Photo: Senior quarterback Drew David, here taking the field at last Thursday’s Knights Under the Lights scrimmage, will lead the Knights in 2013. The Knights are looking to move past an early second-round playoff exit in 2012. Photo by Patti Wilk
Talented upperclassmen look to remedy second-round exit of 2012 season
Kaneland—Get ready Kaneland football fans, and prepare to retreat Kaneland football opponents.
Nothing may be more dangerous to opponents than a team that has won 28 regular season games in a row and a class that has won 34 of 47, and wants to remedy a second-round Class 5A elimination at the hands of Lincoln-Way West.
“The kids still feel embarrassed how it ended last year,” seventh-year coach Tom Fedderly said. “We’ve looked at the film of our scrimmage and we want to take a big step improving. We’ll look for faster improvement for this week.”
Leading the way at quarterback is Drew David, a senior who’s guided the team to the postseason two straight years. David suffered a hand injury in a victory over Yorkville in last year’s regular season, even missing the win over Sycamore. A pin was put in his hand, and Fedderly has a healthy quarterback again.
“We at Kaneland have been lucky as anyone for the quarterbacks we’ve had, no doubt,” Fedderly said.
Fellow senior Jesse Balluff once again sees time at the running back position.
“It’s nice to have him and have that balance in a spread offense. You have to prepare for him, and he’s a running threat,” Fedderly said.
Also in the backfield is bruiser and goal-line option Nate Dyer, who may also see some time on the other side of the ball at nose tackle.
The all-important wideouts in the Kaneland offensive package see some departures, but also see returnees like Dylan Nauert and Brandon Bishop.
Adding to the offense at wideout are John Pruett and Connor Fedderly. Tyler Slamans returns after an ACL injury to serve at tight end.
The offensive line features Alex Snyder, who has amassed the most varsity wins for any player in Kaneland football history, having joined the ranks as a freshman.
He’s joined by Joe Komel, in pursuit by college football programs, Shane Jorgensen, and Justin Diddell, with Tom Van Bogaert projected at center.
“We have a lot of big guys there, and average about 260 pounds,” Fedderly said.
On the ball-snatching side of the field, the linebacking corps features Gary Koehring, who had no shortage of key plays and stops in 2012. Sam Bower, Slamans and Dan Hammermeister. The Knights’ crew also has Tyler Carlson and Cole Carlson for linebacking duties, as well.
Kaneland also gets a boost from secondary play. JR Vest returns, and will be joined by Knights like Grant Wooten and Isaac Swithers.
“Isaac is a tough kid; the secondary has to know what the offense is trying to do,” Fedderly said.
Matt Rodriguez returns as the kicking specialist.
“It’s so important to have a kicker who can put it 80 yards downfield for field position,” Fedderly said.
Kaneland’s reputation precedes itself in NIB-12 history, as the only conference champ the group has ever known, but the East division houses threatening teams beginning with Class 5A runner-up Morris.
“Morris is always good, and that’s a really big game down there; Sycamore has a good senior class, and that’ll be interesting to watch against Lincoln-Way West in week one, Rochelle is always tough, we know DeKalb’s coach from having faced Belvidere in the playoffs the last two years, and Yorkville has eight sophomores that saw time last year,” Fedderly said.
KHS hosts Brooks Prep of Chicago on Friday, Aug. 30, and tries to add to the two-game win streak against the Eagles. KHS needed a fourth-quarter comeback for a one-point win in 2012.