Written by Dennis Mahoney.
It took half of his high school career for Evanston wide receiver Sam Bordo to figure out just how much hard work was required to earn a starting job.
Now Bordo has emerged as the go-to guy for the ETHS offense as a senior. He grabbed a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Chris Little in the final 10 minutes as Evanston rallied for a 17-14 Homecoming victory over Glenbrook South Friday night at Lazier Field.
It marked the third time this year that Evanston, now 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Central Suburban League South division play, has come from behind to win.
Bordo’s two touchdown catches --- covering 50 and 8 yards --- came after a frustrating first three quarters for the host Wildkits, who outplayed GBS (4-2) on both sides of the ball but only had a 14-3 deficit to show for it.
But with Little (22-of-39 for 267 yards) doing the pitching and Bordo (8 receptions for 169 yards) doing the catching, Evanston is never out of a game in the fourth quarter. Bordo took a bubble screen 50 yards down the right sideline for a score with 9 minutes, 3 seconds remaining, then climaxed a game-winning 67-yard drive with an 8-yard reception with 2:02 to play.
Glenbrook South couldn’t budge beyond its own 20-yard line in the final minutes before finally turning the ball over on downs against Evanston’s defense.
“For whatever reason, we were not able to push the ball in in the first half. But this is a resilient bunch of guys,” praised Evanston coach Mike Burzawa. “We just kept battling and stuck with our game plan. Our word of the week this week in practice was ‘perseverance’ and we kept telling them that when you get knocked down, that’s when you’ve got to rise up.
“Sam and the others did a good job of getting open tonight. Sam was primarily a backup last year, but he’s worked extremely hard and this year he made a commitment to be the best player he could be. He’s got good speed, he understands coverages well, and he’s got the toughness to catch the football over the middle.
“I’m so proud of these guys. This is a great victory for our school, our community and our football program.”
“We had three or four drives where we just stopped ourselves in the red zone,” Bordo said. “We just had to have more of a nose for the end zone. Our mentality at the end was just to stay with it.
“To come out of here with a win like this is really big for us. I feel like now Chris can read my mind out there. It’s great to have one of the best quarterbacks in the state throwing to you. We’ve been working together since I was a sophomore, and early on I was dropping passes and didn’t run good routes when I first came here. And last year I know I didn’t start to play to my potential until the middle of the season. Now I’m more confident everywhere on the field, and I really get excited when I see Chris scrambling back there. I try to find a hole in the defense because I know he’ll make a great throw.”
Bordo spent most of last summer running pass routes with his brother Victor, a former ETHS receiver now playing at Division III Macalester College in Minnesota, and Wildkits quarterback coach Ryan Healy. All of that work has paid off with a team-best 25 catches for 429 yards and 6 TDs in six games so far. The GBS game marked the second time he’s exceeded 100 yards in a game.
Bordo’s fourth quarter heroics finally made a difference for an Evanston team that out-gained the losers by a 378 to 324 margin in total offense. But GBS struck for a touchdown on its second play from scrimmage on a 61-yard burst by Brett Laurie and the home team was fortunate to only trail by one score at halftime.
The Titans marched to the Evanston 18 in the final seconds of the half, but ETHS defensive back D’wayne Wade intercepted a deflected pass from GBS quarterback Fitz Stadler (4-of-22 for 99 yards) to foil that threat.
Evanston took the second half kickoff and got close enough for Josh Lustig to boot a 29-yard field goal. But the Kits couldn’t take advantage when the GBS backup punter fumbled a snap and Raven Ahrens nailed him for a nine-yard loss back to the 22.
Little suffered a quarterback sack on the next play, then tossed two incomplete passes and Evanston eventually had to punt after a delay of game penalty.
The Titans countered with a 92-yard touchdown drive, with Laurie doing almost all of the damage. He reeled off another long run, this one a 56-yarder, and later caught an 18-yard TD pass from Stadler on a fourth down play when an ETHS defender slipped and fell.