||More Sports||Sign up||School Finder|
Niles West's Jeremiah Jordan (15) reacts after teammate Tommy Williams made a defensive fumble recovery in Skokie, Ill., on Friday, September 7, 2012. | Jon Durr~For Sun-Times Media
The title of the hit single “These Eyes” by Canadian rock band The Guess Who (1968) is the perfect description for Niles West quarterback Mick McGivern. McGivern has been instrumental in leading the Wolves to a 3-0 start on the season.
When asked to describe McGivern’s best quality on the football field, his favorite target, Andrew Milhulet, said exactly that.
“It’s his eyes,” said Milhulet, who caught 12 McGivern passes with one touchdown in Niles West’s 52-6 victory over Maine West on Sept. 7. “Well, I mean he can see the whole field and know where to throw the ball.”
That quality has gone a long way in leading the Wolves to a crucial contest on Sept. 14 at Highland Park. In the Maine West game, he was a highly efficient 16 for 20 passing for 157 yards and 3 touchdowns while taking most of the second half off. He marched the Wolves to touchdowns on their first seven possessions. Niles West amassed 391 yards of offense.
“I just have so many receivers out there to throw to,” McGivern said about Niles West’s strategic spread offense. “And we can really run the ball also.”
“Last year, Mike was winging it a bit,” Wolves coach Scott Baum said. “But now, he’s checking his progressions and following his reads (during the play).”
The senior signal called has completed 38-of-56 passes on the season for 321 yards and seven touchdowns. Not bad for someone who struggled mightily last season.
McGivern was erratic to say the least in a 2-0 loss to arch-rival Niles North in the 2011 “Skokie Skirmish.” On Sept. 1 of this year, he deftly guided the Wolves to a 30-21 victory in that game, throwing 2 touchdown passes.
Besides his field vision, Baum credits one more thing to McGivern’s rapid improvement.
“We have a very good sophomore quarterback (Tommy Galanopoulos) right behind Mike,” Baum said. “Good competition will get you to perform at your highest level.”
“I’m doing a lot of studying of film during the week,” McGivern said. “In the game, I’m just trying to focus downfield.”
Undefeated Niles West (3-0) faces winless Highland Park (0-3) for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Highland Park on Sept. 14.
Highland Park has started 0-3 four straight years and has gone on to make the playoffs in three of those years. On Sept. 7, Highland Park went on the road and gave New Trier all it could handle before succumbing, 35-28.
The game is at Highland Park, and all-area running back (Pioneer Press 2011) Andrew Sledd is finally healthy after a hamstring injury hampered him earlier in the season.
In a 35-28 loss to New Trier, the speedy running back went for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns.
For Highland Park, this figures to be a must-win game to make the playoffs. A 5-4 record will leave them in a difficult position because they had a weaker non-conference schedule. The Wolves will probably be underdogs against No. 2 Maine South, Glenbrook South, Evanston and New Trier when Central Suburban South play begins next week.