This could go down as the Great Peter Murray Mystery.
Was he? Or, was he not the one who forced the fumble?
Murray, a two-way starter for New Trier, made things a little mysterious in a post-game interview, following his team’s 27-17 road victory at Evanston on Sept. 28.
It sure looked like it was No. 8 — Peter Murray — who yanked the ball out of the hands of Evanston quarterback Drew Dawkins with 7:04 left in the fourth quarter.
But Murray, a linebacker on defense, wasn’t going to speak out of turn.
“I [definitely] was in on the hit,” said the 6-foot, 200-pound senior.
Then, as he thought more about it, Murray humbly added: “I’m pretty sure it was me.”
New Trier head coach Brian Doll, a key eyewitness, was a little more convinced.
“It was him,” said the coach.
No one is denying that the turnover came at a critical junction in this spirited CSL South contest. The Wildkits (3-3, 0-2), who feature a highly explosive offense, trailed by only three points, 20-17, at the time.
“It was a huge momentum shift in the game,” said Murray. “Credit Carson [Kosanovich], as well. He picked up the ball, made a nice run and put us in the red zone.”
Two plays later, the Trevians (4-2, 2-0) went up by 10 points on a 10-yard touchdown run by Carson Ochsenhirt and a PAT kick by Graham Dable.
Murray is one of the key playmakers in the NT lineup. In addition to making five tackles, he ran the ball nine times for 63 yards.
“Peter is a workhorse on both sides of the ball,” said Doll. “We rotate him at running back, and he’s one of the backbones of our defense.
“He’s a good runner, and a good blocker,” the coach added. “He was leading the way on lot of those runs by Carson [Ochsenhirt] tonight.”
And Murray goes about his business without much fanfare.
“He’s a jack of all trades,” Doll said. “And those kind of guys go unnoticed.”
NT’s Game Balls: Carson Ochsenhirt (QB), Brian Sitzer (RB-DB), Peter Murray (RB-LB), Matt Mosher (DB), Carson Kosanovich (DB), Duke Olges (TE/DL), Donovan Perkins (DB)
Evanston’s Game Balls: Drew Dawkins (QB), Malik Ross (WR), Quadre Nicholson (RB)
NT’s Offensive Player of the Game: Ochsenhirt
NT’s Defensive Player of the Game: Mosher
NT’s Offensive Stat Leaders:
— Ochsenhirt (21 rushes, 137 yards, 10-yard TD run; 4-11-1, 52 yards)
— Sitzer (16 rushes, 97 yards, 3-yard TD run, 25-yard TD run)
— Murray (9 rushes, 63 yards)
— Anthony Nicholas (3 catches, 45 yards)
— Olges (1 catch, 7 yards)
— Graham Dable (2 28-yard field goals)
Evanston’s Offensive Stat Leaders:
— Dawkins (15 rushes, 78 yards; 8-13-1, 158 yards, 1 TD)
— Ross (4 catches, 81 yards, 50-yard TD catch)
— Nicholson (14 rushes, 95 yards, 2-yard TD run)
— Charlie Lindland (2 catches, 30 yards)
— Michael Axelrod (2 catches, 47 yards)
NT’s Defensive Stat Leaders:
— Mosher (8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss)
— Kasanovich (2 tackles, 1 interception, fumble recovery)
— Sitzer (5 tackles, 2 TFLs)
— Murray (5 tackles, forced fumble)
— Perkins (7 tackles, 10-yard QB sack)
— Olges (3 tackles, 10-yard QB sack)
— Wilson MacRitchie (5 tackles)
— Max Kaufman (3 tackles)
— Kevin Conaghan (2 tackles, 12-yard QB sack)
— Aris Douvlis (fumble recovery)
NT’s Unsung Heroes: Dable, MacRitchie, Cameron Rosin
Notable: Matt Mosher is putting together an outstanding season at safety. “He’s been unreal,” said NT head coach Brian Doll. “One of the best safeties that we’ve had here.” Mosher came ready to play. On the very first play from scrimmage, he tackled Evanston receiver Malik Ross for a two-yard loss. He also had a TFL in the third quarter. … NT junior Brian Sitzer showed off his speed and vision in amassing 97 rushing yards. His 25-yard TD run with 10:07 left in the third quarter was impressive. He also scored on a three-yard run in the opening quarter. Defensively, Sitzer recorded two tackles for loss. … The two Carsons continue to captivate. Junior quarterback Carson Ochsenhirt ran the ball 21 times for 137 yards. He had six carries of 10 yards or more. Carson Kasanovich was a difference-maker on defense. He intercepted a pass in the first quarter and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter.
Sound Bite: “Our defense is dialed in. It has an identity. It’s been that way all year — even in our losses [to Warren and Barrington]. Jason Dane, our defensive coordinator, has done a great job.” — NT head coach Brian Doll.