Dawkins delivers 4 TDs in Wildkit win over Fremd
Drew Dawkins already has at least one official offer to play college football on scholarship and has also drawn the notice of several other schools that haven’t quite made that kind of commitment to him yet.
But if the Evanston senior quarterback is still sending out game tapes trying to get more attention, he ought to include an entire reel devoted to his performance Friday night in Palatine.
Dawkins delivered one of the best performances of his varsity career --- running for two touchdowns and passing for two more --- as the Wildkits thrashed winless Fremd 32-7.
The best 2-yard TD run any quarterback could pull off was part of Dawkins’ busy night as the Wildkits bounced back from last week’s loss to Palatine. Evanston’s first road win after three straight home games was a testament to Dawkins’ playmaking ability and the visitors also forced four turnovers while improving to 3-1.
Dawkins completed 11-of-13 passes for 189 yards, including TD tosses covering 27 and 39 yards to Mike Axelrood, and scored on a couple of short runs. Senior Charlie Lindland booted a pair of field goals, from 37 and 32 yards out, as part of an all-around dominating performance by the visitors.
Friday’s victory marked the 10th triumph --- against 5 defeats --- for Dawkins as a varsity quarterback, including one as a sophomore. His leadership and game management skills have blossomed every year and now the 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior can be considered in the “playmaker” category.
ETHS head coach Mike Burzawa will likely lean on the senior standout even more the next two weeks as the Kits try to match up against Central Suburban League South division powers Maine South and New Trier. Dawkins has paced Evanston in rushing attempts over the past two weeks, although a sack and a fumbled snap limited his overall yards against Fremd to just 11 in 12 carries.
“Drew’s our leader out there and he executes things so well for us,” Burzawa praised. “He’s a dual threat back there at quarterback and right now he’s probably our best running back. To beat the top teams we’re going to have to utilize all of our running backs, and I thought he played a whale of a game tonight.
“I didn’t think he had a real good rhythm going in the first half, but he settled in and made some big vertical shots (in the passing game) for us. He’s a smart player, and he’s our leader.”
With his team already leading 13-0, Dawkins drove the Kits 77 yards in just 6 plays right before halftime to put the game out of reach of a punchless Viking team at 19-0. Fremd had marched to the ETHS 20, but on fourth down Axelrood and Charlie Gruner sniffed out a pitchout to Viking running back Rasheed Amos and nailed him for a 3-yard loss.
A 33-yard catch-and-run by Malik Ross did most of the damage on Evanston’s subsequent scoring drive. Three plays later, Dawkins executed a play-action fake and found Axelrood for a 27-yard scoring strike with just 29 seconds remaining before halftime.
Evanston’s opening drive of the second half appeared to stall when the Kits marched to the Fremd 11, then faced fourth and one from the 2.
The call was a quarterback sneak and at first Dawkins seemed to be swallowed up by the interior of the Viking line. But he kept the play alive --- backed off the line of scrimmage --- and then raced around right end to paydirt to boost Evanston’s lead to 32-0 with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
“I got stuffed, so I just tried to make a move and I slipped outside,” Dawkins said. “Because of my (lack of) size I’m usually just trying to keep plays alive, and this was one of those plays.
“I feel like the game has slowed down for me with all of the varsity experience I have now. I know the offense really well and I have a connection with Coach Buzz (Burzawa). I feel a lot more confident this year, and I have some great receivers to work with. Axe (Axelrood) will pretty much go up and get anything if you throw the ball up there.
“I feel really confident about this team, even though we lost a lot of guys from last year in the offensive line. Those guys really worked hard in the off-season --- I saw it --- and they’ve improved in every single game this season. I think we’re a playoff team.”
On defense, the Kits counted interceptions from Gruner and Amir Abdullah, plus fumble recoveries by Cameron Williams and Fletcher Brown. Fremd totaled just 120 yards rushing and 52 passing, and the only scoring drive for the Vikings on their Homecoming night game against Evanston’s reserves in the final quarter.
“They picked us to play for Homecoming, and that wasn’t a good decision,” said Burzawa. “We didn’t like the fact that Palatine was able to run the ball so well against us last week and we really got after it tonight. It felt good to be able to bounce back like that against a team with its back up against the wall.”