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Rout(e) 66

in Featured/Football by

Photo by Patti Wilk
Kaneland scores on 1st 6 possessions in NIB-12 tilt with DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fellow Northern Illinois Big XII (NIB-12) schools must be shaking their collective heads when it comes to the prospect of facing Kaneland football.

Meanwhile, the Knights continue to raise their fists in triumph.

The latest example was this past Friday, in which the Knights rolled the DeKalb Barbs by a final of 66-23 at Peterson Field in Maple Park.

Kaneland improved to 6-0, with a 2-0 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII East Division play. The Knights have yet to lose a conference game since the inception of the NIB-12.

Additionally, Kaneland has won 25 regular season contests in a row, and 27 of its last 29 overall.

With the latest home victory, Kaneland has not lost at home since an overtime loss at the hands of Geneva in 2009.

KHS has now defeated DeKalb seven times in a row, although that streak was in jeopardy a year ago when the Barbs enjoyed a 17-point third quarter lead before a gargantuan KHS comeback.

“We’re trying to prove every week that we want to be a good team,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We’ve got to be able to beat a team like this to do what we want to do.”

There would be no early lead for DeKalb, with the Knights rattling off 38 straight points after an initial 7-7 tie.

Knight quarterback Drew David was 7-of-14 for 209 yards, while Kaneland also employed two 100-yard rushers due to bullish running. Jesse Balluff had 162 yards on 11 carries, while teammate and usual goal-line option Nate Dyer had 11 carries for 111 yards.

Dylan Nauert had four catches for 128 yards to lead the receiver corps.

The scoring festivities started with a 20-yard touchdown throw from David to Martinelli two-and-a-half minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead.

DeKalb had its brief celebratory moment on an 88-yard Dylan Hottsmith kickoff return for a touchdown that tied the score 14 seconds later.

KHS responded three plays later on a 60-yard TD pass to Nauert over the middle to make it 14-7 with 8:07 left in the first.

After a Barb punt snap went awry, the Knights took over at DeKalb’s 15-yard line and punched it in with Dyer two plays later on a 4-yard score with 7:29 to go, making it 21-7.

DeKalb came up empty on its next drive, and Balluff ran to the endzone from the 14-yard line with 3:50 to go in the first for a 28-7 lead.

In the second frame, the Knights’ David ran it on the next drive with 9:45 to go for a 35-7 lead. DeKalb was picked off by Kory Harner, setting up shop at the Barbs’ 20. Nauert caught a 19-yard TD pass on the third play of the drive to make it 42-7 with 7:50 to go in the half.

KHS’ Martinelli returned a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown, which would have set the Knights’ third running clock of the season into effect, but it was called back on a holding penalty, and David threw a pick near the goal line to end the drive.

Matt Rodriguez hit a 43-yard field goal on the next drive for a 45-7 lead with 1:51 to go in the half.

A punt by DeKalb was swarmed by Kaneland special teams, giving the ball to KHS at the 18 of the Barbs.

Nauert caught a TD pass that was negated by a holding penalty, which led to Rodriguez missing a 28-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.

The third-quarter scoring began on a DeKalb touchdown throw with 6:25 to go, which made it 45-14. Balluff’s 80-yard touchdown run 21 seconds later brought the margin to 52-15.

Martinelli caught a four-yard score on the next drive to kick in the running clock with 3:13 to go in the third for a 59-14 edge.

Dyer closed the scoring out in the fourth quarter with 8:35 to play on a touchdown run.

Massive touchdown runs on Friday had the offensive line to thank.

“On both sides, the line is playing at a very high level,” lineman Jamaureo Phillips said. “We have ups and downs, but we are consistent and we’re working on it.”

Kaneland heads to Kendall County to visit the Yorkville Foxes on Friday, Oct. 5. Yorkville comes off a 44-41 loss to visiting Rochelle this past Friday, and sits at 3-3 with an 0-2 mark in NIB-12 play.

Ryley Bailey named WIAC Offensive Player of the Week

in Football by

Platteville, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Platteville football team defeated UW-Eau Claire, 49-19, last week.

Ryley Bailey, a junior wide receiver from Elburn, played a key role in the win. The efforts by Bailey and McWethy earned them WIAC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors, respectively.

Bailey caught 11 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Both the 11 receptions and 191 yards were a career best for Bailey and marked the second time in 2012 that he has caught two touchdown passes in a game. The 11 receptions and 191 yards are the most by a Pioneer since a 16-catch, 195-yard effort by Darin Blaser on Sept. 11, 2010, against University of Dubuque (Iowa). Bailey also earned recognition from D3football.com, as he was named to the Scoutware Team of the Week, and his second touchdown reception was one of 10 plays recognized in the Plays of the Week.

Roast of Rochelle

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Dylan Nauert (20) supplies a good block for running back Jesse Balluff (30). Kaneland went to Rochelle Friday and came away with a solid 34-6 victory. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights’ passing attack works with defense in 34-6 win at Rochelle
by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—Knights football is making road quests feel like home.

That’s how good they’ve been playing.

Coming to the end of the 2012 opening stretch in which they’ve played four of their first five games on the road, the Knights invaded their first Northern Illinois Big XII East division test: Rochelle.

The Knights held Rochelle’s vaunted wing-T offense in check, subdued the Hubs’ determination after losing to KHS in the Class 5A quarterfinals 10 months ago, and came away with a 34-6 win. That is the sixth consecutive win over Rochelle, a span that started following the Knights’ loss that launched the Hubs’ new football facility in 2007.

The Knights’ staunch defense allowed just 140 yards to the running game of Rochelle, and has allowed just six points in the last three games.

Junior QB Drew David was 11-for-19 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while receiver Dylan Nauert hauled in five passes for 135 yards and two scores.

“Our line’s been blocking really well. When they give me lots of time and I’m able to get it to those guys, they’re able to make guys miss and can take it all the way at any time,” David said.

After a scoreless tie marked the first quarter of play, the Knights converted points on their fourth drive.

Nauert hauled in a pass, emerged from an attempted tackle, and went down the KHS sideline for an 86-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 6:49 remaining in the first half.

“I knew I had to run the hitch and I ran it. I saw the opening and ran as fast as I could,” Nauert said.

David threw a pick on the next drive, but after forcing Rochelle to punt, Jesse Balluff caught a pass in stride and raced 58 yards for another score at a 14-0 lead with 1:40 to go before halftime.

Rochelle’s Tony Walsh, the Hubs’ leading rusher on the night, capped an eight-play drive with a four-yard score with 2:41 to go in the third frame, but the extra-point attempt missed to put the score at 14-6.

Whatever good feeling the Hubs had was quickly erased as runs by David, Balluff and Nate Dyer advanced the ball, along with a pass to Zack Martinelli.

Balluff plunged in from the two-yard line to make the score 21-6 with 1:23 to go in the third quarter.

Kaneland’s two scoring drives in the final 12-minute set happened with a Dyer touchdown run with 10:26 to play, and when Nauert caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 remaining.

“They’re just getting better and better,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We found out what they’re good at and they’re making improvements. Everything we do starts with the guys up front.”

For the third straight year, Kaneland opened its season 5-0 (1-0 in the NIB-12 East).

The Knights have yet to lose a conference game since the inception of the new school formation in 2010. Their regular season win streak sits at 24, with wins in 26 of its last 28 contests, and they have not lost a road game since losing in Geneva in week eight of 2008.

The Knights host DeKalb on Friday, Sept. 28, with the 1-4 Barbs coming off a win against Streator.

KHS serves up the usual

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Ryan Lawrence intercepts a pass in the first quarter. Photo by Patti Wilk

Rushing, D just the combination for 41-0 win at Streator
by Mike Slodki
STREATOR, Ill.—You’ll have to excuse the Kaneland Knights’ football squad for being defensive.

After all, that’s what worked on Friday night.

Traveling south on Route 23, the victory tour rested at Streator High School, where KHS was too much for the winless host Bulldogs in a 41-0 decision.

Kaneland set the tone on the ground and saw power rushes from Jesse Balluff (95 yards rushing), Nate Dyer and trackster-like speed from Dylan Nauert on separate touchdown runs, while the defense was physical and opportunistic—exemplified by a Ryan Lawrence interception return for a touchdown.

KHS made tracks with 287 yards rushing, with the Knight swarm allowing just 110 yards against its crossover foe from the Northern Illinois Big XII West division.

For Kaneland, the regular season win streak hit 23, while Streator’s opposite trajectory hit 22 on the loss streak after Friday.

KHS has now won 28 out of its last 30 contests.

Kaneland has not allowed a score since the final seconds of the win over Huntley on Aug. 31.

For the second week in a row, the running clock clicked in with 4:53 remaining in the second quarter, after Lawrence leaped in the air to grab an errant pass and weaved around blockers to convert on a 34-yard interception touchdown.

“I get a lot of practice with carrying the ball during practice,” Lawrence said. “With the mentality, I had to switch over quick from defense, and it wasn’t a hard task to do. With our defense setting up blocks, it made it so much easier.”

On the opening drive, the last six plays were all Jesse Balluff rushes on the 75-yard drive. It came to an end on a 10-yard scoring run with 8:14 left in the first.

When Streator came up empty on the next drive after a Lawrence sack on fourth down, Balluff scored again on a three-yard TD run that capped a 30-yard drive in six plays. The score made it 14-0 with 4:41 to go in the opening frame.

The next drive was pounded home when quarterback Drew David threw his lone TD pass of the night after escaping Bulldog pressure and hitting a diving Zack Martinelli on an 11-yard score. The conversion with :55 left in the first set the score at 21-0.

In the second quarter, Streator’s initial drive resulted in a punt, and Kaneland made them pay when Nauert turned on the afterburners for a 67-yard touchdown run down the Streator sideline for a 28-0 edge with 10:56 left in the first half.

Kaneland’s next drive in the quarter went four running plays, with Dyer powering in from the three, for a 34-0 lead with 6:34 to go. Dyer originally set the score up on a 27-yard carry that busted up several Bulldog tackle attempts.

The score set in motion the Lawrence pick-six on the next drive, which was the first defensive score for KHS since a Taylor Andrews fumble return in 2010 against the visiting Sycamore Spartans.

“On that play, (Ben) Bradford got a nice shot on the quarterback as he threw it, and I knew no one was going to get Ryan,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Fedderly and company prepare for the NIB-12 East slate, beginning with the familiar rival Rochelle Hubs in Ogle County on Friday, Sept. 21.

KHS defeated the Hubs twice in 2011: 35-14 in Maple Park on Sept. 23, 2011, and a 20-14 Class 5A State quarterfinal win in Rochelle on Nov. 12, 2011.

“We’re going to play a really tough Rochelle team that we played in the quarterfinals,” Fedderly said. “It’s going to be like a playoff atmosphere and playoff football.”

Demolition Knight

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Running back Jesse Balluff heads for the end zone for a score during the first quarter of Kaneland’s 42-0 home victory against Sterling on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

Kaneland dominates on both sides of ball in 42-0 rout of Sterling
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland and Sterling’s football programs have had two highly anticipated and dramatic meetings in the last seven seasons.

The battle on Friday in Maple Park was no less anticipated, but maybe less dramatic.

A stifling rush defense and an all-cylinders offense paved the way for a 42-0 win over the visiting and AP-ranked Golden Warriors, raising the Kaneland season mark to 3-0. Sterling fell to 2-1.

KHS saw its regular season win streak extend to 22. The Knights have now won 27 out of their last 29 overall contests.

“Sterling is a playoff-caliber team, and we thought it would be a playoff atmosphere,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We really wanted to be up and show that we are a good team.”

Quarterback Drew David employed the run at his disposal and was a modest six-of-10 for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Dyer had 70 yards rushing.

Even before they both shared spots in the Northern Illinois Big XII, KHS and Sterling went toe-to-toe in playoff action in recent years.

The Knights and Golden Warriors battled in a 2006 Class 5A quarterfinal playoff game that saw KHS outlast Sterling in overtime, 52-45.

Two years later, Sterling earned a 23-21 win in the first round of the playoffs.

The margin was wider in 2012, and the Knights got into the act early thanks to a 45-yard touchdown strike to Brandon Bishop for his first score of the still-new campaign for a 7-0 lead with 6:11 left in the first frame.

On the next possession, the Knights got mass yardage from Zack Martinelli for a 27-yard gain, and two plays later, running back Jesse Balluff plunged in from the two for a 14-0 lead with 4:11 to go in the first quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same, as a four-play drive from KHS mixed a little of pass and run and ended with a David touchdown run from the three-yard line with 10:16 to go in the second quarter for a 21-0 advantage.

After Sterling’s drive ended in a punt, Balluff, Dyer and David took turns carrying the ball until Dyer punched it in from the four for a 28-0 lead with 4:20 to go in the half.

On a fourth-and-20 from its own 36, a punt snap went awry and was recovered on the 13 by Cole Carlson. Four plays later, Bishop caught a touchdown pass from the seven-yard line on third down to make it 35-0 before halftime with 1:34 remaining.

The third quarter began with a long and sustained drive on the part of KHS. A 14-play drive concluded with a 22-yard TD run by Dyer, who navigated the holes enough to send the game onto a running clock.

It marks the first running clock achieved by Kaneland since a 56-14 win at LaSalle-Peru on Sept. 16, 2011.

It was that kind of day for Sterling football, and it was that kind of day for linebacker Gary Koehring, playing at a high level this year.

It was no different on Friday, as Koehring and the Knights allowed just 78 yards of offense, 45 in the first quarter.

“Our coaches put us in the right spots, and all we’ve got to do is study what they give us on film and hard work; that’s all we’ve got to do,” Koehring said. “I feel that I’m playing better and buying into what the coaches are saying.”

Up ahead for Kaneland is a trip to Streator High School on Friday, Sept. 14, which ends the crossover portion of the 2012 schedule.

Offense name of the game in Knights win

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Dylan Nauert comes down with the ball from a pass by Drew David in the first quarter. Kaneland went on the road to beat Huntley 52-35. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland improves to 2-0 after enduring furious Huntley rally
by Mike Slodki
HUNTLEY—It’s not one quarter of football, but rather four.

Once again, the Kaneland Knights football team had to endure a string of successful drives by the opposition.

Unlike Week 1, the Knights maintained the lead the entire way and saw their lead grow from a one-score situation in a 52-35 win at Huntley High School on Friday.

While the Red Raiders closed a 35-7 halftime chasm to 35-28 in the third quarter, the Knights’ offensive unit clicked despite three turnovers.

An air assault highlighted by junior quarterback Drew David’s four touchdowns and 348 yards passing, plus three touchdowns by wideout Zack Martinelli, helped withstand the Huntley comeback.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly was eager to see his Knights on the gridiron after their opening game in Chicago the previous Saturday.

“These kids have a lot of pride,” Fedderly said. “We had a great week of practice and tried to correct some things. Obviously, there are things we’ve got to improve on. I’m really happy with our first half.”

That first half started with a bang as David executed a flawless ball fake and ran 40 yards for a touchdown for a 7-0 lead just one minute, 23 seconds into the contest.

David later found Dylan Nauert for a 10-yard scoring strike with 7:18 remaining in the first for a 14-0 edge.

A Huntley drive accented the run with an eight-play, 80-yard drive ending on a four-yard QB keeper by Kam Sallee to make it 14-7 with 3:51 to go in the first.

It took just five plays for KHS to respond, this time in the form of a five-yard touchdown pass to Martinelli with 1:03 to go for a 21-7 lead.

The David-to-Martinelli connection hit paydirt twice more in the second quarter. A 10-yard TD with 6:29 to go made it 28-7, while a 12-yard score with 2:07 closed the first-half scoring and increased the margin to four touchdowns.

Huntley roared out of the gates in the third quarter, capping an opening drive with a 28-yard TD pass to Bryce Beschomer with 9:07 to go to make it 35-14.

The Red Raiders then converted two consecutive drive-killing interceptions to touchdowns on their end. Sallee ran it in from 19 yards to close to within 35-20 with 7:40 remaining, and Jake Lackovic caught a 23-yard pass for a touchdown with 4:45 to go, with the two-point try setting the score at 35-28.

KHS brought the momentum back by finding the end zone thanks to a one-yard plunge by goal-line option Nate Dyer with 9:31 left for a 42-28 lead. Matt Rodriguez’ 24-yard field goal gave KHS a three-score lead at 45-28 with 6:27 remaining.

Dyer’s nine-yard touchdown witha 3:06 to play made it 52-28 before a late Huntley TD set the final tally.

Kaneland’s many heroes included David, who also paced the ground game with 98 yards, Kyle Pollastrini with 120 yards receiving, and Martinelli.

Martinelli was reminded of a previous encounter that involved holding on to a big lead.

“It reminded me of Morris (Week 9 in 2011) where I was like ‘not again,’” Martinelli said. “We played three great quarters, and now we have to bring up that third quarter.”

KHS plays its home opener on Friday, Sept. 7, against Northern Illinois Big XII school Sterling. This will be the first meeting since November 2008, in which Sterling ousted Kaneland in a first-round playoff game.

Cutting it close

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Wide receiver Dylan Nauert gets away from a Brooks tackler during Kaneland’s 25-24 road win on Saturday. Photo by Ryan Wells

Knights overcome slow start for 25-24 win
by Mike Slodki
CHICAGO—It wasn’t the start the Kaneland Knights football outfit wanted, but it’ll take the finish.

A late touchdown pass from junior quarterback Drew David to receiver Zack Martinelli with 3:11 remaining in the fourth quarter capped the comeback mountain against Chicago’s Brooks Prep Eagles on Saturday for a 25-24 week 1 win.

The second-half flurry completed a 24-6 comeback over the vastly improved hosts at Gately Stadium, which lays a field goal away from Chicago State University.

It was 365 days earlier that Kaneland’s attack produced a running clock for the entire second half in a 44-0 rout over Brooks.

Saturday’s contest echoed last year’s 17-point comeback win in September 2011 at DeKalb, and was a mirror image of sorts to Montini Catholic’s late comeback over Kaneland in the Class 5A State semis.

Kaneland has now won 20 consecutive regular season games in a row, and 25 of its last 27.

The streak was in jeopardy often on Saturday, due to the offensive output from Brooks quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and tailback Cleveland Clark. Brooks tallied 324 total yards.

“They were running sweeps outside and then started running some options, and we had problems with our option responsibility,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “In the second half, we made some adjustments and tried to bring a little heat from the outside.”

For Kaneland, David went 14-for-30 for 275 yards with two touchdown throws and a pick.

Martinelli caught six passes for 163 yards and two scores.

In the first quarter, Brooks hit paydirt first on its second drive, when Clark powered in from the one-yard line with 3:14 remaining for a 7-0 lead after a nine-play drive.

Dylan Nauert helped answer with a reception, and combined with a face mask penalty, the play netted 30 yards. Back Nate Dyer scored the first Knights touchdown of 2012 with a six-yard plunge, but Matt Rodriguez missed the point afterward to keep it 7-6 with :57 left.

Brooks continued to control the ball and clock in the following frame, and it led to a 21-yard field goal by Jesus Miranda with 5:12 to go in the second quarter for a 10-6 lead.

A Nauert touchdown pass was called back due to offsetting penalties, and the Knights were forced to punt.

Brooks made good on the new opportunity with a Clark five-yard touchdown run to make it 17-6 with :23 left in the half.

Bradshaw accounted for a 39-yard touchdown run on an option play to make it 24-6 with 4:32 to go, but Martinelli caught a 62-yard rainbow 12 seconds later to make it 24-13.

The fourth quarter started to shift the way of KHS, and after a Brooks punt, Nauert’s 48-yard catch brought the ball into Eagles territory. Nine plays later, Dyer’s two-yard touchdown run with 8:29 left closed the gap to within 24-19 after a missed two-point try.

Brooks punted again, allowing Kaneland to orchestrate its go-ahead drive. Martinelli grabbed a 29-yard slant pass to set up his touchdown reception that saw him juke a defender on a screen.

‘We’ve had a lot of hitches all week,” Martinelli said. “We’re coached to turn outside and I saw him turn inside.”

Martinelli knew the offensive side of the ball had to adjust in the final two quarters.

“I talked to Drew at halftime and told him it was just like DeKalb,” Martinelli said. “We’ve got to step it up and calm down. Once he calms down, Drew is probably one of the best quarterbacks in the state.”

Kaneland travels to Huntley High School to face the Red Raiders on Friday, Aug. 31. Kaneland has earned the upper hand in the last three meetings.

Football Preview: Kaneland’s Got Talent

in Featured/Football by

Photos: The Kaneland Knights varsity football team (right) hopes to keep its strong defense and improve over last year’s overall record of 21-1. The Knights lost a heartbreaker in last year’s IHSA semifinal 35-31 against Montini. Quarterback Drew David (below) will return to lead the team’s offense. File Photos

Knights’ football feels good about what 2012 holds
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For the second straight season, Kaneland football endured a heart-pounding postseason journey.

For the second straight season, Kaneland had its heart broken against visiting Montini Catholic in the Class 5A State semifinals.

But this Knights crew, behind sixth-year coach Tom Fedderly, looks to start a new journey, and have it go just a bit further.

In the early days of practice, Fedderly is feeling good about his crew that has gone undefeated in regular season play since an Oct. 16, 2009, overtime loss to Geneva, and has won 27 of its last 29 contests.

The Knights can take solace in the fact of having five all-Northern Illinois Big XII players coming back.

“A lot of guys are returning, including four offensive linemen, and that means we can spend more time on the little things,” Fedderly said.

“Obviously, when you look at our team coming back, we have a lot of people back but we have to replace Sean (Carter) and Quinn (Buschbacher), and I think we’ll have some kids that’ll do that,” Fedderly said. “We have our quarterback coming back, and he’s a smart kid.”

That smart kid, Drew David, went undefeated, commanding the vaunted spread offense as a sophomore, and continues in the steps of his three-year starting predecessor, Joe Camiliere.

David passed for 39 touchdowns in 2011 and spurred comebacks against teams like DeKalb and Belvidere.

“When you look at Joe’s sophomore year and Drew’s, it’s about the same. I think they had 10 picks each. This year, we hope to not have as many turnovers. We talk about that a lot. Drew’s a smart kid, and he’s not going to make the same mistake twice,” Fedderly said. “He’s a real competitor, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Jesse Balluff returns to bear the load of the ball-carrying in his junior season.

“Last year, we didn’t know what we had coming off the ACL,” Fedderly said of the running back who battled an injury prior to the start of last season. “As the year went on, he got stronger. We just want to continue the progress with him.”

Carter and Buschbacher leave for collegiate ball in Wisconsin, meaning it’s time for new blood.

“We’ve got Zack Martinelli back and Kyle Pollastrini back; both started last year. Tyler Slamans will be out at tight end. Dylan Nauert primarily played defense last year, but he’ll take Carter’s spot and Brandon Bishop comes up, too,” Fedderly said.

On the line, Alex Snyder returns from an exceptional freshman season, and Joe Komel joins the three other returnees—Shane Jorgensen, Drew Sharp and Zach Theis.

Linebacking crew members Ryan Lawrence, Kory Harner and Gary Koehring are expected to bring more all-conference honors and big hits in 2012.

The secondary needs to replace the opportunistic ball-hawking play of Jacob Razo.

Nauert, Harner, John Pruett and Tanner Andrews are looking for picks and hits in the defensive backfield, with Dan Goress and JR Vest fighting for a spot, as well.

Buschbacher’s exit leaves a return hole, but Martinelli and Bishop are projected to offset that need.

Matt Rodriguez will contribute his kicking and punting skills in 2012.

Kaneland looks to take care of tasks and will rely on not only its coaching staff on the sidelines, but on the field.

“We have experience and really smart kids. Getting to the semis last year, they got big-time experience in big games and I think these kids have their heads on straight,” Fedderly said.

The Knights’ quest begins on Saturday, Aug. 25, against host Brooks Prep at Gately Stadium in Chicago, while the first home game is Friday, Sept. 7, against Sterling.

Varsity Football Schedule
• Saturday, Aug. 25; 4 p.m.
At Gwendolyn Brooks
College Prep HS
• Friday, Aug. 31; 7:15 p.m.
At Huntley HS
• Friday, Sept. 7; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. Sterling HS
• Friday, Sept. 14; 7:30 p.m.
At Streator High School
• Friday, Sept. 21; 7:30 p.m.
At Rochelle Township HS
• Friday, Sept. 28; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. DeKalb HS
• Friday, Oct. 5; 7:30 p.m.
At Yorkville HS
• Friday, Oct. 12; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. Sycamore HS
• Friday, Oct. 19; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. Morris HS

Varsity roster Seniors
Kyle Pollastrini, WR/LB;
Zack Martinelli, WR/DB;
Blake Bradford, LB;
Ryan Lawrence, RB/LB;
Tanner Andrews, WR/DB;
Dan Goress, RB/LB;
Kory Harner, WR/DB;
Michael Kinder, TE/DE;
Zach Theis, OL/DL;
Caesar Estrada, OL/DL;
Nick Sharp, OL/DL;
Bradley Johnson, OL/DL
Juniors
Dan Evers, WR/DB;
JR Vest, DB;
Drew David, QB;
Gary Koehring, RB/LB;
Matt Rodriguez, K;
Brandon Bishop, WR/DB;
Tyler Slamans, TE/LB;
Tyler Carlson, QB/WR;
John Pruett, WR/DB;
Dylan Nauert, WR/LB;
Grant Wooten, WR/DB;
Jesse Balluff, RB/LB;
Nate Dyer, RB/LB;
Cole Carlson, LB;
Bryan Endrenal, OL/DL;
Justin Diddell, OL/DL;
Tom VanBogaert, TE/LB;
Sam Bower, OL/DL;
Joe Komel, OL/DL;
Shane Jorgensen, OL/DL;
Jaumaureo Phillips, OL/DL;
Evan Ortiz, OL/DL;
Alex Snyder, OL/DL
Sophomores
Connor Fedderly, WR/LB
Head coach
Tom Fedderly

KHS invites fans to witness the ‘Knights Under the Lights’

in Boys Soccer/Football/Kaneland/Tennis/Volleyball by

Kaneland—The Kaneland High School fall sports teams will be introduced to their fans on Thursday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m.

The annual Knights Under the Lights event will be held at the various KHS athletic facilities. In addition to individual and team introductions, fans can watch the KHS volleyball, tennis, soccer and football teams scrimmage.

Sports Booster members will be on hand selling concessions, and while there is no admission to attend, the Boosters do ask for a donation to assist the athletics programs.

Kaneland alum battling for starter spot at Augustana

in Football by

Rock Island, ILL.—According to Augustana College’s Associate Director of Athletics Dave Wrath, Kaneland graduate and Augustana Junior Eric Dratnol “might have the inside track for the center position” as the Vikings set their rosters for the upcoming football campaign.

The team is trying to rebound from a difficult 2011 season.

When head coach Rob Cushman was asked to assess the Augustana football team’s chances for the 2012 season, he got right to the point.

“Without question we have a lot of change from a year ago,” said Cushman, whose team went 2-8 overall and 2-5 in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin in his first year at the Vikings’ helm. “It starts with a coaching staff that lost some very valuable and longtime members, and it continues with the exciting plans for a new stadium and the fact that we will be playing on a new turf this fall. There is an excitement amongst our players as we start the year. Even with all the changes that have and will happen, this program still has the same goals as always. We want to contend for a conference title and be a factor in the national picture.”

What happened in 2011 was a plethora of games that were decided in the last minutes of games. Of the eight losses, five were decided by less than eight points, and the Vikings trailed CCIW champion North Central on the road by just 10-3 before the Cardinals put up two late scores in the final minutes.

“I have been coaching 30-plus years and I don’t think I have ever seen a season like that,” Cushman said. “We all know that the ball bounces in funny ways, but it sure didn’t bounce our way last year. That was quite a learning experience for all of us, and I think we learned from it.”

The Vikings kick off their season Sept. 1 when they travel to the University of Dubuque.

Kaneland football receives victory road map

in Football by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Football schedules for the upcoming 2012 season were released by the Illinois High School Association on Thursday, allowing the Kaneland program to see who it would kick off against—and hopefully spend much time in the endzone against, as well.

Two new opponents grace the schedule in what shapes up to be coach Tom Fedderly’s sixth year on the sidelines.

Kaneland tries to get back to similar heights and beyond, much like the 12-1 2010 and 2011 campaigns that both ended with Class 5A semifinal losses to Montini Catholic of Lombard.

It’s a potentially interesting opening stretch for KHS, which has four of its first five games on the road.

The Knights, who have now won 39 out of 55 games in the last five years, begin the 2012 season against the familiar non-conference opponents of Brooks Prep of Chicago and Huntley.

Exchanging sites this upcoming year, Kaneland will trek to Chicago to face the host Eagles, in a stadium to be determined. Brooks played several home games at Gately Stadium near 103rd and Cottage Grove. The game takes place on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m. and marks the first Saturday regular season skirmish for the Knights since traveling to DeKalb High School in October 2009.

The trip to Huntley in week two takes place on Friday, Aug. 31. Huntley is the largest school Kaneland faces in the regular season, with enrollment of 2,383 students.

Then, the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover slate kicks into high gear with the home opener against Sterling on Friday, Sept. 7. The Knights and Golden Warriors’ previous two matchups occurred in playoff settings in 2006 and 2008.

Kaneland travels to Streator on Friday, Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have the smallest enrollment of a KHS opponent this year, with 876 students.

The two new West division opponents provide a switch from facing Dixon and LaSalle-Peru in the first two years of the still-new conference.

The NIB-12 stretch begins in earnest for the Knights on Friday, Sept. 21, in Rochelle, where the Knights emerged with a Class 5A quarterfinal win last November. Kaneland will have traveled to the land of the Hubs three of the last four times in the rivalry.

The Knights then host the DeKalb Barbs on Friday, Sept. 30, who have never dethroned the Knights football program since they have shared a conference. Kaneland came away with a 59-38 win on the new DeKalb grounds back in September, after falling behind by 17 points in the third quarter.

Kaneland then travels to Yorkville to face the Foxes, who play year two under famed area coach Karl Hoinkes, on Friday, Oct. 5.

The final two regular season encounters take place at Peterson Field in mid-October.

Sycamore comes to town looking for its first regular season win against Kaneland since 2007, but having a playoff win under its belt three years ago. The game is set for Friday, Oct. 12.

Finally, the Knights host Morris on Friday, Oct. 19.

All Friday games kick off at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of the Rochelle matchup.

Harter site of football basics, basic fun

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The five-day Kaneland Youth Football League Skillz and Drillz camp concluded on Friday, with 138 kids participating. Members of the Northern Illinois University Huskies conducted drills on the final day. (Right) RB Akeem Daniels moves around a swarm. (Below) LB and Marmion alum Bobby Winkel answers questions. Photos by Mike Slodki

Youngsters get boost on gridiron from NIU on camp’s final day
by Mike Slodki
SUGAR GROVE—Steamy temperatures on the grounds of Kaneland Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove made for ideal football conditions.

Just ask the 138 kids participating in the Kaneland Youth Football League (KYFL), as well as the current version of the Northern Illinois University Huskies football squad.

The five-day camp came to an end on Friday with Huskies and possible future Knights scrimmaging against each other, after going over fundamentals throughout the week.

Kaneland Youth Football League camp organizer Tim Betustak was pleased with how the events unfolded and the enthusiasm put into it, with help from Kaneland-area, Marmion and NIU personnel.

“It’s a good mix of guys helping out, and was really a wonderful time,” Betustak said. “It was a great turnout, and the kids did well. They learned fundamentals and had fun.”

The final day of the Skillz and Drillz camp featured 20 Huskies relaying what they knew to the younger set, ages 7 to 11.

“This was fun today,” NIU quarterback and Mt. Carmel grad Jordan Walsh said. “We wanted the kids to have fun and give them a little coaching. You can never know too much about football.”

Betustak, who also took questions from the campers on the final day with players like Northern Illinois’ Bobby Winkel, felt the volunteer time and pedigree made for a successful camp.

“The thing that helped this week was guys going into every level of football. It was a good mix, and the kids can see what these guys experience now,” Betustak said.

It’s experience with the 2012 camp that could pave the way for Betustak, along with Jason Born, Gary Bell, Matt Hahn, Jeremy Cannavan, Ron Hain and countless others from the KYFL body to host a 2013 camp.

Also helping out was a talent who is no stranger to Kaneland-area football: Jody Henningson, who took snaps as the starting quarterback in 2007 and returns to Bemidji State University in Minnesota as a wideout in 2012.

“This is my first time with the kids, and they were a little starstruck today at first, but they had a lot of fun. We were teaching them fundamentals, and this is a great age to learn the basics.”

Kaneland Youth Football League can be reached at KYFL.com.

Carter navigating Whitewater football in ‘12

in Football by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Based on the last two football seasons, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football program can be glad they’ve added a solid piece to its receiving core.

In February, Sean Carter, wideout and track weapon for Kaneland High School, committed to the Division III program.

Carter was a deep threat for a Kaneland squad for the last two undefeated seasons of KHS football—a team that has advanced to the Class 5A quarterfinals in consecutive years.

“Knowing all your accomplishments mean something and that you can continue to play after getting used to doing that for so many years,” Carter said on Tuesday. “It takes a lot of pressure off finally having that decision made.”

An all-conference player, Carter hopes to help a Warhawks squad that ran roughshod over the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on its way to its fourth Division III championship in five years.

“Last year, we had a lot of big weapons. This year, Quinn (Buschbacher) and I were the seniors. It was a position we weren’t in the year before, and we were big targets,” Carter said. “Just being a big target gets you into a mindset.”

Carter was debating Wisconsin-Platteville, Minnesota State-Moorhead and St. Joseph’s (Ind.) before making his decision.

Teammate Buschbacher committed to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Next stop: Platteville for Knight Buschbacher

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Quinn Buschbacher hopes to offer the Kaneland touch when he suits up for University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2012. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—When finally having made his college commitment choice, Kaneland senior football standout Quinn Buschbacher must have felt like he had an entire open field after a bubble screen.

“People said once you make that choice, the pressure just evaporates,” Buschbacher said on Tuesday. “They weren’t lying.”

Buschbacher, recipient of many Kaneland touchdown passes and all-around offensive threat to score, made the choice to bring his talents to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, former preseason home to the Chicago Bears.

“I have speed and I think I have something to offer the program, and kickoff and punt returns are something I’d like to pursue, but they want me at slot right now,” Buschbacher said.

Platteville is also the football home of ex-Knight Ryley Bailey, two years Buschbacher’s senior.

“I’ve talked to Ryley a lot, and stayed with him when I visited the campus. He told me a little of what to expect and mainly told me to work hard,” Buschbacher said.

Buschbacher, the Northern Illinois Big XII offensive MVP in 2011, believes KHS sets him up for future success.

“Kaneland has so many options and we’re very versatile. The coaching staff helped me a lot with catching the ball and getting off jams,” Buschbacher said.

The Sugar Grove resident said he could pursue a business major once at Wisconsin-Platteville.

Fleck departs NIU OC position after one day

in Football/Kaneland/Regional by

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—Former Kaneland High athletic standout P.J. Fleck’s return to the pastures of Northern Illinois University football was the very definition of short-lived.

After the introduction of Fleck on Thursday as the Huskies’ new offensive coordinator, the Sugar Grove native resigned the position, according to a statement released by NIU football and head coach Dave Doeren on Friday.

“P.J. called today and said he does not feel he’s ready to be an offensive coordinator. It’s unfortunate, but what’s best for our program is to move in a different direction and that’s what I’m going to do,” Doeren said.

According to the release, Doeren said he has already spoken to several candidates and is confident he will have a replacement in place soon for Fleck.

“Everything happens for a reason and the result of this will make NIU Football even better,” Doeren said.

Fleck was originally hired as a replacement for former OC Matt Canada, who left to take the same job for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Fleck joined Rutgers in 2010 after coaching wide recievers at NIU from 2007-2009 under coaches Joe Novak and Jerry Kill.

Rutgers did not disclose when Fleck’s last day for the football program took place.

Fleck’s head coach on the Rutgers University staff, Greg Schiano, was introduced as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new head coach on Jan. 27.

Fleck starred for a 10-win Huskies team in 2003, and played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2004.

His “Live Your Dream” football camp took place at KHS.

P.J. Fleck also served as graduate assistant for an Ohio State squad that played in the 2007 BCS Championship game

KHS fall athletes recognized with awards

in Boys Cross Country/Boys Soccer/Football/Girls Cross Country/Golf/Tennis/Volleyball by

KANELAND—Kaneland High School athletics released their slate of Fall Sports Awards, with each sport trumpeting the best it had to offer, with some All-Northern Illinois Big XII honors thrown in for good measure.

In golf, All-NIB-12 went to Troy Krueger and Matt Yonkovich. Co-Varsity MVP’s were Brody Kuhar and Yonkovich. Connor Williams won the varsity most improved player award. On the frosh/soph roster, Stephen Cannell took the MVP, and Jacob Sheehan won the most improved player award.

For volleyball, All-NIB-12 nods went to Katy Dudzinski and conference MVP Kylie Siebert.

Dudzinski was named top offensive player while Siebert was named top defensive player.

Most improved player went to Rachael Clinton, and the Spirit award went to Lauren Banbury. Dudzinski and Siebert took home the team MVP awards.

In Kaneland tennis, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Amelia Napiorkowski and Kelly Kovacic were recognized as captains. Mallory Dugan and Stephanie Karolewicz were named most improved. Kovacic and Colleen Landers took the team spirit awards. Outstanding achievement awards went to Jelly Emmnouil for a perfect regular season, Madi Jurcenko for a school record 33 wins, and the doubles tandem of Jurcenko and Napiorkowski for a record of 32-3. All-NIB-12 members were Napiorkowski, Jurcenko, Emmanouil and Sammie Schrepferman, and those four were also named team MVP’s.

For girls cross country, Victoria Clinton was honored for All-State totals, as well as being a State qualifier with teammates Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Aislinn Lodwig, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Ashley Castellanos.

Lesak, Dodis, Lodwig, Brundige and Clinton were named to the All-NIB-12 team. Dodis, Brundige and Carolina Tovar were recognized as captains. Most improved runners were Dodis and Brundige, while Clinton was named as Most Valuable Runner, capping an exceptional freshman campaign.

For boys cross country, Kyle Carter, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber, Miki Marin, Conor Johnson, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf were recognized as State qualifiers, while Huber, Carter and Meisinger made the All-NIB-12 team.

The Golden Knight Awards went to freshman Andrew Lesak, sophomore Nathanie Kucera, junior Meisinger and senior Rehkopf. Rehkopf, Brundige and Marin were recognized as captains. Huber took the most improved runner nod. Brundige won the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. Carter was named most valuable runner.

For the State semifinalist football squad, Quinn Buschbacher was recognized for his IHSCA All-State accomplishment, and Jacob Razo was credited with an IHSCA Honorable Mention. Alex Snyder, Drew David, Blake Bradford and Ben Kovalick were named to the IHSCA Academic All-State team.

Snyder, Nick Sharp, Buschbacher, Sean Carter, David, Ryan Noel, Kovalick, Razo, Kory Harner, Ryan Lawrence and Bradford were named to the All-NIB-12 team.

Special teams MVP was Matt Roriguez, while Buschbacher was offensive MVP and Razo was named defensive MVP.

Most improved player was Brandon Stahl, captains were Kovalick, Noel, Buschbacher, Razo and Carter, while Sean Carter walked away with the MVP award.

For the regional finalist soccer team, Alex Gil and Anthony Parillo were named to the All-Sectional team, while Jordan Escobedo, Gil, Parillo and Alec Koczka made the All-NIB-12 team. Pedro Perez and Tyler Siebert were honorable mention candidates.

Gil was named player of the year, with Escobedo taking the offensive player of the year and Sam Rymarz named the defensive player of the year.

The Coach’s Award went to Siebert, Koczka, Jason Biddle and Chris Van Dinther. Gil, Escobedo and Parillo were recognized as captains.

Rookie of the year went to Arsim Azemi. Thansi Pesmajoglou was named most improved player and Gil and Parillo took the team MVP.

Buschbacher tops in NIB-12 with offensive MVP honors

in Featured/Football by

KANELAND—Honors for Kaneland Knights football are now coming as frequently as a monster gain on a Friday night in Maple Park.

Senior wideout Quinn Buschbacher was one of an NIB-12 -best 11 Knights to earn all-conference honors in the East division, with the senior captain earning offensive MVP honors, as well.

Morris’ Hunter Barry took defensive MVP honors.

The Knights’ 11-deep all-conference roster will see the return of six for the 2012 season. Coach Tom Fedderly mentioned in August that a big key to projected success was the return of a handful of all-NIB-12 personnel.

KHS can now boast senior Buschbacher, along with seniors Sean Carter (WR), Ryan Noel (DL), Ben Kovalick (DL) and Jacob Razo (DB). Juniors are OL Nick Sharp, DB Kory Harner, LB Ryan Lawrence and LB Blake Bradford. QB Drew David was one of only three sophomores in the conference to earn top honors, along with OL teammate Alex Snyder.

Morris added 10 members to the list, followed by Sycamore with eight.

Semifinal sting: Montini edges KHS, 35-31

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Receiver Sean Carter hauls in a pass during Saturday night’s Class 5A
playoff semifinal battle with defending champion Montini. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sequels can be more entertaining and gripping than the original, but for Kaneland football and its fans, the ending to this particular drama was still hard to take.

Jordan Westerkamp’s touchdown catch with 2 minutes, three seconds remaining in the game was the final blow in a 35-31 loss to Montini Catholic on Saturday night, ending the Knights’ quest for Class 5A State glory at 12-1.

Kaneland held the lead for nearly 25 minutes going from the second quarter to late in the fourth, but as it stood, Montini tries for its third straight title against the Hilltoppers of Joliet Catholic on Saturday, Nov. 26, at the University of Illinois.

Kaneland still has won 24 of 26 contests, and hasn’t lost in the regular season since Week eight of 2009.

Montini outgained Kaneland by a 407-366 yard margin, but it was more of the toe-to-toe fight Knight faithful were looking for after last year’s 27-14 setback in the semifinal to the Broncos.

“Our kids played their hearts out,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “I’m so proud of our team, they came out and didn’t back down.”

Montini’s John Rhode was 20-for-35 for 230 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Counterpart Drew David was 16-for-31 for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Bronco Joseph Borsellino was the leading receiver with 123 yards on nine catches. Knight Jesse Balluff was the leading target out of the backfield with 69 yards. Balluff added a prolific 143 yards rushing, a game high. Bronco Dimitri Taylor had 111 of his own.

Montini got on the board first with a one-yard run out of the wildcat formation from Borsellino with 1:13 left in the opening frame for a 7-0 lead. Balluff tied matters soon after with an 81-yard scoring scamper down the sideline just 23 ticks later, and Taylor came back 36 seconds after that with a 48-yard TD run for a 14-7 deficit.

The second quarter belonged to KHS, thanks to a Balluff TD run from 18 yards away with 7:51 to go and a tie-breaking 26-yard field goal from Matt Rodriguez with 3:14 left, and the Knights went into the locker room up 17-14.

In the second half, things improved for KHS when Zach Martinelli made an acrobatic touchdown catch from 18 yards away, giving Kaneland a 24-14 lead with 9:01 to go in the third. Borsellino scored again from two yards out with 5:53 to go to close within 24-21. David’s four-yard plunge with 1:38 to go in the third marked the last Knight score of the season, and a 31-21 lead.

Zach Martinelli has made his share of integral catches. It was time for No. 11 to make an exceptional catch. Shifting his body to get the edge on Bronco defenders, Martinelli grabbed the ball in mid air and fell to the end zone with 9:01 to go in the third quarter, giving the Knights a 24-14 lead

With 12 minutes to go before the Knights conceivably could start their Champaign journey, the Broncos’ Taylor completed the ensuing drive after David’s TD with a 31-yard scoring run just 30 seconds into the quarter, making it 31-28.

In crunch-time, Montini’s drive stalled at the Knight 46, leading to a punt. The Knights, however, went three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Broncos. Montini went 52 yards, ending with Westerkamp’s 19-yard paydirt play.

KHS then stalled at its own 47, on an incompletion to Sean Carter.

“We wanted to be close and have it come down to the fourth quarter, and it didn’t happen tonight,” Fedderly said.

The Knights, who still had a season to remember, have now lost their last three State semifinal games. Their 2006 nemesis, Marian Central Catholic of Woodstock, lost in this year’s quarterfinal to Montini.

Road warriors: Knights (12-0) take 20-14 quarterfinal at Hubs’ home

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Quinn Buschbacher (22) has the upper hand as he reels in a pivotal catch during the Knights’ 20-14 win in the Class 5A quarterfinals on Saturday. The 27-yard grab led to his TD run two plays later, giving the Knights a 14-7 lead going into halftime. Photo by Ben Draper

Montini Catholic provides second straight semi challenge
by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—Kaneland football has dealt with Northern Illinois Big XII rival Rochelle quite successfully in recent years.

But, they hadn’t dealt with a Hubs squad like this.

With two playoff wins each under their belts, the Knights and Hubs met in Ogle County on Saturday, and much like the previous two KHS wins, it wasn’t decided until very late.

But a fourth quarter touchdown run by Jesse Balluff, coupled with two defensive stands, led to a 20-14 quarterfinal victory.

“I’m glad those kids were able to step up and win the game for us at the end,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “People were doubting the defense a little bit, and I couldn’t be happier or prouder.”

The Knights improve to 12-0 and make the Class 5A State semifinal round for the second straight year, as well as the third in the last six tries.

The Hubs finished at 8-4, but it was a different team than the one Kaneland defeated 35-14, in the fifth game.

Despite having won four meetings in a row, Kaneland was dealing with a Rochelle unit gaining confidence with each playoff win, most recently last week against the Sycamore Spartans.

“Watching them on film, those guys greatly improved, and they were really playing well at the end of the year,” Fedderly said.

Even though Rochelle had a 281-272 edge in total yards, the Knights were helped by Balluff’s 70 yard rushing total, and QB Drew David added 65 yards of his own.

Quinn Buschbacher had 76 yards on four catches.

The threatening rush of Rochelle was led by Marquez Felix with 117 yards on 12 carries, while Will Metzger had 82 yards on 16 carries.
After a first quarter with no scoring, Rochelle drew first blood with a one-yard plunge by Felix with 10 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.

With Kaneland looking to answer, David ended an eight-play, 57-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown scamper with 6:42 to go for a 7-7 tie.

“I think I did OK when I had to take the ball and run,” David said. “Other times, I wish I made a different decision. For the most part, as long as we come out with a ‘W,’ it’s fine.”

After Rochelle punted, KHS capitalized with a six-play drive that ended with Buschbacher’s four-yard TD run with 2:02 remaining in the half for a 14-7 lead. The drive was set into high gear after the senior’s 27-yard, one-handed catch.

Felix tied the score on a 58-yard TD run with 9:04 to go in the third quarter for a 14-14 tie.

KHS started the go-ahead drive in the third quarter, but continued in the fourth. Balluff’s number was called three straight times, and went for a 33-yard scoring scamper with 9:53 to go.

“It seemed like (Rochelle) was a lot more physical this time,” Balluff said. “They’re a great team, and I’m afraid every year to play these guys.”

The extra point was blocked, setting a tense 20-14 lead.

Rochelle put together a drive from its own 20 with solid running. Then, on the 13th play of the drive; a fourth-and-one from the Knight 19, Rochelle signal-caller Nick Moore rolled left but was stopped before the first-down marker.
	After allowing 115 points in the last 14 quarters, the Knight defense needed to have a big stop in them at Saturday’s Class 5A quarterfinal. 	It was a successful stop, by a couple of chain-links. Hubs QB Nick Moore rolled left on a fourth-and-one from the Kaneland 19, but was stopped by a swarm of tacklers with 2:02 remaining. It was the last time Rochelle would get that deep on the field.
KHS took over with 2:02 remaining, but had to punt four plays later. Rochelle took over at its own 34. Sean Carter nabbed an important sack on a first down from midfield. With the clock running and the Hubs’ out of timeouts, Moore had to air out a pass that sailed over the players’ heads with four ticks left.

The Knights’ semifinal test, Montini Catholic, has lost twice this season, but comes off a 52-27 win over Woodstock’s Marian Central Catholic, ironically, the squad that eliminated Kaneland in the State semis in 2006.

Rally Round the Knights
Kaneland High School has scheduled a pep rally for the football team before the State semifinal, for Saturday, Nov. 19, at 3:30 p.m. in the East Gym.
Doors open at 3:15 p.m.

Kaneland-Montini II
The Knights and Broncos face each other once again, with a State championship berth on the line.
A year ago, the Broncos ended the Knights’ playoff hopes by a 27-14 final.
Montini has earned state trophies in 2004, 2009 & 2010

How ‘Drew’ doin?
Sophomore QB Drew David becomes the third QB in recent memory to throw for a State semifinal team, following Joe Camiliere and Boone Thorgesen.
Through the first three playoff games in 2011, Drew is 42-for-79 for 727 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT

Photo gallery: Kaneland 20, Rochelle 14 (IHSA Quarterfinal)

in Football by

Kaneland senior Quinn Buschbacher (22) makes a one-handed catch against Rochelle Saturday. Buschbacher had four catches for 76 yards, and a six-yard touchdown run. RB Jesse Balluff and QB Drew David also had rushing touchdowns. The Knights improved to 12-0 with a 20-14 victory over the host Hubs. Kaneland defeated Rochelle in week 5 of the regular season 35-14. The Knights are set to host the two-time defending 5A state champion Montini Broncos. This will be a rematch of last year’s semi-finals, which saw the Broncos defeat the Knights 27-14.
Photos by Ben Draper

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