Sidelined most of season, Charlie Schoder helps New Trier beat Evanston

SHARE Sidelined most of season, Charlie Schoder helps New Trier beat Evanston
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NORTHFIELD — The New Trier football team’s sizable fan section had plenty to cheer about during the Trevians’ 44-30 victory over Evanston on Friday night, and chants of “Schoder! Schoder! Schoder!” accompanied two of the game’s most memorable moments.

Senior Charlie Schoder scored twice against the Wildkits. Schoder’s first touchdown came when he received the direct snap in a Wildcat formation, faked a handoff and jetted 14 yards up the middle to give the Trevians a 23-0 lead in the second quarter. The crowd chanted Schoder’s name as he ran to the sidelines and received a slew of congratulatory hugs and head slaps from his teammates.

The Wildkits (3-5, 1-4) clawed back to cut their deficit to 30-22 in the third quarter, but Schoder struck again. The speedy senior faked a handoff, then took off down the right sideline for a 37-yard touchdown that put the game away with 5:09 remaining. Schoder finished with 107 yards on eight carries.

“Our offensive line did a heck of a job, and I couldn’t be prouder of Charlie coming back and playing like that,” New Trier sophomore quarterback Clay Czyzynski said. “That was just ridiculous the way he played.”

Schoder has missed the majority of the 2014 campaign due to a knee injury, but it’s impossible to measure what he has meant to the Trevians (8-1, 4-1) and their coaching staff.

When New Trier coach Brian Doll was hired in April, he reached out to Schoder — a team leader who started at safety as a junior — first.

“Everybody was like, ‘He’s the guy who knows everything,’ ” Doll said. “I wanted to understand, with him, where we were, what needed to improve with the team, where the communication gaps were and so on. He’s been kind of that lifeline for me to understand everything that was going on. I couldn’t thank him more for doing that.”

New Trier’s Charlie Schoder (1) runs up the field as Evanston’s Justin Woods (41) attempts to tackle him during Friday’s game. | Nic Summers/for Sun-Times Media

New Trier’s Charlie Schoder (1) runs up the field as Evanston’s Justin Woods (41) attempts to tackle him during Friday’s game. | Nic Summers/for Sun-Times Media

Schoder was expected to be an integral piece of the Trevians as a senior, but he tore the meniscus in his right knee in May.

Schoder had surgery soon thereafter and he missed the first six weeks of the season. He played sparingly in Weeks 7 and 8.

Schoder didn’t feel sorry for himself while he was out, though.

He became what Doll called “the best sideline teammate.” He was a vocal leader on New Trier’s sideline — one who Czyzynski said was a very positive presence.

“Even in the down times, I tried to keep them up,” Schoder said. “I just had to take on a different role, something I hadn’t done before, but I was obviously willing to do it because of everyone else on the team.”

Schoder would do little things like get New Trier’s players to make noise for the defense on a big third down. He was also a constant source of energy and he celebrated others’ triumphs all the time.

“This season has been the most fun season of football that I’ve ever had because of the success [and] because of everyone on the team,” Schoder said.

Evanston

Evanston’s Brandon Hilliard (8) reels in a catch during Friday’s game against New Trier in Northfield. | Nic Summers/for Sun-Times Media

Evanston’s Brandon Hilliard (8) reels in a catch during Friday’s game against New Trier in Northfield. | Nic Summers/for Sun-Times Media

• Evanston senior wide receiver Brandon Hilliard caught eight passes for 191 yards and four touchdowns against New Trier. Hilliard set a school record for receiving yards in a game.

• Evanston junior quarterback Matt Little finished 14-for-25 with 299 yards passing, four touchdowns and one interception.

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