New Trier's defensive stop leads to win over GBS
Trevians' 31-21 victory is first over Titans since 2006
September 28, 2012 11:59 PM
All signs pointed to the team owning the ball last as the team likely to emerge as the winner Friday night in the New Trier-Glenbrook South Central Suburban League South division football game in Northfield.
But then New Trier's defense threw up a stop sign.
The Trevians stopped the Titans a yard short of a first down on three consecutive plays and turned that defensive stand with five minutes remaining turned into a 31-21 triumph. It marked the first time since 2006 that New Trier has defeated the Titans.
New Trier quarterback Frank Nicholas turns the corner past Glenbrook South lineman Michael Jobski during the Trevians' 31-21 win Friday in Northfield. 9Photo by Tony Orona www.tophotoinc.smugmug.com)
On fourth down and 2, linebacker Graham King and lineman Michael Sernus dragged down GBS quarterback Max Cohen after a gain of just one with the host team nursing a slim 24-21 lead.
New Trier quarterback Frank Nicholas scored his second rushing touchdown of the game eight plays later to clinch the Trevians' first CSL South triumph of the year while handing the Titans their first defeat. Both teams are now 3-3 overall and 1-1 in league play.
King, who was also in on a third-down stop along with teammate Conor Kolstad to knock Brett Laurie down for a 1-yard loss, wasn't certain why he was in the right place at the right time.
All he knew in the aftermath was that it was better than having your collective backs to the wall, the position the Trevians would have found themselves in after losing to Maine South the previous week.
"It was a crucial point in the game, and everyone on the defense knew they had to step up," King said. "We wanted to come out and prove something. We were expecting that play on fourth down (a run to the right side by Cohen). I just read my keys and did what I'm coached to do.
"It was a little frustrating earlier in the game when they kept completing passes for big gains on third down like that. We just had to keep fighting. Good defenses can overcome things like that."
"We came out fired up. We obviously didn't want to lose tonight, because we knew it would put our backs against the wall when it comes to making the state playoffs," Sernus said. "We got the big plays we needed – eventually."
While King and Co. may have anticipated the fourth-down play, New Trier coach Dan Starkey wasn't about to take any credit on the sidelines for making the defensive call.
New Trier's Conor Kolstad (right) prepares to tackle Glenbrook South's Brett Laurie during Friday's game. (Photo by Tony Orona www.tophotoinc.smugmug.com)
"I didn't expect their quarterback to run the ball," Starkey said. "But that was a huge stop for us. I think what happened is that our kids just attacked and got upfield on that series.
"In a back-and-forth game like that, we really kept our composure and executed well. They believed in what we were doing and I thought they brought honor to New Trier football tonight. That's a high-powered offense that GBS has, with the way they can control the ball, and I have a lot of respect for their program. You have to give our offense and our special teams credit, too. I'm really proud of the way they all battled tonight."
Nicholas had touchdown runs of 3 and 2 yards for the winners and also threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Devin Boehm. Overall, the Trevians' junior carried 19 times for 108 yards and completed 15-of-17 passes for 161 yards.
New Trier's other scores came on a 2-yard run by Michael Thomas and a 22-yard field goal by Grant Amick that broke a 21-21 tie with 7 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the game.
For the Titans, Cohen connected on 16-of-26 passes for 228 yards, including touchdown tosses to Cody Carroll (15 and 11 yards) and Laurie (33 yards). GBS only mustered 88 yards on the ground, though, with most of those yards coming outside the tackles.
"All night, we couldn't run the ball inside," said GBS coach Mike Noll by way of explaining his decision to try Cohen on a quarterback keeper on the game's pivotal play. "Down the stretch we just weren't strong enough to win this game. Traditionally we have been – but not tonight.
"We couldn't make a yard when we needed to. We tried a new look (with Cohen), but we didn't block well and we didn't run it well. We just didn't execute in a critical situation. We played hard, but at this time of year, you have to win games in the fourth quarter."
New Trier's Devin Boehm (left) looks to make a move as Glenbrook South's Brennan Cascarano (58) and Tommy O'Hara close in during Friday's game. (Photo by Tony Orona www.tophotoinc.smugmug.com)
Neither defense shined in the first three periods. New Trier's scores came on drives covering 80, 58 and 74 yards to forge that 21-21 tie, while GBS marched 28 yards (after a Paul Jones interception), 70 yards and 80 yards thanks to Cohen's knack for keeping drives alive, even when faced with third and long.
A fourth-down pass interference penalty – after King and Sernus had sacked Cohen on third down –gave the Titans new life to start the second half, and they capitalized three plays later when Cohen hit Carroll (11 receptions, 117 yards) for six points.
The Trevians, however, responded with a 13-play, 74-yard drive that climaxed with Thomas crashing in from the 2 to tie the score at 21-21. A short GBS punt then led to Amick's field goal.
Cohen's completion to Carroll left the visitors just inches short of a first down at their own 41 on GBS’ next possession. But fullback Matt Hoshaw was held to no gain by New Trier tackler Jack Buckingham, and the drive died two plays later after back-to-back penetrations by King and his cohorts.