier visited fellow enrollment behemoth Stevenson, which used an aerial barrage Sept. 2 to hand the Trevs a 35-7 loss and a 2-0 start to start the young campaign.
On the evening, the Patriots scored four times on passing plays covering 87, 35, 10 and 68 yards, respectively.
“We missed a couple big tackles, but the coverage was just really struggling tonight,” New Trier coach Brian Doll said. “… We’re not executing right now at a high level.”
After being shut out 31-0 in their opener, the Trevs were first to the scoreboard on Friday.
New Trier took advantage of great field position, and an 11-year pass from Patrick Heneghan to Liam Fitzgerald put the Trevs in a first-and-goal situation. On the ensuing play, Heneghan tossed a jump ball to Miles Cremascoli, who came down with the score.
From there, however, it was all Patriots.
The hosts quickly responded when Michael Maloney took a handoff 60 yards to the end zone to tie things up.
The Trevians offense stalled the remainder of the half, while Stevenson scored touchdowns on three of its four drives approaching halftime to enter the break with a 28-7 lead.
New Trier finished the first half with nine negative offensive plays, a turnover and just 11 yards rushing.
“I don’t know how many times we were 2nd and 20,” Doll said. “You can fell it and I know the confidence gets shaken when we’re going (backward). I would love to say magically we could improve in those areas really quickly, but we’re going to have to grow and learn and really study film and understand football at a higher level.”
Stevenson sucked much of the air out of the game with a long, time-consuming drive in the third quarter. Though it ended with zero points, as New Trier’s Charles Olges blocked a field-goal attempt, it shrunk the Trevs’ comeback window.
Still, New Trier had a puncher’s chance when a 27-yard pass to Cremascoli (7 catches, 75 yards) and a 26-yarder to Ben Prouty (3 for 48) set them up with first-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
But Stevenson was up to the task, halting New Trier on four straight plays and taking over possession as the third quarter expired.
“We’re doing very simple things on offense right now and we’re not executing them,” Doll said. “That’s frustrating. That’s very frustrating.”
The Patriots finished off the Trevians when Matt Projansky hit Ben Snider for a 68-yard score on the ensuing possession. Projansky finished with 337 yards on 16-of-28 passing, with 147 of those yards going to Snider.
New Trier middle linebacker Will Morrison IV said he and his peers need to take their preparation onto the field and play with fight the rest of the way.
“It’s preparation. All the touchdowns that happened in this game we’ve repped multiple times in practice,” he said. “… All 11 guys need to know what they are doing and focus. If one guy messes up, big plays will happen.
Morrison added, “We need to have some fight in us — be vicious, be mean on the field. I feel like tonight we were kind of going through the motions. We just need to play hard — 100 percent every play the whole four quarters.”
New Trier is fielding an inexperienced squad. A majority of the juniors have not seen varsity time, and some of the seniors are just returning to the sport this season.
Doll is looking forward to the return of starting tailback Jackson McCarey, who may play in Week 3 or Week 4, as well as defensive tackle Jayden Salazar, but the Trevians will need more than that to right the ship, especially with a road date with 2-0 Palatine (wins against St. Charles North and Buffalo Grove) on Friday, Sept. 9.
“The reality is the first two games we’ve played have been against big schools and they’ve been more physical than us and we have to continue to grow physically,” Doll said. “We have to be more confident in the way we make contact and tackle and get to the ball. Some of that is just desire.”
New Trier placekicker Niki Dugandzic continued to dazzle with his soaring punts, consistently setting up his team with good field position and once drawing a fumble that was recovered by his teammate Will Henry.