by Mike Slodki
SYCAMOREâ€”Breaking hearts are commonplace in high school, most notably at school dances or over text messages.
But on the football field?
Such was the case this past Friday night in Sycamore, where the Knights ripped a 21-14 win away from a hard-charging Spartans squad.
With the win, the Knights improved to 3-1, with a 2-0 record in Western Sun Conference play, and keeping pace with undefeated Geneva. Sycamore suffered its first loss after a blazing start and fell to 3-1 (1-1 WSC).
â€œItâ€™s our oldest rivalry, and it was a very good team. We have a lot of respect for Sycamore and what they do,â€ KHS coach Tom Fedderly said after the victory.
Head-to-head action saw KHS win the first down battle with 17 compared to 13 for Sycamore. Kaneland had 374 total yards on the night, compared to 241 for the Spartans.
The two squads have had their share of the spectrum, with 2007 seeing Sycamore trouncing Kaneland 37-7, and Knight Chris Ott kicking a field goal at the end of regulation for a 38-35 win in 2008.
Kaneland quarterback Joe Camaliere had a productive night, going 18-for-22 for 294 yards and three touchdown throws. Sophomore Quinn Buschbacher caught three passes for 114 yards in the contest.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Knights capitalized on a missed Sycamore field goal and went 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. The 33-yard scoring catch by Buschbacher came on a leaping effort into the end zone 16 seconds into the second quarter.
Sycamore QB Ryan Bartels evened things up in the third quarter on an 11-yard touchdown run with 10:05 to go in the frame. After a Spartan drive went nowhere, the Knights set up shop at their own 32, where Camaliere found Buschbacher again on a 68-yard touchdown bomb with 6:08 remaining in the third for a 14-7 lead.
The score remained the same until the fourth quarter, when Bartels capped a drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 9:22 to go, deadlocking the score at 14.
Wasting no time, the Knights balanced Camaliere runs with a pass to Blake Serpa, and Kaneland was on the board again after a 23-yard touchdown pass to Serpa with 6:33 to go for a 21-14 lead.
With Sycamore finding no luck, Kaneland looked to drive the ball in order to wind the clock down, and succeeded in cinching the game on an acrobatic catch by Bailey with just over a minute to go in Spartan territory.
â€œWe just trust our offense and trust our quarterback making decisions out there,â€ said Bailey. â€œEveryone made plays tonight. We knew we could do it.â€
The Knights now host Batavia on Friday, Sept. 25, and hope to catch the 1-3 Bulldogs reeling.
Lower level activity had the Knight sophomores lose a 21-0 game, while the freshmen took home a 26-6 win.