Friday Night Lights Return with the “Skokie Skirmish”

The trophy that is given to the winner of the West vs. North game is handed to Niles West players.

By Anna Lusson, Staff Writer

As the sun sets over Niles North, the Niles West football team prepares to face their rivals, the Niles North Vikings. With both sides of the field full of screaming students cheering for their school, the Wolves were ready to give it their all.

In the sports world, the “Skokie Skirmish” is used to describe the game in which the two high schools in Skokie face each other. This game was significant for the Niles West Football team and encouraged lots of students to attend the game to show their school spirit.

The Niles West Wolves won against Niles North 27-14, now with a record of 2-0. Sophomore Christian Guzman got the first touchdown of the night, followed by juniors Joey Pantazis and Aidan Delisi who scored the second and third touchdown.

This season, the football team welcomes a new quarterback, junior John Bae who is proud of his teams’ hard work in this game specifically. “Our offensive lineman did a phenomenal job blocking throughout the game, allowing each of our running backs, Aidan Delisi and Joey Pantazis, to score a touchdown through the run,” Bae said. He credits their success to the hard work the team has put in during off-season and summer camps as well as the coaches’ dedication to the team.

Wolves head coach, Nick Toresso praises his team for their maturity during such a big game. “These guys played with great composure and passion. They stayed focused on who we are and not who we were playing. And that was the emphasis all week. They played with grit and for one another and it was really awesome to see,” Toresso said. “They played the game the right way despite what was going on across the field. It also stood out how they played as a unit and were incredibly unselfish in their roles. It was really impressive to see such a young group take those kind of strides after being challenged by our coaches and leaders after our week 1 game.”

Junior Aidan Delisi praises their performance of both the defense and offense. “On offense, our o-line blocked their butts off and I feel like they deserve way more recognition than they actually get. On the defensive side of the ball we played as one. Even when there were explosive plays which put the offense in the red zone, we didn’t give up. We had that ‘next play mentality’ and that’s the reason I believe we excelled as a defense.”

The team had many early morning practices over the summer, starting at five in the morning. They have been working all off-season since the end of last year’s season. This win is very well deserved and worked for by the Wolves.

“We’ve been working really hard up to this point,” junior Matei Cotofrea said. “We played well with the momentum we gained from the first drive with the touchdown pass we scored. We stayed focused during the game because we knew the game isn’t over until it’s over.”

Come out to the next home football game on Sep. 15 and cheer on the football team as they face Elk Grove. Good luck Wolves!