Despite a 60-plus-mile commute for Week 2, New Trier and its senior leaders made it a priority all week to keep the team’s home turf on the top of everyone’s minds.
After an opening-night defeat to the Hersey Huskies, the Trevians placed an emphasis on winning their second game with the goal of returning to Northfield next week with one win already in hand.
New Trier fulfilled that mission by taking care of business far from the confines of the North Shore, defeating the Yorkville Foxes 24-10 on Friday, Sept. 1.
“We let our seniors talk to the team this week and a lot of them said they were embarrassed with the way we played last week and that they were focused on making sure we went back home with a 1-1 record for our home opener,” New Trier head coach Brian Doll said.
“I really listened to the passion from them about wanting to show our community and our school our pride and that was one of our goals this week: show your pride in New Trier football, show your pride in your school. And we came down here tonight very confident, but I’ll always remember the seniors talking this week about how badly they wanted to go back next week for the home opener and make sure we had a win.”
Several of New Trier’s upperclassmen backed up their desire to win with their performances on Friday night.
Senior Jackson McCarey opened the game’s scoring late in the first quarter when he broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run to give the Trevs a 7-0 lead. On this way to the end zone, McCarey broke multiple tackles before he blew by several Yorkville defenders.
“The first touchdown was all because of my line,” McCarey said. “Luka Ratarac went out there and he laid somebody on the ground and I was really able to read it off him. I kept my pads low, bounced off the safety and was able to get a touchdown.”
Yorkville answered with a scoring drive of its own, going 87 yards in just seven plays to tie up the game with a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Dopart to Eli Walton.
But McCarey soon struck again for the Trevians, this time sprinting 51 yards to pay dirt on the first play of the drive to give New Trier a 14-7 lead.
“My offensive line did all the work for me,” McCarey said of the second score. “Our blocking tonight was amazing. … Last week we weren’t able to get many rushing yards, but this week, we really improved a lot and it was really great to see.”
McCarey totaled 129 yards of offense (114 rushing, 15 receiving) for the Trevians, and his big night was a welcome sign for a rushing attack that struggled to get going against Hersey.
While New Trier’s offense played a vital role in the victory, it was the Trevians defense that fueled much of the team’s success. The team’s secondary forced two turnovers while the Trevs fierce defensive front generated consistent pressure on Yorkville’s attack all night.
New Trier forced the Foxes into a crucial three-and-out after McCarey’s second score, quickly getting the ball back into the offense’s hands.
Senior linebacker Dylan Jeppe sacked Yorkville’s quarterback on third down, delivering an emphatic finish to the dominant series. Jeppe was the driving force behind New Trier’s strong defensive showing.
“He’s truly a leader in our program,” Doll said. “Right now, he’s a captain that’s really shown up for us. This whole week — vocally, physically, mentally, everything — that kid really led us this week.
“He’s not only a leader but he’s a kid who studies the game. He spends more time right now than anybody on our team studying film and just putting in that extra effort, making sure he’s preparing guys. Tonight he’s directing traffic on some of our checks, and I couldn’t even believe how quick he was seeing things — but that just goes along with what he’s doing off the field. He’s spending that time and it’s really making a difference on the field.”
Jeppe credited the Trevians’ focus and consistency throughout the game for New Trier’s success on the defensive side of the ball. The senior captain believes what the Trevians showcased in Week 2 is only the beginning of what is possible this season.
“I think the potential of our defense is immense,” he said. “I think our defense could be incredibly special. I think this is just a glimpse. We saw a little bit of it last week in the third quarter but today we were lockdown. We had some huge flash plays and I think it’s all effort and consistency and it’s only going to go up from here.”
New Trier added its third touchdown of the night midway through the second quarter when quarterback Patrick Heneghan dropped a perfectly placed pass right into the hands of senior Miles Cremascoli for a 56-yard score.
Heneghan finished the night with 145 yards passing, while Cremascoli hauled in three catches for 73 yards. Cremascoli also intercepted a pass on defense — his second o the season.
The Trevs only score in the second half came on a 35-yard field goal from standout junior kicker Niki Dugandzic.
New Trier will welcome Prospect High School to Northfield next Friday, Sept. 8, for another showdown with a Mid Suburban League foe. Prospect is also 1-1, topping Lyons 24-10 in Week 1 before falling to Barrington 49-14 — New Trier’s Week 4 opponent — on Friday, Sept. 1.
“This is an exciting game for us,” Doll said. “It’s another team we have not played. I had the good fortune of playing them when I was (coaching) at Elk Grove High School, and I know a lot about the community and the pride in the program and the state championships.
“Our kids are excited about it. It’s our youth night and the place is going to be absolutely rocking.”
Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.