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.