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New Trier's Nick Hendricks (5) throws a touchdown pass against Maine South in the second half of the Hawks 45-14 win on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 in Park Ridge. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Kevin Keene and the rest of the defensive linemen were the last group of New Trier players to leave the field Friday at Maine South.
Trevians assistant coach James Davis talked to his charges separately for more than 15 minutes after the team’s 45-14 loss to the Hawks, the No. 1 team in the Sun-Times poll.
Despite the extra attention after the defeat, Keene didn’t mind the extended postgame speech.
“He pushes us nonstop,” Keene said of Davis. “He’s always teaching us. I like that.”
While Friday might not have been the line’s finest couple of hours, New Trier’s D-linemen are the anchors of the defense. Maine South is one of those teams that makes most opponents look vulnerable.
“They really were the better team, but it wasn’t because we weren’t prepared,” Keene said. “They just are a better team, but we also missed doing a lot of the little things. When you do that against a team like Maine South, they will take advantage of you.”
A two-year starter, Keene — a 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive end — is a student of the game and wants to play football in college, which is why he’s intent on absorbing all the information thrown at him.
“That game was a good learning experience,” said Keene, who also plays volleyball at New Trier. “We took a lot out of it.”
Keene and Jack Buckingham are the line’s two senior leaders. Buckingham, who’s 6-3 and 230 pounds, plays both end and tackle.
“Coming into the season, we felt like the defensive line was going to be a strength for us,” New Trier coach Dan Starkey said. “They’ve done a good job for us so far, and it will continue to be an area we will lean on.”
In addition to the seniors, juniors John Polydoris, Michael Sernus and Rijad Pekmez are performing at a high level. Both Polydoris and Sernus played varsity as sophomores.
“The thing about us is we have so much depth there,” Keene said. “We can throw in multiple guys who are good at different things. We have the athleticism and discipline to be a force.”
With Friday’s loss, New Trier dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the CSL South. In order to keep the program’s playoff streak alive, the Trevians, who haven’t missed the postseason since 2002, need to win at least three of their final four games.
New Trier hosts Glenbrook South on Friday. The Titans own a five-game winning streak against the Trevians. New Trier’s last win in the series was a 46-45 victory in 2006.