New Trier’s first football game of 2017 — a 31-0 defeat of visiting York in Northfield — featured a couple of special firsts:
Trevians coach Brian Doll, in his fourth season at the helm, notched his first shutout as head coach of his alma mater on Aug. 25. NT junior running back Brian Sitzer ran for a 45-yard touchdown on his first varsity carry.
His second varsity tote wasn’t too shabby, either. Sitzer sprinted for a nine-yard TD and finished with a team-high 98 yards rushing yards on only nine carries.
“Our team speed is faster than any team I’ve had here,” an impressed and pleased Doll said, referring to players on both sides of the ball. “This junior class is incredibly fast, unbelievably fast.”
Senior defensive end/tight end Max Kaufman used his feet to set an emphatic tone in the game’s first series, sacking Dukes senior quarterback David Leonard. Two plays later, NT senior defensive back Jacob Levy came down with an interception on NT’s 43-yard line — the first of three picks by the home club.
Senior DBs Matt Mosher (first quarter) and Mike Neuhaus (fourth quarter) collected the other INTs.
Trevians senior running back Peter Murray (12 rushes, 76 yards) scored the other TDs, with his six-point trips covering 34 and two yards. NT senior kicker Sam Rutherford nailed all four of his extra-point attempts and booted a 37-yard field goal to put the hosts up 17-0 with 5:44 left in the first half.
The offense played well.
So did the special teams.
“I’m really proud of our defense, our defensive coordinator [Jason Dane] and his coaches,” said Doll, whose squad edged York 14-10 in last year’s season opener in Elmhurst. “It’s always tough to prepare for an option offense like York’s, but our coaches did an excellent job getting our players ready.”
New Trier senior quarterback Reed Bianucci looked poised throughout his first varsity start, completing 9-of-17 passes for 136 yards. Six Trevs caught at least one Bianucci pass, with three —senior wideout Anthony Nicholas, senior tight end Brian Kaiser and junior Carson Ochsenhirt — grabbing two apiece.
Nicholas wound up with 52 receiving yards, and Northwestern University-bound Kaiser finished with 45. Nicholas had the snare of the night in the third quarter, gathering a well-placed ball while being tightly covered by a York DB. The 38-yard connection put the ball on the Dukes’ 5-yard line and set up Murray’s second TD run.