New Trier can't sustain fast start vs. St. Patrick
Turnovers, called-back TD return hurt Trevians in 28-14 loss
New Trier marched 68 yards on 11 plays on the opening drive of the game and capped it with a 24-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Benji Cohen to senior receiver Charlie Tilson, who broke a tackle and streaked down the right sideline for the score with 7 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first quarter.
Unfortunately for the Trevians, their offense stalled and did not score until the final seconds of the game once again on the way to a 28-14 loss.
“They played the game a little faster than us tonight,” New Trier coach Dan Starkey said. “I thought offensively they really kept us off balance on defense. They ran the jet sweep well and used the short passing game to open up other things offensively. You’ve just got to tip your hat to St. Pats, they had a great game plan and their execution was very good.”
After jumping out to the early 7-0 lead, New Trier senior linebacker Taylor McGinnis recovered a botched handoff on fourth-and-1 during the Shamrocks’ first drive. New Trier (1-1) was forced to punt on its next two drives.
St. Patrick (2-0) forced a three-and-out on the first drive of the second quarter, then went on a 13-play, 73-yard drive that lasted nearly seven minutes. Shamrocks junior quarterback Ryan Tentler (19-for-32 passing, 197 yards, 2 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD) threw the first of his two touchdown passes on a 2-yard pass to junior tailback Guy DiBalsamo (7 carries, 34 yards, 1 TD; 5 catches, 45 yards, 1 TD) to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:54 left in the half.
Tilson took the ensuing kickoff 99-yards to the house after a couple of cuts up the middle, but an illegal block in the back brought the ball back to the Trevians’ 20. Once again, the Shamrocks defense forced a punt after three plays.
Tentler marched the Shamrocks downfield on a 65-yard drive and threw a perfect fade to senior Kevin Furlong in the back corner of the end zone from 10 yards out to put his team ahead 14-7 with 1:14 left in the half.
“We had a great start,” Starkey said. “The kickoff return we had called back was a big momentum swing. From that point on, they really played good defensively and well offensively. We turned the ball over and gave them a short field a couple times and you just can’t do that.”
The Shamrocks opened the second half with a methodical 16-play, 77-yard drive that lasted half the quarter. Dibalsamo scored from two yards out on a sweep with 5:37 left in the third quarter to give St. Patrick a 21-7 lead.
Cohen was picked off by Shamrocks senior John Haniacek on a third-and-4 on the Trevians’ next drive. St. Patrick capitalized on the turnover with another clock-eating drive that ended in a Tentler 2-yard quarterback draw and a 28-7 lead with 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
Trevians’ backup senior quarterback Connor DeLoach (4-for-5 passing, 48 yards, 1TD) entered the game early in the fourth quarter and provided some fireworks with a nice 32-yard strike to senior Danny Smith (2 catches, 37 yards, 1 TD) with 19 seconds left to cut the deficit to 28-14.
The battle for starting quarterback was a tight one over the summer, and Starkey knows he has two viable options to go with next week after DeLoach’s impact Friday night.
“We’ll continue to evaluate it in practice,” said Starkey, whose Trevians play host to Glenbrook North next week. “Benji did some good things also. The play before he threw his pick, he scrambled and made a great play. They both bring some good things to the table. We just can’t turn the ball over. We’ve just got to keep getting better in practice.”
Senior fullback Kevin Samuelson led New Trier with 69 yards on 10 carries, while junior tailback Jack Nykaza ran for 55 yards on 12 carries. Senior tailback Josh Perlmutter (3 carries, 23 yards) returned after being out with mononucleosis, but saw limited action.
Tilson caught three passes for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Cohen finished 5-for-14 passing for 58 yards with one TD and two interceptions.