by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARKâ€”What a note to go out on for the Kaneland-Batavia rivalry.
As Kaneland and Batavia football go out to greener pastures, namely the Northern Illinois Big 12 and the Upstate Eight, the Knights put on one to remember, coming back to beat the Bulldogs on Friday in Maple Park, 21-17.
With the win, the Knights improve to 4-1 and keep pace with Western Sun Conference-leader Geneva at 3-0.
Batavia, in danger of being skipped over for the postseason, fell to 1-4 with an 0-3 mark in WSC play.
Kaneland won the first down battle, 16-10, and outgained the Bulldogs 229-204.
“We didn’t really make any adjustments, we just executed,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We just kept our heads and didn’t panic. They really showed their maturity.”
In a game played under wet conditions, Joe Camaliere, who had difficulty with many snaps in the first half, went 14-of-21 for 183 yards and a touchdown. The junior found the end zone on two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to key the win.
Senior Ryley Bailey, who caught the first touchdown pass, snared six balls for 105 yards.
Batavia’s Danny Seiton rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries.
Kaneland struck first on a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended in a 46-yard touchdown pass to Bailey with 8:46 to go in the first. Bailey reversed his field and avoided tacklers on his way to the end zone. The extra point attempted was botched and kept the score at 6-0.
With five errant snaps having to be recovered, the Knights offense spun its wheels, allowing the Bulldogs to crawl back into the game.
A 12-play, 93-yard drive ended in a 24-yard touchdown run by Seiton and gave Batavia a 7-6 lead with 2:27 remaining in the half.
Batavia pounced again, thanks to a Braden Hartmann score from the 1 with 2:10 to go in the third quarter. That sent Kaneland to a 14-6 deficit.
A 13-play drive that continued into the fourth quarter for the Knights was keyed by Blake Serpa, who got nine touches. On first-and-10 from the Bulldogs’ 11, Camaliere ran to the right side of the end zone and went in for the score with 9:23 to go. The QB then found Taylor Andrews in the middle of the end zone for a two-point conversion to tie matters at 14.
Batavia came right back with an 11-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a 32-yard field goal by Mike Clopton to give BHS a 17-14 lead with 3:41 remaining.
Starting from its own 35, Kaneland got an Andrews catch on second down. Bailey caught a 15-yard pass play at the 30 and had the ball stripped, but the officials ruled his forward progress stopped.
Four plays later, Camaliere recovered from a broken play at the line to score from the three with 2:07 left, putting the Knights up to stay.
Batavia failed to convert on fourth down, and QB Noel Gaspari was stopped by Serpa.
“We could just keep going,â€ Blake Serpa said. â€œOffensively, we knew it was going to come. Defensively, we knew we had to stop them.”
In sophomore action, Kaneland lost to Batavia 14-7. Batavia beat KHS in the freshman contest on Monday, 17-14.
Kaneland hooks up with 3-2 Glenbard South at Peterson Field on Friday, Oct. 2.
Glenbard South defeated Kaneland on Oct. 3, 2008, 47-31.
Photo: Kanelandâ€™s win was made possible on both sides of the ball, but things really got going in the fourth quarter. No. 32 Brock Dyer stopped Bulldogs RB Edmund Kabba on a third-and-2 from the Knights 26. Dyer set up shop in a hole made by blocking and won the duel. Batavia settled for a field goal, but KHS came back with a winning TD. Photo by Ben Draper