Over the past week or so, the Evanston boys’ football team have lost the sense of urgency that had propelled a group of untested seniors into an unbeaten start to the 2021 season.
The Wildkits finally paid the price for lowering their level of play, suffering a 2-1 loss to Glenbrook North on Tuesday night at Northbrook.
The good news for the team of head coach Franz Calixte? Despite the loss, which cost Evanston Township High School its first Central Suburban League South Division Championship since 2014, and a possible No.1 seed in the Illinois High School Association Sectional tournament, at least now the Wildkits will have time to regroup and do some playoff damage.
A mediocre team from Glenbrook North (now 7-4-3 on the season) played the spoiler role in the conference final game to visit ETHS. The Kits fell to 9-1-3 that year and finished 3-1-1 in the league, handing the league title to rival New Trier (4-1).
Evanston’s second-half rally came to nothing despite Sebastian Leon’s successful penalty kick with 6 minutes and 41 seconds left.
“GBN was stronger and more disciplined tonight. The most talented team don’t always win, ”said Calixte. “We haven’t had that sense of urgency lately, to go out and get the next goal and then the next. We had that in the first 9 minutes tonight, but then they picked up the momentum and we hit a wall. We have to find more energy, more sense of urgency in this streak from the 20th to the 30th minute.
“Not winning the conference is difficult. We don’t have anyone who has played in a state tournament game before and wanted to see how they would react tonight in a playoff type game. At the end of the day, we failed.
“Sometimes you need a slap in the mouth before the state playoffs start, and that can be a good thing for a team.”
Unable to break through the Spartans’ limp defense early in the game, Evanston surrendered a goal from GBN’s Ian Lee in the 13th minute. Ten minutes later, the hosts increased their advantage to two goals when an Evanston defender was whistled for a pushing foul and Miles Wolder hammered his direct kick in front of Evanston goalkeeper Chance Pape.