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.