In another tough night for the Highland Park Giants last Friday, the high school football team lost 37-13 to the New Trier Trevians and took its record to 0-3 for the season.
Earlier: Giants Falter Against Lake Forest
There were signs of hope for the Giants early on, but costly mistakes prevented the team from making any magic happen.
Head coach Hal Chiodo was quick to recognize his players’ efforts.
“I’m extremely proud of how our guys played tonight; they showed a lot of guts out there,” he said.
New Trier broke out to an early lead with a 30-yard pass from senior quarterback Jack Nykaza to junior wide receiver Devin Hoehm that completed a four-play drive that consumed 1 minutes and 29 seconds off the clock.
After the Giants blocked the extra point attempt, they responded with a five-play, 1:39-minute drive that ended with a 37-yard scamper by junior running back Andrew Sled.
The muffed snap on the extra point resulted in a 6-6 tie with 8:44 left in the first quarter. After that, the Trevians began feasting on a smorgasbord of points and never looked back. They followed up the Giants’ touchdown with a three-play, 76-yard drive that finished with a perfect 62-yard touchdown pass from Nykaza to Hoehm.
The Giants had their opportunities, and looked solid as they marched down the field on the next drive. But the team's 12-play, 2:09-minute drive resulted in 0 points after a turnover on downs deep in Trevians’ territory.
“We just didn’t capitalize on the plays we needed to,” Chiodo said after the game.
New Trier’s third drive of the half ended with a field goal to put it up by 10, but the Giants’ came out strong on their following drive. Sled not only threw a 38-yard pass to senior tight end Gordy Kelch on a well-designed trick play, he capped off the drive with a 4-yard TD rush, his second of the game.
The Giants were well within striking distance, trailing 16-13 with 4:07 left in the first half. But New Trier waltzed down the field on its next possession, taking 3:17 off the clock and ending the drive in a 17-yard touchdown grab by Hoehm, his third of the half.
What followed was probably the most devastating blow to the Giants, when Sled fumbled with 31 seconds left in the first half. New Trier linebacker Grant Amick recovered the ball and took it all the way to the house. The extra point made the score 30-13 going into the second half.
The second half didn’t involve as much scoring as the first, and the Giant defense looked strong for both quarters, but by then the damage was done.
“I thought the defense played much better in the second half. We got after the quarterback and put a lot of pressure on him,” Chiodo said.
While the first half didn’t include any punts by either side, the Giants forced New Trier to punt twice in the third quarter, increasing their time of possession as well as play count.
The play in the second half was also much more physical by both sides.
“We got something going there,” Chiodo said, “We were just too far down at that point.”
A costly offside call on Highland Park with 9:37 left in the fourth quarter was another mistake that hurt the Giants last Friday. With the Trevians on their own 20 yard line, going for it on fourth and one, Nykaza drew the defensive line offside with a hard count. That continued a drive that milked most of the fourth quarter clock and ended with a touchdown run by Daniel Olaniyan that would eventually put the Trevians up 37-13.
While New Trier was tagged with 12 penalties, including two personal fouls, the Giants never exploited those errors.
During the game, Chiodo tried alternating between senior quarterbacks Jason Goldstein and Mordini.
“We were just waiting for one of them to get hot,” the coach said.
Unfortunately, neither of them did. That was all too apparent when Mordini threw an interception with 15 seconds left in the game, sealing the victory for New Trier and dropping the Giants to 0-3 on the season.
“There were just too many mistakes for us to come back,” Chiodo said. “But I felt like we brought a lot of fight tonight and I think we have a lot of energy going into next week.”
The Giants will take that momentum into Niles West on Friday, when they will seek their first win of the season.