Kaneland (4-0) subdues Streator in inter-divisional game
KANELAND—Friday’s result from Peterson Field in Maple Park was a familiar one.
But Kaneland football was a different unit against visiting Streator, and will be for the remainder of 2013.
The MRI on Tuesday for running back Jesse Balluff revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament after suffering the injury in the Sept. 13 victory in Sterling.
Still, Balluff was a presence on the sidelines, reassuring fellow Knights as they came off the sidelines in the 42-0 win over the Bulldogs of the Northern Illinois Big XII West division.
“That’s just the guy Jesse is,” Knights quarterback Drew David said. “Doesn’t matter if he’s playing or not, he always comes with a smile on his face. Everyone feels terrible for him, and we just tried to rally around him.”
Any further success in 2013 will have to come without the senior ball-carrier, making future wins bittersweet.
“(Jesse)’s such an important part of our team, and such a good friend to all these kids. To have him out here and be vocal and be a team leader, and elected team captain, we expect him to be a leader, and that’s what he is on the sidelines,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.
The win marked the 32nd consecutive regular season win for the Knights, and signified the last meeting on the football field between the two squads for the foreseeable future. Streator, the southern-most NIB-12 school, departs for the Interstate Eight Conference for the 2014-15 school year.
Kaneland won the home-and-home series by a combined score of 83-0.
Kaneland had 133 yards courtesy of several ballcarriers on the ground as part of a collective effort.
David was 17-of-24 for 272 yards and five touchdown passes, with one pick. Connor Fedderly caught six passes for 59 yards, while teammate Brandon Bishop had four catches for 110 yards.
Kaneland had 405 yards gained through the night, compared to just 76 for the visiting Bulldogs.
John Pruett caught the first of his three touchdowns from 14 yards out to kick off the scoring, giving KHS a 6-0 lead with 8:29 left in the first quarter. David would score on a 17-yard scramble to make it 13-0 with 1:41 remaining in the frame.
In the second quarter, Bishop caught a short pass near the sideline on the first offensive play and went 59 yards for a score to make it 20-0 just 11 ticks into the frame.
After linebacker Cole Carlson put an end to the next Streator drive with an interception at his own 33, KHS put together a nine-play drive that ended with another scoring strike to Pruett on a deep pattern. The score put Kaneland up 27-0 with :48 to go before halftime.
The third quarter set Streator’s fate in stone, with Pruett catching his third TD pass of the game on a second-and-six from the 11-yard line with 4:37 left in the quarter. David improvised on an errant snap and found Tyler Carlson for the two-point conversion making it 35-0.
After Streator punted, Kaneland used four runs to set up a 13-yard TD pass to Bishop with :24 to go in the third activating the running clock at 42-0.
“Streator was able to stop the run, and like we’ve said all year, we want to be balanced. When we have to throw and they’re making us throw, we’re going to throw. If they’re going to make us run, we’ve got to be able to run,” Fedderly said.
Photos by Patti Wilk