Boys Varsity Football Suffers a Skokie Skirmish Heartbreak

Boys Varsity Football Suffers a Skokie Skirmish Heartbreak

By George Panoutsos

The Skokie Skirmish is the annual football rivalry game between Niles North and Niles West. Last year our wolves smoked the Vikings, but this year was a head to head battle until the final buzzer. The game hosted at Niles West was kicked off with a fireworks show and the team emerging from an inflatable Wolf. With an enthusiastic start, everyone from the crowd to the team was pumped up and ready for some Saturday football– but Niles West fans left disappointed with a 48-37 loss.

Despite losing the coin toss, Niles West held the Niles North kick return to 20 yards. The Niles West defense shut down North, forcing a punt on the first drive of the game. The wolves’ offense was not able to generate anything either punting the ball back to North, whose quarterback ran in a keeper for the first score of the game with 6 minutes left in the first quarter.

West’s kick return team hit the field and senior Quran Spillman returned the ball to the 43 yard line, setting up running back Brandon Costantino for a massive 57 yard touchdown run. The wolves attempted for the PAT, but it  was not good making the score 7-6 Niles North.

The wolves kicked the ball down to North on the kickoff, and the vikings fumbled the football on their own 7 yard line. However, they managed to recover it just in time. With West holding North to the 7 yard line, they forced a safety on a bad snap making the score 8-7 wolves with 4 minutes left in the 1st quarter. To end the first quarter, senior quarterback Tommy Galanopoulos threw a touchdown pass to sophomore Matt Metz, making the score 15-7 Niles West.

The second quarter began quickly with Niles West’s defense forcing a North turnover and senior kicker Jeremy Pignato sinking a 37 yard field goal. Niles North retaliated with a running touchdown shortly after with 9 minutes left in the half. The Vikings tried for the 2 point conversion, but were shut down making the score 18-13 with West ahead. Quarterback Tommy Galanopoulos ran in a quarterback keeper touchdown, putting the wolves up 24-13.

On the kick return next play, Niles North returned the kickoff for a touchdown, but failed to get the 2 point conversion.  Senior Brandon Costantino of Niles West made the final score of the half with a 51 yard run for a touchdown. The extra point was good, putting the wolves up 31-19 at halftime.

The halftime show at the game featured Niles West’s Pommers and Marching Band. 

The third quarter began with a Niles North rushing touchdown, making the game 31-26 with the wolves clinging to the lead. Senior Quran Spillman came back with a touchdown catch, putting the score at 37-26 in favor of the wolves. The rest of the 3rd quarter went by quietly until Niles North got to business, putting a touchdown on the board with a successful 2 point conversion to make the score 37-34.

The 4th quarter opened with Niles North hot on the heels of West inching back, but the West defense held the North offense until the Vikings running back slammed down back to back touchdowns, putting the game at 48-37 with two minutes left. The West offense tried for a comeback, but could not muster it up, causing a turnover to end the game with Niles North taking a knee.

Niles West head coach Scott Baum commented on his team’s performance. “We need to work on breaking down and making tackles. And finishing a full game of football. We didn’t play a second half of football and that came back to hurt us and cost us the game. Next week, we need to figure out what we need to do to get better, and correct out mistakes.”

Next week the wolves play their Homecoming football game against Maine East on Friday night at 7 pm.