Putting an end to a long losing streak often requires special moments from a team’s top players.
So it’s no surprise that New Trier senior standout Miles Cremascoli produced yet another stroke of brilliance to halt the Trevians’ four-game skid.
Trailing by seven points with under two minutes to go, the visiting Glenbrook North Spartans took the ball inside New Trier’s 30-yard line one play after keeping their comeback hopes alive with a crucial fourth-down conversion.
But Cremascoli made sure that was as close as the Spartans would get as he dove to intercept a pass in the back of the endzone, securing New Trier’s 14-7 homecoming night win over GBN on Friday, Oct. 6, in Northfield.
“(Winning tonight) means so much to us, especially on our homecoming night,” Cremascoli said. “We just came out and put everything on the line for our team tonight. Everybody is going to be so happy going into homecoming and next week. … A homecoming win in my senior year means the world to me.”
New Trier opened the night’s scoring in the second quarter when junior quarterback Patrick Heneghan rushed in a 1-yard touchdown to give the Trevs a 7-0 lead over the Spartans.
Two New Trier turnovers in the third quarter — a fumble inside the Spartans’ redzone and a fumble on a punt return — opened the door for a GBN comeback.
The Spartans capitalized on the second turnover, turning New Trier’s miscue into a 67-yard scoring drive that quarterback John Philbin finished with a 1-yard touchdown run. North’s touchdown tied the game at 7 with 11 minutes to go.
Both teams then traded short, unsuccessful drives and a strong GBN punt pinned New Trier inside its own 10-yard line to start the ensuing possession.
But the Trevians were undeterred and.took the ball 91 yards to take back the lead from the Spartans. It was Heneghan once again who capped the drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown.
Senior running back Jackson McCarey did the heavy lifting for the Trevs on the game-winning drive. McCarey kickstarted the series with back-to-back rushes of 11 and 12 yards, respectively. One play later he broke free for a huge 56-yard run that set up New Trier at GBN’s 10-yard line. The Trevs scored two plays later on the Heneghan run.
“We knew we needed to march down the field, we knew we needed to get first downs and I just knew that we needed a big drive and we needed to score a touchdown there to win the game,” McCarey said.
“We wanted it so bad. We all knew it. We had the fans left here, we wanted to do it for them and for ourselves. We needed a win, we needed a score and we really got down to our souls, to our core, and we knew we had to get that done.”
The victory not only put the Trevs back in the win column, it also served as an admirable bounceback performance after what New Trier head coach Brian Doll called a “devastating loss” last week against rival Evanston.
“I’m happy for the kids,” Doll said. “It’s been tough (this season). Last week, I didn’t have a lot of words. This week, I’m proud of them for fighting back. It was a devastating loss last week and for them to fight through and hang in there, I’m just proud of them in the end.”
It was an all-too-familiar situation Friday night for the Trevs, who once again found themselves trying to hang onto a late lead with an opposing team attempting to come back in the game’s final moments.
The Wildkits shocked New Trier last week with a 47-yard touchdown on third and long with 45 seconds to play, leading them to a 26-22 victory over the Trevs. Earlier this season, the Prospect Knights also mounted a stunning late comeback, rallying from 10 points down in the final minutes to knock off New Trier.
But homecoming night proved to be a different story for the Trevs, as they were able to hang on and flip what had become a crushing script for them thus far this season.
“Our back was up against the wall in this game and it’s been there a lot, so I’m happy that Crem came up with the big play there at the end in the pick,” Doll said.
The Trevs head coach later added that he didn’t want to focus on any negatives of the evening, and instead wanted to focus on the players getting an important win on their homecoming night.
“They overcame a lot, they’ve been through a lot as a group these last couple weeks,” he said. “It’s been a tough schedule and we’ve had some tough losses and for them to get a win tonight, it breaks that losing streak.”
The Trevs will look to keep their momentum going next week as they head on the road to face the Glenbrook South Titans. The Titans have bested New Trier three times in the last four seasons, so the Trevs will be hungry for revenge.
Despite their playoff chances near zero, the Trevs still have plenty to gain in the season’s final two weeks.
“I want to see them compete, I want to see them grow, I want to see some kids step up who maybe haven’t played a lot and I want to see the seniors finish on a positive note; the guys who have put their heart and soul into four years of being here … I want to see them have a good experience as we end,” Doll said.
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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.