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Baseball sees rough beginning on Missouri trail

Photo: Kaneland High School starting pitcher Blake Sowell fires one home during Tuesday’s 12-10 win over visiting Sandwich. Photo by Ryan Wells

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Much like the Cubs going into Cardinals territory, there existed little welcome for the Chicago-area Kaneland Knights baseball squad (0-5).

Spring break and the season began on March 27 against Fox High School at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., home of the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies, and the Knights fell 4-3.

Kaneland then lost to St. Genevieve of Mo., 13-3 on Thursday, downstate Mt. Zion in Harrisburg, Ill., on Friday by a 6-4 clip, before finally dropping a doubleheader to O’Fallon on Saturday, 4-3 and 10-2.

Against St. Genevieve, KHS took a 2-0 lead in the second and had a 3-1 lead after three innings before the hosts put up a four-spot in the fifth and 10 in the sixth to cinch the slaughter.

Nick Albano suffered the loss in relief, while Kyle Pollastrini and Tyler Bellock each had an RBI.

In the loss against Mt. Zion, KHS again went out to a lead, 4-1 after three, before the hosts scored five for the Knights’ setback, including three in the sixth.

Knight Nick Stahl took the loss in relief, while Joe Komel added a double and two RBI.

The Saturday twinbill failed to bring good news. In game one, Kaneland broke a 2-2 deadlock with a run in the top of the eighth, but the hosts scored two in the last at-bat. Curtis Thorson was tagged with the loss, with Josh Cohrs tagging a double.

The final Saturday contest saw Kaneland fall behind 8-0 after the first two inning on the way to a loss. KHS also committed four errors in the field.

Thorson suffered the loss, but Blake Sowell recorded a double.

“I think we found out who the guys are that we can lean on and who the guys are that we need to get going,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “What I know is that we were in a position to win all but one game. We held the lead at some point during the last three innings of each game but ended up relinquishing it. A play here, a call there and we come home 4-1 instead of 0-5.”

On Tuesday vs. Sandwich, the Knights kicked off the home part of their non-conference schedule with a 12-10 win in a cold slugfest.

Komel recorded the win in relief, surrendering just one run in two and a third innings. He also notched three strikeouts.

Limbrunner went two-for-two from the plate, driving in three runs, scoring three times, and adding a steal to his statline.

Wednesday had a home date against Interstate Eight stalwart Plano, with results not available for press time.

On Thursday, April 4, the Knights are set to travel north to Rockton, Ill., to face host Hononegah.

Football Preview: Kaneland’s Got Talent

Photos: The Kaneland Knights varsity football team (right) hopes to keep its strong defense and improve over last year’s overall record of 21-1. The Knights lost a heartbreaker in last year’s IHSA semifinal 35-31 against Montini. Quarterback Drew David (below) will return to lead the team’s offense. File Photos

Knights’ football feels good about what 2012 holds
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For the second straight season, Kaneland football endured a heart-pounding postseason journey.

For the second straight season, Kaneland had its heart broken against visiting Montini Catholic in the Class 5A State semifinals.

But this Knights crew, behind sixth-year coach Tom Fedderly, looks to start a new journey, and have it go just a bit further.

In the early days of practice, Fedderly is feeling good about his crew that has gone undefeated in regular season play since an Oct. 16, 2009, overtime loss to Geneva, and has won 27 of its last 29 contests.

The Knights can take solace in the fact of having five all-Northern Illinois Big XII players coming back.

“A lot of guys are returning, including four offensive linemen, and that means we can spend more time on the little things,” Fedderly said.

“Obviously, when you look at our team coming back, we have a lot of people back but we have to replace Sean (Carter) and Quinn (Buschbacher), and I think we’ll have some kids that’ll do that,” Fedderly said. “We have our quarterback coming back, and he’s a smart kid.”

That smart kid, Drew David, went undefeated, commanding the vaunted spread offense as a sophomore, and continues in the steps of his three-year starting predecessor, Joe Camiliere.

David passed for 39 touchdowns in 2011 and spurred comebacks against teams like DeKalb and Belvidere.

“When you look at Joe’s sophomore year and Drew’s, it’s about the same. I think they had 10 picks each. This year, we hope to not have as many turnovers. We talk about that a lot. Drew’s a smart kid, and he’s not going to make the same mistake twice,” Fedderly said. “He’s a real competitor, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Jesse Balluff returns to bear the load of the ball-carrying in his junior season.

“Last year, we didn’t know what we had coming off the ACL,” Fedderly said of the running back who battled an injury prior to the start of last season. “As the year went on, he got stronger. We just want to continue the progress with him.”

Carter and Buschbacher leave for collegiate ball in Wisconsin, meaning it’s time for new blood.

“We’ve got Zack Martinelli back and Kyle Pollastrini back; both started last year. Tyler Slamans will be out at tight end. Dylan Nauert primarily played defense last year, but he’ll take Carter’s spot and Brandon Bishop comes up, too,” Fedderly said.

On the line, Alex Snyder returns from an exceptional freshman season, and Joe Komel joins the three other returnees—Shane Jorgensen, Drew Sharp and Zach Theis.

Linebacking crew members Ryan Lawrence, Kory Harner and Gary Koehring are expected to bring more all-conference honors and big hits in 2012.

The secondary needs to replace the opportunistic ball-hawking play of Jacob Razo.

Nauert, Harner, John Pruett and Tanner Andrews are looking for picks and hits in the defensive backfield, with Dan Goress and JR Vest fighting for a spot, as well.

Buschbacher’s exit leaves a return hole, but Martinelli and Bishop are projected to offset that need.

Matt Rodriguez will contribute his kicking and punting skills in 2012.

Kaneland looks to take care of tasks and will rely on not only its coaching staff on the sidelines, but on the field.

“We have experience and really smart kids. Getting to the semis last year, they got big-time experience in big games and I think these kids have their heads on straight,” Fedderly said.

The Knights’ quest begins on Saturday, Aug. 25, against host Brooks Prep at Gately Stadium in Chicago, while the first home game is Friday, Sept. 7, against Sterling.

Varsity Football Schedule
• Saturday, Aug. 25; 4 p.m.
At Gwendolyn Brooks
College Prep HS
• Friday, Aug. 31; 7:15 p.m.
At Huntley HS
• Friday, Sept. 7; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. Sterling HS
• Friday, Sept. 14; 7:30 p.m.
At Streator High School
• Friday, Sept. 21; 7:30 p.m.
At Rochelle Township HS
• Friday, Sept. 28; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. DeKalb HS
• Friday, Oct. 5; 7:30 p.m.
At Yorkville HS
• Friday, Oct. 12; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. Sycamore HS
• Friday, Oct. 19; 7:30 p.m.
Home vs. Morris HS

Varsity roster Seniors
Kyle Pollastrini, WR/LB;
Zack Martinelli, WR/DB;
Blake Bradford, LB;
Ryan Lawrence, RB/LB;
Tanner Andrews, WR/DB;
Dan Goress, RB/LB;
Kory Harner, WR/DB;
Michael Kinder, TE/DE;
Zach Theis, OL/DL;
Caesar Estrada, OL/DL;
Nick Sharp, OL/DL;
Bradley Johnson, OL/DL
Juniors
Dan Evers, WR/DB;
JR Vest, DB;
Drew David, QB;
Gary Koehring, RB/LB;
Matt Rodriguez, K;
Brandon Bishop, WR/DB;
Tyler Slamans, TE/LB;
Tyler Carlson, QB/WR;
John Pruett, WR/DB;
Dylan Nauert, WR/LB;
Grant Wooten, WR/DB;
Jesse Balluff, RB/LB;
Nate Dyer, RB/LB;
Cole Carlson, LB;
Bryan Endrenal, OL/DL;
Justin Diddell, OL/DL;
Tom VanBogaert, TE/LB;
Sam Bower, OL/DL;
Joe Komel, OL/DL;
Shane Jorgensen, OL/DL;
Jaumaureo Phillips, OL/DL;
Evan Ortiz, OL/DL;
Alex Snyder, OL/DL
Sophomores
Connor Fedderly, WR/LB
Head coach
Tom Fedderly

State department

Photo: Jake Razo (center) was not afraid to dirty his uniform on the quest for a state title. File Photo

Defending 3A Champs look for precious medals once again
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—2011 was a summer to remember in the annals of the relatively short history of Kaneland High School baseball.

A 13-game winning streak to end the season included the first ever regional, sectional and super-sectional championships for the 26-10 Knights, and ended with dominant showings against Waterloo and Oak Forest in the Class 3A State finals in Joliet, Ill. resulting in State hardware.

For the first time ever, coach Brian Aversa and company go into a season calling themselves defending champs.

“We have to get back to doing the work that we did last year,” the sixth-year coach said. “Coming into this season, I think the guys understood that. We’re where last year isn’t an expectation, but it’s what could happen with hard work.”

Aversa, who has compiled a record of 109-61 as Knights skipper, knows he’s got roles to fill on the diamond after last year’s captain core finished out their senior campaigns a year ago.

“We were state champs last year, but we’re not this year. We can get there, but we have to take care of A, B, C, D and E,” Aversa said.

Kaneland hopes to continue the streak of a Northern Illinois Big XII rep making it to the State finals, as LaSalle-Peru made it in 2009, and DeKalb did the same in 2010.

“Our schedule prepares us very well; we have Plainfield North, Burlington Central and Marmion. I don’t know if you can get much tougher than that,” Aversa said.

Jake Razo, Tyler Heinle and left-hander Drew Peters shore up the Knights lineup and played important roles in the State run. Razo in the outfield, Heinle at the backstop and Drew Peters on the mound take the reigns as leaders.

“They’re leaders and will lead by example. That will filter down to the younger players and even the seniors,” Aversa said.

The pitching rotation comes with the State-championship winning hurler Peters, junior John Hopkins, righty seniors Trevor Storck and Bryan Van Bogaert. With the bullpen being a work in progress, the hope is someone emerging like last year’s late season closer Kyle Davidson.

The outfield loses some key personnel to graduation, but Aversa is eager to see what the new crew can do.

“We have great speed out there, we have guys like Razo, Ray Barry, Quinn Buschbacher, Kyle Pollastrini, Mike Tattoni. They are all speed guys,” Aversa.

With guys like Bobby Thorson, who made a case for “Mr. June”, and Sam Komel no longer patrolling the infield, Kaneland hopes it’s set for 2012.

Senior Tom Fox earns a regular starting gig at third base.

“Tom will be a big surprise, and he has a great baseball mind and played in the shadow of Bobby and Drew French and getting more confidence in his abilities,” Aversa said.

Trever Heinle takes over at shortstop, and junior Joe Pollastrini mans second. Jordan Jones and Peters will split time at first base.

Kaneland knows the NIB-12 setup makes the lineup battle-tested and could lead to potentially bigger things, hopefully on par with last year.

“DeKalb will be up there, and we can’t look past schools like Yorkville and Rochelle; they finished last but run a regional. We’re going to take it one series at a time,” Aversa said.

The Knights’ journey was set to begin on Wednesday at Plainfield North, and they head to Burlington Central on Thursday, March 22.

Kaneland High School Honor Roll

High Honor Roll
Freshman: Omar Aguilar, Megan Bartholet, Anissa Becker, Rabina Beepath, Jacob Brown, Bryan Bulger, Jason Carlquist, Victoria Clinton, Jaemee Cordero, Mallory Dugan, River Dunne, Jarod Erlandson, Gemma Esposito, Connor Fedderly, James Fell, Robert Foy, Murphy Garcia, Andrew Garland, Breanna Geller, Emily Grams, Brittany Grider, Daniel Hammermeister, Riley Hannula, Anna Hayman, Shannon Herra, Kylee Hill, Olivia Hutar, Brooke Jablonski, Madison Jurcenko, Allison Kadampelil, Stephanie Karolewicz, Madison Keith, Ryan Koeppen, Rachel Kowalski, Matthew Krajewski, Kendall Krawczyk, Colleen Landers, Ashley Larsen, Axel Larsen, Julia Lennon, Andrew Lesak, Steven Limbrunner, Kristin Lipinis, Aislinn Lodwig, Alexis Lund, Alejandra Martinez-Aviles, Alyssa McCannon, Nicole McClellan, Michelle McCracken, Brianna McElroy, Rachel Miller, Jonathan Mills, Marissa Mulligan, Alexia Orosco, Samantha Payton, Marisa Peters, Gina Pettenon, Sabrina Pilkington, Cody Pitstick, Regan Prost, Kassidy Reever, Mitchell Reger, Anna Senese, Morgan Sikon, Amber Spaetzel, Michael Stanley, Nicholas Steers, Caitlyn Strasser, Elle Tattoni, Hannah Theis, Kyra Trynoski, Allison Van Bogaert, Emma Wallace, Hannah Wallace, Taylor Washlow, Anna Wendling, Austin Wheatley, Morgan Withey, Sarah Wolfe

Sophomore: Theresa Alef, Mitchell Bateman, Alexander Beck, Steven Becker, Brandon Bishop, Lauren Black, Morgan Buerke, Molly Campbell, Erika Carlson, Melissa Cherry, Hayley Contorno, Riley Coyle, Christine Crews, Andrew David, Kyle DiSandro, Megan Franklin, Spencer Good, Kyla Goodine, Kelsy Goodwin, Tatiana Guerrero, Kayla Hedgren, Caroline Heimerdinger, Madeline Heinzer, Mara Hernandez Gonzalez, Madison Hester, Tyler Hill, Tyler Holan, Michael Howard, Casey Jacobson, Shane Jorgensen, Koehring, Gary Koehring, Nathaniel Kucera, Emily Laudont, Eun Woo Lim, Jennifer Lubic, Kaley Martens, Rachel Mathys, Meredith McCaffrey, Carissa Miller, Abigail Needham, Brittany Olson, Julie Panasik, Mary Piazza, Eileen Ruppel, Alexandria Russell, Katelyn Schmidt, Tyler Slamans, Rachel Steinmiller, Nicholas Stollard, Elizabeth Strang, Delaney Stryczek, Jordan Thelander, Curtis Thorson, Thomas Van Bogaert, Christian VanDinther, Sophie Wallace, Brin Wilk, Azalia Wilkerson, Michael Williams, Amber Winquist-Bailey, Zachary Winthers, Ethan Witt, Lucas Wolski, Lauren Zick, Nathan Zitko

Junior: Gabriella Aguirre, Lauren Banbury, Kami Bauer, Erica Brettman, Myles Chick, Rachael Clinton, Joshua Cohrs, Vanessa Cook, Kelsey Cotton, Robert Debolt, Abigail Dodis, Austin Doyle, Katelyn Dray, Brendan Dunphy, Zachary Eckhardt, Caroline Eichelberger, Christopher Farrell, Sean Flamand, Dominique Galloway, Sarah Grams, Keriann Groen, Nicole Grossman, Emily Gulanczyk, Nicole Hanlon, Alyson Harner, Brooke Harner, David Hernandez, Jenice Heyob, Conor Johnson, Erin Kettelkamp, Alec Koczka, Jessica Kolzow, Alexander Kovach, Taylor Krawczyk, Joseph Kuipers, Brittany Larsen, Cara Lenhardt, Matthew Limbrunner, Benjamin Longson, Stephanie Maras, Jay Markuson, Madeline McMullen, Daniel Miller, Alyssa Nolte, Allyson O’Herron, Beau Ott, Nicholas Philips, Joseph Pollastrini, Ashley Prost, Maxim Reger, Lauren Rusnok, Michael Saucedo, Jessica Smith, Nathaniel Snyder, Karizza Sotelo, Samantha Sparks, Savannah Stasik, Morgan Stewart, Ryan Straughn, Brianne Strobel, Maria Tapia Escobedo, Alexandra Vickery, Abby West, Jessica Woodward

Senior: Lauren Allen, Rebecca Arnold, Lilly Berrend, Madison Bluml, Brianna Brehm, Taylor Buri, Jocelyn Cabral, Lauren Companiott, Ashley Diddell, Katelyn Dudzinski, Brian Edwards, Eric Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Grace Fabrizius, Ariel Geraghty, Noelle Goodine, Kelsey Gould, Adam Grams, Malory Groen, Elizabeth Howie, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Denitza Koleva, Kaitlyn Kolzow, Benjamin Kovalick, Stelios Lekkas, McKinzie Mangers, Jacob Mazuc, Austin McElderry, Kayley McPhee, Anna Novotny, William Osborne, Athanasios Pesmajoglou, Drew Peters, Jordan Phillips, Alexa Reger, Karyn Ribbens, Josias Rodriguez, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Maria Rossi, Alejandra Salinas, Connor Sandquist, Melissa Schmidt, Veronica Seawall, Ashley Shearer, Kylie Siebert, Ashlyn Slamans, Molly Speckman, Anthony Sperando, Brandon Stahl, Trevor Storck, Katherine Taylor, Valerie Tockstein, Catherine Tolan, Amber Urich, Marissa Villafuerte, Savannah Webb, Kathleen Werrline, Anders Winquist-Bailey, Elliot Witt, John Wooten

Regular Honor Roll
Freshman: Karina Alcantara-Camargo, Mariah Ausbury, Jacob Bachio, Melanie Bateman, Ivan Bohorquez, Nicholas Boose, Amy Burgholzer, Briel Castellese, Hannah Conley, Amy Croft, Gabriel David, Destiny Diaz, Courtney Diddell, Zachary Douglas, Sarah Dratnol, Alyssa Evans, Jeremy Faletto, Colton Fellows, Elise Fichtel, Sam Ford, Kevin Fuchs, Justin Garcia, Julia Golbeck, Victoria Guyton, McKayla Helm, Zachary Justus, Joshua Kasap, Rachel Keske, Joshua Kohler, Alyson Kowalczyk, Jessica Kucera, Shannon Limbrick, Matthew Lyons, Raymond McGarvey, Caitrin Mills, Lenora Murphy, Meghen Nance, Kayla Norell, Taylor Opperman, Nicole Partipilo, Katrina Paulick, Lauren Pence, Kellsie Pepponi, Noah Perez, Blaine Rivas, Vanessa Saltijeral, Colleen Schrems, Samantha Schrepferman, Deanna Scialabba, Jacob Sheehan, Christine Shelton, Aaron Steenwyk, Evan Thompson, Taylor Tindall, James Tockstein, Rachel Urich, Paige Wagner, Charles Wehrmann, Samantha White, Nicholas Winthers, John Wolf, Joshua Yeggy

Sophomore: Johnathan Bahena Diaz, Jesse Balluff, James Bartholomew, Anna Bateman, Dzenan Bogaljevic, Michelle Bohanek, Ryan Bower, Alexandra Brenwall, Johnathan Briggs, Lanie Callaghan, Gina Campobasso Jarvis, Andrew Carroll, Ryan Caul, Lesly Chavez, Jacob Cinkus, Taylor Corbett, Michael Deja, Christina Delach, Justin Diddell, Dakota Drefke, Emily Eckert, Daniel Evers, Alyssa Faulkner, Angelique Franks, Brittany Giannini, Denise Gombar, Christopher Hernandez, Jessica Jablonski, Matthew Kalinowski, Brittany Kemp, Samuel Kitz, Lydia Krauz, Broderick Kuhar, Sara Laurie, Thung Lee, Stefanos Lekkas, Nicolas Likeum, Ryan Longson, Trevor Malatek, Kellyn McMullan, Mikaela Messick, Shannon O’Shea, Joshua Opp, Andre Palpant, Anthony Parillo, Alexa Parrenas, Mason Pieczynski, Alec Pope, Shannon Ransford, Muhammad Rehman, Taylor Robertson, Paige Robinson, Joshua Rodriguez, Kyle Romas, Teri Ruffolo, Zackery Russell, Kaprice Sanchez, Blake Schultz, Kaleb Schuppner, Alexander Speckman, Allison Steininger, Sydney Strang, Ashlee Tennant, Cameron Thomas, Katelyn Treinen, Alyson Utterback, Matthew Vander Sande, Cynthia Vasquez, John Venneri, Jessica Villafuerte, Noelia Villanueva, Kelly Wallner, Lucas Welz, Nicholas Welz, Zachary Wielgos, Thomas Williams, Grant Wooten

Junior: Julia Angelotti, Olubukola Ayegbusi, Joanna Barragan, Alex Baumgartner, Jennifer Bicos, Jason Biddle, Emma Bradford, Margaret Brundige, Bailey Burns, Romina Carrano, Ashley Castellanos, Jacob Childress, Madeline Cole, Nicholas Crawford, Anna Croft, Austen Davis, Laken Delahanty, Claiborne Denlinger, Hannah Dewar, Natalie Dietrich, Alonzo Dominguez, Miricle Dominguez, Breanna Evola, Marshall Farthing, Kristin Gabrielson, Jordan Ginther, Sean Glennon, Jack Grimes, Stephen Gust, Nikolas Hale, Kory Harner, Tyler Hawbecker, Alexander Held, Kirstin Hinds, Meagan Holloman, Kushtrim Ismaili, Lisa Jennings, Johnson, Bradley Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Nicholas Katsigiannis, Brad Kigyos , Samuel Kilgore, Esther Kong, Luke Kreiter,, Baylee Lancaster,, Tanisha Lee,, Kara Leyden, Katherine Lucarelli, Sydney Luse, Alexandra Lyons, Zachary Martinelli, Jacqueline McClellan, Stephen McCracken, Joshua McHenry, James Merletti, Eric Meuer, Savanah Miles, Brayden Miller, Paige Nachreiner, Alyssa Nahley, Morgan Newhouse, Cory Nordine, Sarah Norman, Adam Poczekaj, Kyle Pollastrini, MacKenzie Powell, Lyndi Scholl, Collin Seidelman, Benjamin Sommers, Manuel Tapia- Zachary Theis, Kalani Tovar, Jack Van Gemert, Taylor Velazquez, Jemma Waldrop, Caitlin Wallace, Kaitlyn Wendling, Abbie Wilhelm, Connor Williams, Alexander Willis, Morgan Wojciechowski, Danielle Wylie

Senior: Kourtni Bingley, Melissa Bohorquez, Zachary Brown, Emily Carr, Colton Carter, Sean Carter, Jacob Chevalier, Acalia Cleaver, Zachary Douglas, Megan Dressel, , Tyler Fabrizius, John Goodrich, Joseph Gorenz, Casey Haffner, Bridget Hankes, Daniel Hansen, Samantha Hansen, David Heine, Austin Henkelman, Phoojywg Her, Heather Hochsprung, Alexandria Hornback, Seleana Isaacs, Sarah Kitz, Kelly Kovacic, Alec Krueger, Troy Krueger, Kathryn Lanute, Kayley Larsen, Cesar Lazcano, Nicholette LeBlanc, Victoria Likeum, Madison Limbrick, Madeline Meredith, Amelia Napiorkowski, Diana Nuno, Konstantin Paraskevov, Jari Ramos-Orbe, Sawyer Rego, Courtney Reiss, Jake Rosko, Margaret Ruppel, Alejandro Salinas, Max Sanko, Demi Schlehofer, Dana Schultz, Matthew Simmons, Grace Snyder, Erica Sorensen, Michael Tattoni, Mackenzie Theisen, Carolina Tovar, Shannon Wallace, Nicholas Wielgos, Joshua Williams, Jordyn Withey, Michael Withey, Maverick Wojciechowski

Comeback city

Photo: Knight Zack Martinelli (11) was integral on offense and special teams in the astounding 49-38 comeback win over DeKalb on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights overcome 17-point second-half deficit in Barb-land
by Mike Slodki
DEKALB, Ill.—DeKalb Barbs football, as exhibited by the first playoff run since 1989 a season ago, is much improved.

As exhibited by a prolific first half and a 31-14 lead in the third quarter, the program can be downright daunting for opposing teams.

It would take a special comeback to sting the Barbs, and on Friday the 6-0 (2-0 NIB-12) Knights had it in them.

Five touchdowns, culminating in a 23-yard Jesse Balluff touchdown run with seven minutes, 15 seconds to go in the game, gave the Knights the lead for good in a 49-38 win in the brand new facilities of DeKalb High School.

DeKalb fell to 3-3 (0-2 NIB-12) with the loss.

A 24-point second quarter for the Barbs was capped by two-way player Brian Sisler’s 52-yard interception return with 14 seconds to go in the half for a 24-14 lead.

	It seemed like everyone had a big play in them on Friday. 	Even when a second-half play looked to be going sour, it ended up sweet.  	Quinn Buschbacher (22) extended a play on a pass for 32 yards, but fumbled. However, Kyle Pollastrini helped his fellow wideout with a recovery. 	Jesse Balluff found the end zone to give KHS the lead for good on the next play.

In the third quarter, Sisler snuck the ball in from the three to maintain a 31-14 lead with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter.

“We started to get glassy eyes, but we knew the seniors had to step up with the big play,” KHS secondary member Jake Razo said. “We have a young team, and Brian Sisler is great for DeKalb. We knew we could come back.”

Drew David (17-of-24, 295 yards, 3 TD) found Zack Martinelli with 6:32 remaining in the third on a 23-yard scoring pass to make it 31-21, and the next drive had Quinn Buschbacher scoring on a 26-yard TD pass with 3:25 to go to close within 31-28.

The fourth quarter started dubiously for Kaneland as DeKalb running back Dylan Hottsmith floated a halfback option touchdown pass to Mike Olson with 11:07 remaining in the game for a 38-28 lead.

Kaneland came back with a six-play drive, and David found Sean Carter on a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it 38-35.

Forcing a punt brought KHS back in business, and Buschbacher caught a pass for a 32-yard gain, only to fumble. Kyle Pollastrini was there for the fortunate recovery. Balluff then found paydirt with 7:15 to go.

After another forced punt, Kaneland put the exclamation point on the night, as Balluff scampered for a 27-yard TD run with 5:04 to play.

“Something we told the guys in the locker room at halftime was forget about the mistakes,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We can come back, and this says a lot about guys like Drew and Jesse, who kept it together.”

The sophomores trounced DeKalb, 41-0.

The next challenge for the Knights is Friday, Oct. 7, against 4-2 Yorkville. Peterson Field will also be the site for a Pink Out, with players brandishing pink colors to create awareness of the fight against breast cancer.

Kaneland Knights drill Dixon, 59-14

Photo: Knight Zack Martinelli (11) escapes Dixon’s Scott Goad on his way to a 25-yard touchdown that made the margin 40-7 in the third quarter. Photo by Ryan Wells

Kaneland improves to 3-0 with offensive explosion
by Mike Slodki
DIXON—At his most popular, the 40th President of the United States put forth a picture of optimism.

In his former boyhood stomping grounds of Dixon, Ill., even the most ardent Duke fan was hard-pressed to put a sunny picture on the end result.

Much like last year’s 55-6 drubbing of the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe, the Knights kept the scoreboard operator busy in a 59-14 handling of the host Dukes, and improved to 3-0 in the process.

Kaneland begins 3-0 for the second straight campaign and for the third time in six seasons.

The Knights achieved running clock status for the second time in three weeks and amassed 486 total yards, compared to Dixon’s 197.

Sophomore signal-caller Drew David continues to work the offense at a winning pace, going 15-for-27 for 274 yards and five TD throws.

Jesse Balluff ran 20 times for 129 yards and three touchdown runs, while Zack Martinelli caught five balls for 136 yards and two scores.

Martinelli, with 2011 being his first sustained varsity time, thinks the team is feeling more comfortable as the weeks and wins pile up.

“We would always get a big return, the line did their job and the receivers got open. Our line’s tough, and we keep powering through and punching it in,” Martinelli said.

The return game was helped by Quinn Buschbacher, who had a big 71-yard kickoff return setting up the third KHS score, and 89 yards worth of punt returns.

David found Martinelli on a 56-yard touchdown three minutes, 55 seconds into the game.

Play of the Knight vs Dixon
Quinn Buschbacher (22) isn’t an award-winning actor, but his performance can be both dynamic and heartbreaking. If you’re Dixon, anyway. After Dixon signal-caller Scott Goad scored on a 32-yard scamper to close within 13-7 in the second frame, Buschbacher caught the ensuing kickoff. The senior raced all the way down to the 10-yard line, setting the stage for a Sean Carter TD catch.

Kaneland’s four touchdowns in the second were scored on a 14-yard pass to Kyle Pollastrini, a 16-yard pass to Sean Carter making it 20-7, a Balluff 1-yard plunge and a six-yard strike to Buschbacher.

Martinelli scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass, while Balluff’s three-yard run closed out the scoring in the third.

The two fourth-quarter scores came from Balluff’s three-yard TD run and a five-yarder from Brandon Cottier.

The Knights travel to LaSalle-Peru High School for the first time on Friday, Sept. 16.

The sophomores also beat Dixon, 42-6.

Knights freshmen football took a 47-8 win from Glenbard North on Monday.

Knights start long weekend with win over Huntley

Photo: vof Kaneland brings down the ball carrier in the third quarter of Kaneland’s varsity home win against Huntley on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It seemed like every time Huntley came up with a big play in Maple Park on a humid Friday night, KHS was there to answer.

After working their offense and making enough plays on the other side of the ball, the Knights’ abundant answers sentenced the visiting Red Raiders to a 34-13 loss.

KHS has now taken the last two of three overall non-conference meetings from Huntley since the series began in 2009.

With the win, Kaneland improves to 2-0, while Huntley falls to 0-2.

In other levels of action, Kaneland’s sophomore squad fell to Huntley 27-6, while the freshmen came away with a 14-13 win.

Drew David took care of the Kaneland offense in his second week as signal-caller, and went 11-for-19 with 224 yards and four touchdown throws as opposed to only one pick.

“The game is just so much faster on varsity level,” David said. “Just getting the game reps, I think it helps, and the wide receivers do a fantastic job.”

Jesse Balluff had 88 yards rushing, 48 of them on one impressive first-quarter touchdown where he powered through would-be tacklers after the play looked stopped.

“When you have younger guys playing, you wonder how things are going to go,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We keep preaching it’s a four-quarter game. We got down and our kids came back.”

Knight asset Quinn Buschbacher was the leading reciever with 100 yards on five grabs, while Sean Carter had 72 yards and two scores.

Huntley actually outgained Kaneland in total offense with 330 yards compared to 312.

On the visitors’ second drive, Ethan Connor took the pigskin and ran for a 32-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead with three minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

On the second play of Kaneland’s ensuing drive, Balluff sent his sideline into a frenzy with his 48-yard gallop. Only one minute had elasped and KHS had tied the game.

After Jake Razo recovered a James Davis fumble on Huntley’s next possession, David’s 31-yard rainbow pass to Sean Carter netted a 14-7 lead with 11 ticks left in the first.

Play of the Knight week 2

The score remained the same at halftime, but KHS put it out of reach in the third quarter thanks to two more Knight touchdown passes. The third two-play drive that resulted in a score ended with a Carter fly pattern for a 40-yard TD. The 40-yard score made it 21-7 with 9:17 remaining in the third.

A fumble by Huntley allowed KHS to put up another touchdown, this a 13-yard TD pass to Buschbacher with 6:58 remaining in the third for a 28-7 lead.

The lone fourth frame score saw Kyle Pollastrini catch his first touchdown pass of the year just seven seconds into the quarter on a 10-yard play.

Huntley’s QB Jake Brock scored on a 17-yard scamper to cap the scoring.

Up next for the Knights is the beginning of the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover games with the West division.

The Knights head west to Dixon High School. Dixon comes into the game 1-1 after dropping a 35-12 result to Rock Island Alleman on Friday.

The Dukes were 1-8 in 2010.

KNIGHT SHIFT

Score by Quarters:
1st Quarter: 35-7, Kaneland
2nd Quarter: 20-0, Kaneland
3rd Quarter: 14-0, Kaneland
4th Quarter: 9-6, Kaneland

Conference Standings >>

Winter sports preview: KHS ready to begin A.D. (after Dave) in 2010-11

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Not only do the Knights of Kaneland boys basketball want to deal with the ghosts of last year’s regional heartbreaker against the DeKalb Barbs, they also have to deal with the six-foot-10 gap in the middle of their lineup that finished 17-10 in 2010.

Dave Dudzinski takes his impressive skills to Holy Cross this fall, still leaving coach Brian Johnson a talented roster.

“It’s something that’s going to be really different for the boys,” the second-year coach said on Tuesday. “We relied heavily on Dave. He was our best player and one of the best players in the state of Illinois. The guys are going to have to have an adjustment period where they deal with trying to figure themselves out.”

Seniors include forwards Chaon Denlinger, Tyler Callaghan and Matt Spitzzeri and guards Matt Cowans, Andrew O’Herron and Zach Ringhouse.

Juniors are forwards Sean Carter and Bryan VanBogaert and guards Trever Heinle, Tyler Heinle and Jacob Razo. Sophomores are Kory Harner and Dan Miller at guard, along with Kyle Pollastrini at forward.

Three frosh are along for the ride in the form of guards Drew David and Thomas Williams and forward Daniel Helm.

“We’re going to lean on Chaon and push him to be a complete player both offensively and defensively as a 2 or 3, and he’s got a deadly shot,” Johnson said.

The team is eagerly awaiting a full-strength roster after football season concludes, and to write a new chapter after the disappointing end.

“I know the guys here from last year definitely had a bad taste in their mouths, but want to get back and have that feeling of playing in a game like that. I think about it a lot and what I could have done differently,” Johnson said about the 50-47 regional title loss.

As usual, Kaneland begins things at the Strombom Tournament in Sycamore on Tuesday, Nov. 23, against Chicago’s Hope Academy.