New Trier cornerbacks Nick Krauskopf and Francis Fay strive to be both great players and great teammates.
Both displayed those skills last week as the Trevians football team defeated Niles West 35-21. Prior to the Oct. 17 game, the only team that had held Niles West to 21 points this season was undefeated Maine South.
Krauskopf, a senior, gave the Trevians quick momentum by forcing an early fumble, and Fay, who leads the Trevians in interceptions, had an important pick in the game.
After the game, neither Krauskopf nor Fay mentioned their own impressive plays. Instead, they were quick to praise one another.
Krauskopf and Fay, a sophomore, have known each other since middle school. Now, despite a two-year age difference, the two share duties in the Trevians’ secondary. Krauskopf is a returning starter, while Fay is starting on the varsity squad for the first time.
Krauskopf said that although he’s helped Fay adjust to his new role, it’s Fay’s natural abilities that have allowed him to contribute so much this season.
“Fay has jelled with the entire team as a sophomore and especially the defensive backs,” Krauskopf said. “I’ve helped him as a corner, but his instincts, athletic ability and speed has made him a great player already.”
Fay, in turn, said he’s learned a lot from his more experienced counterpart.
“The one thing about Nick is that he never takes playing football for granted: He knows how hard you have to work,” Fay said. “It makes me want to play harder, playing next to him.”
After the Oct. 17 victory, Fay and Krauskopf said they thought the defense could have played better.
“It wasn’t perfect,” Krauskopf said. “As a defense we have really high expectations, and we don’t like to give up anything.”
New Trier’s high expectations have likely contributed to the team’s playoff berth.
“Senior season, you never want it to end,” Krauskopf said. “So we are going to try to make a run in the playoffs and we’re very confident.”
Krauskopf also attributed the team’s success to its new coaches. He said he was nervous about playing his final year with a new coach, but that Brian Doll has brought a new level of intensity to the Trevians (7-1) in his first season.
Doll said it’s been interesting to watch Fay, with his “flash-and-dash” style, work with Krauskopf, who’s more of a quiet leader.
“I love the way they work together and I love the differences in their personalities. It makes for a fun environment,” Doll said.
New Trier also has a new defensive backs coach, Jason Dane.
“[He] has taught us to take pride in being a great defense and has gotten us extremely prepared for opponents’ offenses,” Krauskopf said of Dane.