Photo: Knights football works on getting back to the playoff promised land at the high school. A year ago the Knights had their best season since 1998. Photo by Ben Draper
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland Knights football achieved such great heights a year ago.
The best season mark since 1998, an undefeated regular season, and an epic third-round playoff win over Vernon Hills—made possible by player Joe Camiliere, Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan—made it a season to remember, until it was stopped on a cold night in November against powerhouse Montini Catholic.
Fifth-year coach Tom Fedderly isn’t interested in preparing for last year.
“It was a special year, but last year is last year. Every year is different. I’m going to try to take the guys that we have, and our system is flexible enough where we can do things differently depending on the pieces that we have,” he said.
The Knights’ spread attack on offense was successful in large part due to new Elmhurst Bluejay Camiliere’s penchant for taking care of the ball.
With the starting derby yet to be completely decided, senior Ryan Fuchs and sophomore Drew David could see time under center, and have been told the formula for field success.
“They both know they need to take care of the ball and manage the offense. As it looks right now, I’m pretty satisfied with what we’ve got there,” Fedderly said.
With Andrews and Callaghan gone to graduation, and former receiving threat Daniel Helm now playing for Glenwood High School in Chatham, Ill., the fourth and fifth option on some days last year now move up as big targets in the form of all Northern Illinois Big XII option Quinn Buschbacher and Sean Carter.
Buschbacher also displayed a knack for the return game in 2010.
“It’ll be good for our quarterback to have weapons like those out there, and they have experience,” Fedderly said.
When the time comes to gain yards via ground attack, the Knights rely on sophomore Jesse Balluff, with Buschbacher and Carter viable options to seek carries, as well.
With Helm not a Knight this season, Kaneland gets a move-in option in the form of Ohio transfer Matt Price.
“He’s six-foot-three, about 195 (pounds), and he’s going to get in the mix, too. He looks like a good player,” Fedderly said.
The offernsive line, carrying infinite importance for protection of the spread offense, looks to curb the loss of tackle Jimmy Boyle to graduation.
Four returnees are suited up for the two-way line in Nick Sharp, Ryan Noel, Ben Kovalick and Alex Snyder.
For the linebacking corps, it looks to be an all new crew with the depth chart still in flux.
In the secondary, Jacob Razo returns and looks to primarily play defense, as will returnee Kory Harner. Joey Cozzi returns for his senior campaign.
Kicker Matt Rodriguez returns to boot the ball through the posts when needed.
Fedderly and staff will continue to work up through the season opener, with new foe Brooks Prep of Chicago on Friday, Aug. 26.
“We just started hitting and we’re still looking to see who our football players are, but we have young kids that I think are going to come along,” Fedderly said.