Tag Archives: Nate Dyer

KHS adds to luck in Quad Cities

Boys track hits the usual outdoor opener in East Moline, Ill.
KANELAND—It doesn’t seem as if the learning curve for the Knights boys track roster will be that steep, if the East Moline United High School Boys Kiwanis Invitational held at the East Moline Soule Bowl is any indication.

KHS, with a total of 113 points, was a runaway winner in group “A” over the likes of Rock Island (94.5), Pleasant Valley (80.5) and T.F. North (79).

Galesburg (78.5), the hosts (78) and Sterling (67.5) were fifth through seventh, respectively, while Geneseo (60), Rock Island Alleman (44) and Sherrard (39) rounded out the top 10. Moline (26) and Freeport (8) completed the “A’ 12.

Kaneland’s 58-point total was good for fourth in the “B” group, while it gathered 31 points in the “C” group.

The meet could have gone even better by Kaneland’s perspective, according to head coach Eric Baron.

“The meet went well for the most part, but it was a meet we could have won if everyone was healthy and in the lineup,” Baron said. “I was really pleased with how several of our younger athletes stepped in and did great jobs for us, but in general it wasn’t what we had hoped for.”

The “A” accolades came often for the Knight group, beginning with Brandon Bishop blazing a 11.99 second trail for fifth place in the 100-meter dash. Teammate Isaac Swithers took fourth in the 200m dash at 24.61. Nathaniel Kucera managed a first-place in the 800m run by navigating a 1:56.94. Kyle Carter continued the distance success with a time of 4:31.60 in the 1,600m run, for second place. Ryan Bower took fifth for Kaneland with a 10:22.64 in the 3,200m run. Brock Robertson took third in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.95, and added to his Saturday by nabbing second in the 300m hurdles with a 41.57.

Relay action in “A’ had KHS taking fifth with a time of 44.28, thanks to the efforts of Robertson, Ben Barnes, Bishop and Swithers. The 4x200m relay foursome of John Delach, Bishop, Brandon Cruz and Swithers took fifth at 1:34.33. The 4x400m relay foursome of Robertson, Bishop, Carter and Kucera took the race with a time of 3:27.41.

The field events in “A” saw highlights like Dylan Kuipers’ meet-winning pole vault effort at 14 feet and Barnes’ 20’ 11.25” first place in the long jump. Nate Dyer took the shot put with a 52’ 1” and finished second in the discus at 153’ 7”.

“B” highlights for the Knights group came courtesy of personnel like Luis Acosta’s 4:41.47 first place in the 1,600m run and Tanner Robertson’s 42.82 first in the 300m hurdles. Kaneland’s 4x400m relay foursome also won at 3:40.01. The “B” field saw a 12’ pole vault by Dan Evers for first place.

In the “C” landscape, the 100m dash saw a second by Cruz with a time of 11.74 and a 4:45.94 by Ryan Bower for second in the 1,600m run.

In the field landscape, the Knights’ Mitch Groen took first in the vault with a 12’ effort. Thrower Alex Snyder managed a first-place 44’ heave in the shot put, while Shane Jorgensen took second in the discus with a 127’1”.

A meet with DeKalb and Sycamore in Maple Park set for Tuesday was rescheduled for Thursday.

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Downright dominant

Photo: Senior Dalvell Triplett placed third in the Long Jump and first in the Triple Jump for the Knights as they rolled to a conference victory Saturday in Sterling, Ill. Photo by Marshall Farthing

Kaneland boys track talent on NIB-12 indoor display
KANELAND—When a boys track outfit like Kaneland gets used to a certain level of output, it’s not a bad thing, especially where Saturday’s Northern Illinois Big XII indoor conference meet is concerned.

Much like last year, the Kaneland boys took it to the rest of the rival conference field at the Westwood Sports Center.

With 130 team points, the Knights ran away with the meet, as 130 team points came their way. The total eclipses the 107 output from a year ago.

Dixon, Sycamore, Geneseo and DeKalb rounded out the top five, with 68, 59, 58 and 51, respectively. Yorkville (41), LaSalle-Peru (27), Sterling (24) and Rochelle (9) rounded out the scoring portion of the team sweepstakes.

Brandon Bishop got things started for the Knight side, with a fourth-place finish overall in the 60m Dash, on account of a 7.35-second effort.

Kyle Carter bested the competition in the 400m dash with a time of 52.09.

The 800m run field saw a double shot of Kaneland accomplishments, with Nathaniel Kucera taking a first (2:01.42) and teammate Austin Kintz working his way toward a fourth, thanks to a 2:08.87.

KHS leapt over obstacles in the 60m hurdles event, as seniors Dylan Nauert (8.68) and Brock Robertson (8.79) finished second and third, respectively.

In the 4x200m relay, it was the Knights taking the mantle with a time of 1:35.35, and the 4x400m did more of the same, with a first-place nod of 3:33.16. The 4x800m relay followed suit at 8:07.72 for first, a whopping 11.77 seconds faster than Dixon.

On the indoor field side of things, KHS acclimated well in the pole vault area. Senior duo Dylan Kuipers (13-9) and Dan Evers (13-3) swept the top two spots.

The Long Jump had Knight Ben Barnes grab first with a 21-1.25, and teammate Dalvell Triplett take third at 20-10. The Triple Jump saw Triplett and Barnes reverse the Knight order, with Triplett’s first (43-11.5) and Barnes’ fourth (40-2).

The indoor aspect of the Kaneland track attack yielded some pleasant surprises as the team gears up for the outdoor season, whenever the elements subside.

“(There were) lots of surprises,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “Biggest was Danny Evers going 13-3 and just missing 13-9, and Dalvell Triplett in both jumps, but his Triple Jump of 43-11 was a personal best.”

Finally, Nate Dyer took care of the Shot Put conference threat with a first-place effort of 55-5.

Kaneland’s next challenge is the well-regarded Illinois Top Times meet hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., on Saturday, March 29.

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Knights qualify 23 to Top Times meet

Kaneland High School will be well-represented at this Saturday’s Illinois Top Times track meet at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirt Center in Bloomington, Ill.

The meet kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and will reportedly be broadcast at www.usportstv.net.

For more information on the meet, visit www.illinoistoptimes.com. For the meet program with seeds, click here.

Below is a list of the KHS qualifiers, plus where they rank in their events heading into the meet.

Boys Qualifiers Girls Qualifiers
• Long JumpBen Barnes 4th

Dalvell Triplett 7th

• Pole Vault

Dylan Kuipers 4th

Dan Evers 7th

• Shot Put

Nate Dyer 1st

Shane Jorgensen 11th

• Triple Jump

Dalvell Triplett 5th

• 3200m Run

Ryan Bower 18th

• 60m Hurdles

Dylan Nauert 13th

Brock Robertson 17th

• 4x800m Relay

Lesak, Acosta,

Carter, Kucera 2nd

• 4x200m Relay

Robertson, Bishop,

Cruz, Swithers 5th

• 4x400m Relay

Robertson, Acosta,

Carter, Kucera 2nd

• Long JumpLauren Zick 5th

• High Jump

Maddie Keifer 13th

• Pole Vault

Christina Delach 4th

• 3200m Run

Brianna Bower 6th

• 60m Dash

Lauren Zick 6th

Nicole Sreenan 10th

• 200m Dash

Lauren Zick 3rd

• 800m Run

Sydney Strang 11th

• 4x200m Relay

Galor, Sreenan,

Zick, Elliott 9th

• 4x400m Relay

Galor, Sreenan,

Richtman, Strang 6th

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2014 Boys Track & Field Preview: Sprint toward success

Photo: Relay, distance and sprint runners resort to running laps through school halls due to poor weather so far this season. Photo by Patti Wilk

Sixth-place finishers from a year ago, Knight boys track takes charge
KANELAND—It looks to be more of the same for Kaneland High School boys track in 2014.
That’s the last thing area rivals need or want.

Despite the loss of state qualifying anchors like Brandon Cottier, Conor Johnson, Marshall Farthing and Tanner Andrews, ninth-year coach Eric Baron and company have their sights trained on exemplary, yet attainable, goals in 2014.

The Knights crew took the Northern Illinois Big XII by storm, taking both indoor and outdoor conference titles on their way to a sixth-place State finish for Class 2A.

“We should contend for the championship of every invite we compete in,” Baron said.

Among the important cogs returning for the Kaneland victory machine are Kyle Carter, future Southern Illinois Saluki, and Nathaniel Kucera, future Stanford Cardinal. Carter and Kucera, along with graduate Johnson and Luis Acosta, won the 4x800m relay event at State a year ago with a 7:50.26 time. Kucera also managed ninth in the 400m dash at 50.76 on the Eastern Illinois University track. Carter, Kucera and Acosta shore up the middle distance area, while ninth-place shot put State-goer Nate Dyer returns in the field category with outstanding prospects, and is joined in the throws by Shane Jorgensen.

Other returning field personnel primed for a big year include Ben Barnes for jumps, and Dylan Kuipers (11th in State) and Dan Evers in the pole vault.

Hurdles features State warrior Dylan Nauert, along with Brock Robertson. Brandon Bishop (returning medalist) and Isaac Swithers take care of the sprint category. Ryan Bower returns to take care of the distance matters, as well.

Newcomers to the varsity ranks expecting to contribute are sprinter Brandon Cruz, mid-distance athletes Austin Kintz, Drew Franklin, Sean Spaetzel and Andrew Franklin.

The mix between upper-and-lower classmen usually provides positive output on the track, the earlier the better.

“Getting individuals off to a good start is important. Our older athletes help make sure they understand training is structured to make our athletes peak in May,” Baron said.

With talent coalescing around experienced coaching and a tradition that speaks for itself, the Knights look to ward off challenges throughout the season, including the Kane County Meet on May 9 at Millennium Field in Streamwood, Ill., and the NIB-12 meet in Maple Park.

Baron knows if the conference meet is a reflection of the talent, KHS will be right up there.

“It will be an outstanding meet with a high level of competition. Expect teams from Yorkville, Dixon, DeKalb, Sycamore, Sterling, Geneseo and Ottawa to contend with us for the title,” Baron said.

KHS gets set for the first outdoor challenge of the year hosted by East Moline United on Saturday, April 12, with conference action beginning on Tuesday, April 15, against Sycamore.

The Peterson Prep, hosted by the Knights, is on Saturday, April 26.

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Knights 3rd at Batavia

Photo: Senior Dalvell Triplett was second in the Long Jump and third in the Triple Jump at Batavia Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

BATAVIA—Coach Eric Baron’s crew went just east to find some stout competition.

But the Knights held their own against 3A powerhouse Lake Park’s 128 points and Batavia’s 108 with 83 of their own at the Coach DiDomenico Indoor Invitational in Batavia. Burlington Central was fourth with 64 points, while West Aurora (42) and Bartlett (3) rounded out the field.

Dylan Kuipers achieved the lone Knight individual win with a 14-foot pole vault, while the 4x400m Relay team of Brock Robertson, Dylan Nauert, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera won with a time of 3 minutes, 31.72 seconds.

In the shot put, Nate Dyer was second with a 53’4” effort, while Shane Jorgensen was fifth with a 48’ 6.5” throw.

Dalvell Triplett placed second in the long jump with a jump of 21’ 8.5” and followed that up with a 42’ 3.25” triple jump, which was good for third.

Dan Evers also contributed field event points with his 12’ leap in the pole vault, which was good for fourth place.

Kaneland faired well in the other relays, with the 4x200m comprised of Brandon Bishop, Brock Robertson, Dylan Nauert and Issac Swithers placed third with a 1:36.24, while the 4x800m of Andrew Lesak, Luis Acosta, Austin Kintz and Sean Spatzel was fourth in 8:46.34.

In the 55m Hurdles, Nauert was second in 8.15 seconds, while Roberson was sixt in 8.35.

In the sprints, Spaetzel ran a 55.76 in the 400m Dash, placing fifth.

In the distance events, Nathanial Kucera ran a 2:00.86 to place second in the 800m, while Kyle Carter was third in the 1600m with a 4:37.83.

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Tracksters roll to win

Photo: Senior Issac Swithers runs the opening leg of the 4x160m Relay at Sycamore on Feb. 26. The relay won, and Swithers went on to place second in the 55m and 200m dashes. Photos by Ben Draper

SYCAMORE—The Kaneland boys track team started the 2014 season with a team win at a four-team meet at Sycamore Feb. 26.

Individually, the Knights won eight of the 15 events—and had won another before a controversial interference call led to the disqualification of the 4x800m Relay—to amass 92.5 points. Host Sycamore was second with 75.83 points, while Grayslake North (35.67) and Yorkville (21) rounded out the field.

Senior Dylan Kuipers won the pole vault with a leap of 14’ 0” to help Kaneland win the four-team meet.
Senior Dylan Kuipers won the pole vault with a leap of 14’ 0” to help Kaneland win the four-team meet.
Event winners included Nathanial Kucera in the 400m (54.37) and 3200m (10:36.68), Kyle Carter in the 800m (2:08.20), Dylan Nauert in the 55m Hurdles (8.34), the 4x160m (1:19.48) and 4x400m (3:40.80) relays, Dylan Kuipers in the Pole Vault (14 feet), and Nate Dyer in the Shot Put (52’ 3”).

The Knights had even more contributions in the scoring department. Issac Swithers placed second in both the 55m (7.15) and 200m (25.40) dashes, and Gary Koehring (27.40) placed fifth in the 200m, as well. In the 800m Run, Zack Wielgos (2:12.8) placed second while Jimmy Walker (2:20.70) was fourth. In the 1600m, Ryan Bower (4:52.89) was second, with Adam Lesak (5:06.28) just behind in third. Brandon Park was second in the 3200m with a time of 11:24.48,

Senior Brock Robertson  placed second in the 55m Hurdles. Teammate Dylan Nauert won the event.
Senior Brock Robertson placed second in the 55m Hurdles. Teammate Dylan Nauert won the event.
while Brock Robertson was second in the 55m Hurdles with a time of 8.49. In the field events, Dan Evers was second in the pole vault with an 11’ vault, and was also second in the triple jump with a 36’ 4.5” leap. In the shot put, Shane Jorgensen placed third with a 49’ 5.5” throw.

Up next for the Knights is the Coach DiDimenico Invitiational at Batavia Friday at 4:30 p.m.

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Knights valiant

Injuries, JCA juggernaut create perfect storm for 2nd-round elimination
JOLIET, ILL.—Even before the Class 5A playoffs began, Kaneland football knew what it could be getting into.

After a convincing win over first-round opponent Hampshire last week, Kaneland would have to deal with Montini Catholic and Sycamore in potential quarterfinal and semifinal matchups.

It was noted football factory Joliet Catholic on the immediate horizon at Joliet Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. With the penchant for big running plays and injuries coming together at an inopportune point for the Knights, Kaneland saw its season end in a 45-8 defeat.

It marked the second straight year that the Knights were tossed in the second round, having lost to host Lincoln-Way West by a 31-15 margin on Nov. 3, 2012.

The previous two seasons saw home semifinal losses to Montini to end those particular seasons.

Kaneland finishes the 2013 campaign at a still-exemplary 9-2, the first year since 2009 that the Knights didn’t finish with a double-digit win total. The loss to the Hilltoppers marked the lowest point total for the Knights since a 42-7 loss to former conference rival Geneva on Oct. 17, 2008.

For the Knights, early-season injuries to running back Jesse Balluff and lineman Zach Thielk converged with the round one back injury to wideout Brandon Bishop, and in-game injuries to quarterback Drew David and lineman Sam Bower to make matters difficult for the visitors.

“David tried to slide as he got hit and hurt his ribs,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

David was 6-for-13 for 69 yards before being knocked out of the game. Classmate Tyler Carlson stepped in and went 10-for-18 for 95 yards.

Isaac Swithers ran for 34 yards on seven carries, and John Pruett had 55 yards receiving on five catches.

JCA had 392 yards rushing on the night, paced by Nick Borgra’s and Nick Ivlow’s 140 yards apiece.

KHS began with the ball, saw some openings and moved down the field, thanks to runs by Swithers and David and a pass to Pruett, but the drive stalled after 11 plays and 52 yards following an incomplete pass to Swithers. On the Hilltoppers’ second play from scrimmage, a counter by Ivlow resulted in a 67-yard touchdown scamper with 6:52 to go in the frame, despite Dylan Nauert almost chasing him down.

An additional drive for either team in the quarter stalled, but Joliet Catholic took control in the second quarter. Kaneland had a chance to tie matters with a pass that went through the hands of Pruett in the end zone on a second-and-10 from the 21 of JCA. Two plays later, Matt Rodriguez was wide left on a 38-yard field goal attempt.

Ivlow immediately turned around and rocketed to an 80-yard TD run on the next play with 4:58 remaining in the half for a 14-0 lead. A three-and-out for the Knights gave way to another Hilltopper possession, and Ivlow managed his third touchdown two plays later from 24 yards out, giving the hosts a 21-0 lead with 2:22 before halftime.

Ivlow would cap his astronomical first half on the next drive with a 15-yard touchdown run with 1:06 to go for his fourth touchdown and a 28-0 lead.

The floodgates would open for the Hilltoppers on a 42-yard touchdown run by Borgra with 6:17 left in the third for a 35-0 lead, followed by a 23-yard field goal by Brian Bravo with 4:00 to go for a 38-0 lead, and the running clock kicked in with a 51-yard scoring scamper by Borgra with 29 seconds to go in the third for a 45-0 lead.

Kaneland finally got on the scoreboard with an orchestrated drive that ended on a three-yard run and a two-point catch by Nate Dyer with 6:44 for the final 37-point deficit.

Dyer and company brought their skills the best they could not only throughout the season-ender, but the entire year as well, despite not being at total strength.

“It has been a rough year with injuries,” Dyer said. “Especially on the turf, that’s kind of a nightmare at times for us. Our juniors worked so hard in practice. Everybody is going to talk like all the other schools, saying ‘Our seniors are gone.’ Those kids worked just as hard. I expect them to come back firing.”

“We lost to some good teams this year, but the only thing I can say is just how grateful I am coaching these kids,” Fedderly said. “It was just a tremendous run that we had; unfortunately, when it rained, it poured with the injuries with Bishop, David and Bower. Hats off to (Joliet Catholic), they did a nice job.”

Jaumaureo Phillips & Gary Koehring

Team defense

35 points by offense overshadowed by defensive gem in first round
KANELAND—Drew David and the Knights offense was clicking, but it was the other side of the ball that stole the show.

The Knights opened the 2013 playoffs in dominating fashion, picking apart the visiting Hampshire Whip-Purs 35-0.

Defensive coordinator Keith Snyder was very happy with how his unit played.

“I was really happy with how the kids responded,” Snyder said. “We’ve been trying to get back to being a little more simple and letting the kids play football after the Sycamore game, and the last two weeks they’ve done a heck of a job doing it.”

On Friday, the Knights’ defense was always in the right spots to make plays.

“We tried to dial it down to let the kids fly around and be aggressive, and they’ve really responded,” he said.

Senior Gary Koehring, who led the team with 8.5 tackles, led the defense, which has given up an average of only 10.5 points through last Friday’s game.

“Our defense played awesome; we all are buying into what coach Snyder has us doing,” Koehring said, “Everyone is doing their jobs, and we’re just playing as a whole unit.”

Koehring was impressed with his teammates’ contributions, too.

“Tyler Carlson played really well; he had two interceptions. He’s done a really nice job filling in for our two graduated guys last year in Korey Harner and Blake Bradford,” Koehring said. “Andy Kray steps up as a sophomore; he’s been doing really good this year.”

Carlson also had a tackle for a loss, and Kray had one of three sacks for the Knights.

“Everyone has just stepped up as a unit this year,” said Koehring.

The Knight’s offense was impressive, too. Junior Isaac Swithers got the Knights on the board on their third possession with a three-yard touchdown run with 2:56 left in the first quarter.

The Knights drove the ball well early in the second quarter, with key catches coming from senior John Pruett (five catches for 91 yards), and were rewarded with another Swithers TD run, this time from the goal line.
Later in the second, after a Brandon Bishop 51-yard touchdown pass was called back due to a penalty, David found junior Connor Fedderly for a seven-yard TD pass with 1:57 to go before the half.

Two third quarter touchdowns: a four-yard run by senior Nate Dyer after a nice drive, and a quick strike 14 yard pass from David to senior Tyler Slamans as time expired in the third quarter finished the scoring on the night.

However, a scary moment came with 7:51 left in the third quarter, when Bishop (seven catches, 91 yards) had to be taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons after taking a helmet to the back on a punt return. The senior did give his teammates and the Peterson Field crowd a thumbs up as he was loaded into the ambulance. Head coach Tom Fedderly said Bishop’s playing status wouldn’t be determined until late in the week.

Hampshire finished the night with only 84 yards of total offense, and had just four first downs.

“To do what we did tonight and with the turnovers, (to give up) only four first downs and to shut a team out in the playoffs—that’s a total team defensive effort right there,” Snyder said after the game.

Snyder credited his unit’s preparation for keeping the Whip-Purs offense in shambles.

“It starts in film study, and they’ve been phenomenal. They see things I haven’t even seen, and I pride myself in studying film,” Snyder said.

Snyder was quick to credit the rest of the defensive staff.

“Their position coaches do a tremendous job with them—Pat Ryan with the inside linebackers, Marcus Goedken with the defensive line and Ryan Gierke with the defensive backs—so when they get to me, I can just coach them on some smaller things, and then they just know what is going on out there,” Snyder said. “It makes my job much easier when you have smart football players that play like that.”

The Knights now travel to Joliet, Ill., to take on the Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers at Joliet Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. The winner of the second-round matchup will face the winner of the Montini Catholic/Marian Catholic matchup in the Quarterfinals.


Photos by Patti Wilk

Nate Dyer had 62 yards in Kaneland’s 35-12 triumph at DeKalb Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

By the numbers

KHS increases regular season win streak to 34 with NIB-12 win at DeKalb
DEKALB—Kaneland and DeKalb have had quite the football battles the last two years.

In 2011, Kaneland found itself visiting the new Dresser Road turf for the first time and down 31-14 before staging a monster second-half comeback in a 49-38 win.

Last year, the Knights put up 66 points on the visiting Barbs.

On Friday, the process was a little more elementary: withstand big plays, ball-control-tinged running, and key passes, leading to a 35-12 win at DeKalb High School.

The win marked the 34th consecutive win for Kaneland football in the regular season. Kaneland improved to a playoff-qualified 6-0 and 2-0 in the Northern Illinois Big XII East division, and has never lost a conference game in the group that began in the 2010 season.

DeKalb fell to 3-3, with an 0-2 mark in conference play. Kaneland has never lost to DeKalb in eight straight conference meetings.

“We’ve got a lot a lot of respect for their coach (former Belvidere coach Matt Weckler), and we’ve played him the last two years in the first round,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We have a lot of respect for that offense. They spread themselves out and get into space. If you make one mistake they can make a big play, as we saw. We’re really happy to hold these guys to 12 points.”

For the Knights, Drew David threw three touchdown passes on a night where he was 16-for-26 for 330 yards.

DeKalb running back Dre Brown had 130 yards rushing, a game-high.

After an opening DeKalb drive came up empty, Kaneland used Isaac Swithers (71 yards) and Nate Dyer (62 yards) to move the ball from their own 14-yard line. David mixed in a pass to Brandon Bishop (five catches, 65 yards) before rolling out and throwing a deep ball to tight end Tyler Slamans for a 31-yard touchdown. Slamans’ first-ever varsity TD gave KHS a 7-0 lead with 3:33 to go in the frame. After the Barbs punted another drive away, David found wideout Connor Fedderly for a 27-yard completion, and a bomb in stride to John Pruett (85 yards receiving) for a 58-yard scoring strike and a 14-0 lead with 1:06 left in the first quarter.

DeKalb gathered some momentum back when the second play of the next drive yielded a 77-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jack Sauter up the middle to make it 14-6 with 25 ticks left in the quarter.

The lone scoring drive in the second quarter ended with a six-yard run up the middle by Swithers to make it 21-6 with 6:41 to go in the half. The next two scoring opportunities for Kaneland ended with a blocked field goal and an interception.

Asked to carry more of a load along with Dyer, with an accent on speed for the ground game, Swithers is feeling more comfortable.

“Jesse went down so I just stepped in at running back, and I played last year, but I have to fill his shoes,” Swithers said. “I’m a lot faster on the turf, it’s a nice place to play.”

In the third quarter, the Barbs forced Kaneland to punt and converted on an 89-yard touchdown scamper by Brown to close within 21-12 with 8:50 remaining in the third. After Brown fumbled the ball away to Kaneland two drives later, the Knights used a couple of runs by Swithers, a pass to Dylan Nauert, a run by David and a two-yard touchdown run by Dyer to make it 28-12 with 2:14 to go in the third.

The lone score in the fourth quarter came on a David conversion from the eight-yard line with 9:39 remaining for the final 23-point margin.

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Late-night run

Photo: Nate Dyer (32) had a big night for the Knights, rushing for three touchdowns. Photo by Patti Wilk

Sterling can’t counter Kaneland (3-0) balance
STERLING, Ill.—Kaneland showed a great crossover move on Friday night, but not on the basketball court.

Instead, the Knights football roster (3-0) successfully handled its Northern Illinois Big XII West division opponent on the turf of Sterling Chevrolet Field, the home of the Sterling Golden Warriors (2-1), in a 48-7 running clock defeat.

For the Knights, it marked the 31st consecutive victory in the regular season, and marked the third win in the last four meetings between the two schools.

Kaneland beat Sterling in the Class 5A State quarterfinals in Maple Park in 2006, a 52-45 double-overtime epic. Sterling returned the favor in Whiteside County two years later in a 23-21 first-round meeting. KHS bested the visiting Golden Warriors on Sept. 14, 2012, 42-0.

KHS gained 369 yards of total offense, compared to 80 for the hosts, with ball-carrier Nate Dyer running like a bull for the Knights with a game-high 97 yards.

“We always got guys coming in and that’s what we strive for is if a man goes down, we get that second man in,” Dyer said. “Every team that comes in, we have to expect them to be a tough team. We just had to practice hard and play hard.”

Dyer (three TDs) took the brunt of the carries, along with Isaac Swithers and Dylan Nauert, spelling Jesse Balluff, who went down in pain after being tackled to the sidelines after a first-quarter pass. The senior was on crutches with a wrap on his knee after the contest.

Senior quarterback Drew David passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for a score of his own.

David and Co. were adept at extending plays for more gains on Friday.

“The line always does a great job with blocking,” David said. “(Sterling) kind of threw different coverage than we were expecting, so it kind of confused us a little bit, but we always have guys that can make plays.”

To get to the ground punishments, Kaneland began the first drive with passes to Balluff, John Pruett, Nauer and Balluff again to gather 62 yards of offense. Five plays later, David snuck in from the one-yard line for a 7-0 lead with 7:41 to go in the first.

After a punt by Sterling, Kaneland took over and went six plays for 45 yards, ending in an 18-yard fade pattern to Connor Fedderly, his first varsity touchdown. The score made it 14-0 with 3:15 to go.

KHS would score on its third consecutive drive when David, Swithers and Dyer would make productive carries, and Dyer would scamper for a 10-yard touchdown just six seconds into the second frame for a 20-0 edge.

Sterling would strike back in short fashion, thanks to a 38-yard touchdown pass to Logan Wharff 21 seconds later to close within 20-7. Wharff set up the play with a 60-yard kickoff return.

Later, Kaneland would get pick from Swithers to set up the ball at the Sterling 28. On the third run of the drive, Dyer’s six-yard score would make it 27-7 with 5:04 left in the half.

The Knights would convert on the next drive toward the end of the frame, with six runs and one pass. Dyer’s four-yard run completed a 60-yard drive for a 34-7 lead with 43 seconds before the buzzer.

Two third-quarter scores put the game on ice, as Nauert took an inside handoff and went 19 yards for a touchdown with 8:37 to go to make it 41-7, and Nauert made an up-for-grabs catch from the three with 4:19 to go for the 48-7 margin, completing an eight-play drive.

Photos by Patti Wilk:

Kaneland Football 001

Higher ground

Photo: The Knights Dylan Nauert carries the ball during the first quarter. Photo by Erik Anderson

Knights beat Elmhurst-based namesake in week 2 affair
KANELAND—Friday night’s first drive set the tone.

Facing an all-new non-conference opponent in Elmhurst’s IC Catholic Prep, Kaneland could have relied on the air game, but instead went to the rushing attack spurred on by workhorses Jesse Balluff, Dylan Nauert and Nate Dyer.

The first drive of the contest lasted nine plays and went 75 yards, ending with a 20-yard touchdown run around left end for Balluff with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter, setting the stage for an eventual 45-14 domination of the visitors.

“We just love running this year,” Balluff said. “We have a huge line that’s just dominant, and anybody can run behind them and get a touchdown, seriously.”

For Kaneland football, it’s the 30th consecutive regular season win in a row. The Knights haven’t lost a non-conference regular season matchup in four years, last dropping a 2009 matchup to Huntley.

It was a departure for the Knights crew, who last played someone other than Marmion Academy or Huntley in the season’s second game back in 2004, in a 34-0 win over Ridgewood High School.

Quarterback Drew David went 10-for-17 for 165 yards on the night, while Balluff went 185 yards on 16 carries.

On the next KHS drive, the Knights executed a 10-play drive with a concentration on ball-control. Matt Rodriguez booted a 38-yard field goal to give the hosts a 10-0 lead with 1:05 remaining in the quarter.

The ICC (1-1) drive that followed was stopped in its tracks after one play after a rush on the quarterback by Isaac Swithers resulted in a fumble recovery by Andrew Kray.

A touchdown pass to John Pruett was called back due to a penalty, but Balluff took charge with a 35-yard touchdown scamper on the next play for a 17-0 edge with 15 ticks left in the frame.

The opposing Knights finally got on the board with 8:13 left in the second on a six-yard touchdown run to close within 17-7.

Balluff had three carries on the next drive for Kaneland and scored his third touchdown of the game, with a 1-yarder up the middle for a 24-7 edge with 5:59 remaining in the half.

Kaneland’s defense took over on the next ICC drive, with Ryan Bower emerging with a sack. Four plays later, linebacker Cole Carlson picked off a pass and went 51-yards down the sideline for a touchdown and a 31-7 lead with 2:41 to go in the half.

The third quarter officially put the game on ice, despite a fourth-quarter score by ICC. Nauert ran the ball in from the 10 with 7:32 remaining in the third for a 38-7 lead, and a three-yard touchdown with 2:43 to go in the third for a 45-7 lead.

A running clock scenario was almost set into motion, but a punt return TD by Nauert was flagged for an illegal block at the tail-end of the third quarter.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly was pleased to see the early gameplan come to fruition.

“We thought we had the advantage up front,” Fedderly said. “We were going to keep running the ball until they stopped it.”

FB_2

Coming up big

Photo: Linebacker Cole Carlson contributed an interception during Saturday’s game against Brooks Prep of Chicago. Photo by Patti Wilk

Defense makes tide-changing plays in 27-7 win over Brooks
KANELAND—Kaneland football’s defense on Saturday night picked up the pieces.

It also picked up the team, as well as any loose balls and errant passes.

The Knights’ D managed two third-quarter safeties to add to the point total in a 27-7 opening weekend victory over the Brooks Prep Eagles from Chicago.

It marked the third straight win over the Eagles since the series began in 2011, and marked a stark contrast from the 25-24 comeback win at Gately Stadium on Aug. 25, 2012 that was possible only with a fourth-quarter surge.

The 1-0 Knights won their 29th consecutive regular season contest, dating back to week nine of the 2009 campaign against Yorkville. The trumping of Brooks was delayed 24 hours after torrential rain and plentiful lightning wiped high school football action out throughout the area on Friday.

It marked the first postponement of a Kaneland football game since the opening weekend of the 2007 season, when heavy storms on a Thursday prompted moving the Kaneland win over Burlington Central to a Saturday kickoff.

The offensive output by Kaneland was largely confined to the first half and a 23-7 lead, but five turnovers bruised additional scoring chances, making the defensive play from personnel like Sam Bower, Grant Wooten (interception) and Tyler Carlson all the more important.

Tyler Slamans (above) eludes three Brooks defenders during Kaneland’s 27-7 victory Saturday. Slamans had three receptions for 71 yards.  Photo by Patti Wilk
Tyler Slamans (above) eludes three Brooks defenders during Kaneland’s 27-7 victory Saturday. Slamans had three receptions for 71 yards. Photo by Patti Wilk

“It was nice, we knew we got embarrassed last year,” Carlson said. “We came out and did our job on the defensive end and it was a good game. Our defensive line just got pressure for the safeties, and it was really good work by them.”

For Kaneland, quarterback Drew David went 15-of-29 for 232 yards and three interceptions. Jesse Balluff went 84 yards on 18 carries, while David was close behind with 81 yards rushing. Tight end Tyler Slamans paced the receiving corps with 71 yards on three catches, while John Pruett and Brandon Bishop each had 44 yards receiving.

The night began with a Dylan Nauert kickoff return to the Brooks’ 24-yard line, where runs by Drew David and Jesse Balluff got the drive going. After two incomplete passes, kicker Matt Rodriguez booted a 24-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead one minute, 42 seconds into battle.

After a Brooks punt was downed at the Eagles’ 12, Balluff broke one tackle on the next play and scampered into the end zone for a 9-0 lead with 8:54 to go in the first.

Another Brooks punt led to a six-play, 77-yard scoring drive for Kaneland, ending with a five-yard touchdown run up the middle for Balluff with 5:05 to go in the first for a 16-0 lead. The drive was keyed by a 34-yard completion to Slamans.

The lone scoring drive for Kaneland in the second quarter was made of the ball-control variety, with the seventh and last run of the drive a one-yard run by fullback Nate Dyer with 3:33 to go for a 23-0 lead.

Brooks found the scoreboard on a 21-yard scoring pass from Tyree Dantzler to Dakota Starks with 36 seconds remaining in the half, closing the deficit to 23-7.

The Kaneland offense saw drives fizzle out with a missed field goal, three interceptions and a lost fumble. The second-half scoring came as a result of two third-quarter safeties, causing the ever-rare four-point third quarter.

“We’re really happy with our defensive line,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “Sophomores had a big game, Bower had a huge game and Ty Carlson, in his first game as linebacker, I thought he did a terrific job.”

With 10:40 to go in the third quarter, a team sack of Dantzler in the end zone made it 25-7, while the next drive ended with a punt block by Bower out of the end zone for a 27-7 lead with 7:24 to go in the third and capping the scoring.

football

2013 Football Preview: The road black

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.”

“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.” KHS football coach  Tom Fedderly
“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.”
KHS football coach
Tom Fedderly

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.

East Moline momentum

First-ever win at traditional outdoor opener for boys track
By Mike Slodki
Kaneland—For the talent pool near the Quad Cities, to take the unofficial opener of the 2013 outdoor season is a big deal for the Knights track roster.

The 12-team gathering saw Kaneland score 260 team points on Saturday in the UTHS Boys Kiwanis Invitational, hosted by East Moline United.

The hosts were second overall with a total of 220.5, and Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Geneseo was third overall with 204 points.

Rock Island (184), Iowa’s Pleasant Valley (169) and T.F. South (135) rounded out the top half of the standings. Sterling, with 88 points, took ninth.

The meet was structured in flights of “A,” “B” and “C,” and had Kaneland running to daylight in plenty of events.

John Meisinger’s 3200 meter run “B” resulted in a second-place effort (10:41.54), while the “B” 4x800m relay team for Kaneland took second with a time of 8:59.28.

Kaneland’s 4x100m “B” team won the event with a time of 45.83 seconds, while the “A” foursome of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Ben Barnes won its challenge with a time of 43.85.

Nauert struck again in the “A” 110m hurdles event that saw him nab second with a time of 16:07, while Stephen McCracken of Kaneland managed a second in the “C” running of the 800m run (2:09.41).

In the 800m run “A” battle, reliable Knight Conor Johnson won the event with a time of 2:02.58, while the 4x200m relay “B” crew took first with a time of 1:38.83.

Kaneland’s 4x200m relay group of Bishop, Barnes, Dylan Pennington and Cottier took second in the “A” group with a time of 1:32.67.

Knight speedster Kyle Carter worked through the 400m dash “B” flight for a win in 51.28, while “A” counterpart Nathaniel Kucera won his race with a time of 51.05.

Kaneland made more of a hurdle presence in the 300m hurdles “B,” thanks to Brock Robertson’s second at 42.71 and Nauert’s “A” first-place at 40.68.

The field events saw a nice dose of Kaneland power, especially in the shot put, with “B” champ Shane Jorgensen’s 47 feet, 7.5 inches, and “A” king Nate Dyer’s 52-04.

The pole vault saw “C” glory thanks to JR Vest’s first (12-06), Kory Harner’s second in “B” (11-06) and Dylan Kuipers’ “A” reign (13 feet).

Considering the opposing talent level and the mix of experienced and new, KHS coach Eric Baron feels it was a job well done out west.

“They did fine, they had lots of excitement about this first meet,” Baron said. “They really performed well. It was the first time we won this meet and that is saying a lot considering the legendary track programs we competed against.”

Kaneland also had a dual meet at Sycamore on Tuesday and dominated Sycamore and Hiawatha. Kaneland tallied 111 points, well out in front of Sycamore’s 34 and Hiawatha’s 1.

The Knight crew heads to the Ottawa Invitational set for Saturday, April 13.

Boys track shows good timing

Illinois Prep Top Times sees KHS 10th overall
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s something to be said for making the best of your surroundings.

With weather being less than cooperative and the boys track team getting antsy, the Knights ventured to the Illinois Top Times Indoor Track Championship, housed by Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.

The final send-off before the outdoor campaign begins in earnest had the Kaneland outfit take 10th overall with a total of 15 team points and tied with Lakes High School of Lake Villa, Ill.

It was downstate Cahokia with a runaway 95 points, followed by Bloomington’s 54 and Chicago’s North Lawndale Charter’s 33 that rounded out the top three.

Fellow Northern Illinois Big XII school Sycamore finished in a three-way logjam for seventh with 16 points.

The KHS 4×400 meter relay foursome finished in second place with a time of three minutes, 29.75 seconds, 2.59 second behind Cahokia, and the 4x800m relay team took fourth overall at 8:18.72.

In the high jump, Kaneland’s Marshall Farthing tied for ninth with a six-foot effort.

Capping off the noteworthy totals for the Knights’ unit was Nate Dyer, who finished seventh overall with a shot put try of 51-07.

KHS coach Eric Baron is now quickly putting the excursion to Bloomington in the rearview mirror in order to concentrate on the outdoor destinations.

“Our performances were OK,” Baron said. “Dyer stood out with a new personal best, (and) Kyle Carter ran two nice legs in both relays for us.”

Kaneland’s outdoor journey begins at the East Moline United Invitational on Saturday, April 6.

Sterling is gold for KHS boys

Knights rule NIB-12 indoor track at Sterling
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—The Kaneland’s boys track squad amassed 107 points by the end of Saturday’s Northern Illinois Big XII Indoor conference meet housed by Sterling High School’s Westwood track.

The remaining field would have to be competing a fairly long time to match that total.

Geneseo’s 67, DeKalb’s 62 and Yorkville’s 55 rounded out the top four. Sycamore (52), Dixon (44), LaSalle-Peru (23), Ottawa (22), Sterling (17) and Rochelle (16).

The field event accolades began with senior stalwart Marshall Farthing, who took third at six feet, three inches. Teammate Dylan Kuipers’ 12-09 effort in the pole vault was good for third.

The long jump was accented by KHS duo Tanner Andrews in third at 20-07, and Ben Barnes in fourth at 20-05.5.

The triple jump featured Knight Andrews in second at 41-02.25 and teammate Dalvell Triplett in fourth at 40-08.25.

Junior Nate Dyer’s 49-06 in the shot put was good for second place to round out the field festivities.

Kaneland’s winning edge increased thanks to personnel like Brandon Bishop, who’s second-place time in the 60 meter dash came as a result of of a 7.15 second time.

Knight Dylan Nauert’s 8.78 in his 60m hurdles event took first, while the Kaneland 4x200m relay effort of 1:37.25 was third overall.

The 800m run had two noteworthy finishes thanks to Kyle Carter’s second (2:03.65) and Luis Acosta’s fourth (2:06.53).

Nathaniel Kucera of Kaneland conquered the 400m dash field at 52.99.

Topping the afternoon was the KHS 4x400m relay squad’s first place time of 3:33.80.

“We scored well and placed in many events but didn’t get very many personal best,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We are struggling with the weather this spring, and our lack of adequate indoor facilities is starting to show in our performances. We are getting many injuries due to the training surfaces we have to use in the hallways and gym floors, as opposed to rubberized field house tracks. I am hoping that weather breaks soon.”

The outdoor campaign’s is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 6, at the East Moline United Invite.

Special Export

With area’s help, local athlete Dyer can head Down Under
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland junior Nate Dyer has had quite the list of athletic accomplishments.

Currently, he can be seen on the gridiron pounding out necessary yards in short-yardage situations.

In the spring, he can be seen chucking in the shot put in the area and at State.

But the summer of 2013 could see an amazing and unique opportunity for the already-accomplished athlete, with your help.

Dyer and his family, in cooperation with American Legion Post 312 in Maple Park, hosted an “All-U-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner” fundraiser on Saturday to help raise funds for a potential trip to Australia, organized by Down Under Sports for an international track competition.

“I got a letter about it in August, and I’d like to go. My brother (Brock) did track, and I started doing it in eighth grade and realized I was pretty good,” Dyer said.

For the competition happening July 5-7, 2013, funds are due June 3, according to Penny Dyer. The cost of the trip runs $5,200.

According to Penny, the Australian outfit researched the IHSA’s track elite to invite track athletes, with just 300 athletes chosen nationwide.

Dyer, who states his goal is to one day compete in a future Summer Olympiad, is eager to hit the Southern Hemisphere location.

“It’s a four-hour flight to L.A. and about 14 hours from there, but I’d like to go and it’d be fun,” Nate said.

Dyer was the only sophomore in the state to qualify for both the shot put and discus events and was an all-Northern Illinois Big XII Conference selection, as well.

“We’ve got some other ideas out there for fundraisers, and we’ve been talking with Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb to possibly host something, and Down Under Sports has T-shirts available to sell,” Penny said. “It’s all-you-can-eat spaghetti with good dessert.”

To support Dyer and his goal of competing Down Under, contact Penny Dyer at (630) 742-6388. All the effort could go a long way for the junior that has already competed nationwide.

“He wants to go, definitely,” Penny said. “We’ll have some of his medals there and people can see what he’s done. We can get him there and help him experience it.”

No lows at 7-0

Photo: Kaneland’s Ryan Lawrence (29) gets in on the ball carrier with help coming from Bradley Johnson (79) and Gary Koehring (5) during the second quarter of the varsity boy’s 55-0 win at Yorkville on Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights take hunt to Foxes in 55-0 win
by Mike Slodki
YORKVILLE—Foxes football must have felt like it was in a valley of the same name after the final buzzer sounded on Friday.

Jesse Balluff and his fellow Knights peaked again, and not for the first time.

With four touchdowns, Balluff and crew triggered a running clock for the fourth time in seven tries in 2012, en route to a 55-0 win over the host Yorkville squad at Campbell Field.

Kaneland improved to 7-0 (3-0 Northern Illinois Big XII East), while Yorkville fell to 3-4 (0-3). The Knights still have yet to lose a NIB-12 conference matchup since the group’s inception in 2010, and begin 7-0 for the third consecutive season.

Kaneland has now won 26 regular season contests in a row, dating back to the final week of the 2009 regular season, and 28 of its last 30 contests overall.

Like last week, KHS had no trouble getting off to a good start, as it found the end zone on its first five possessions. They did the same on their first six drives in a win over DeKalb on Sept. 28.

Quarterback Drew David and Balluff each had a game-high 75 yards on the ground and helped KHS to 238 rushing yards overall.

David finished the night 8-of-13 for 175 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

Dylan Nauert’s 69 yards receiving led the team.

After the first YHS drive came up empty, Kaneland used six plays to go 62 yards, which ended on an 18-yard TD pass to Balluff in the flat on a crucial third-down play.

Kaneland was up 7-0 with 8:19 left in the first and never looked back.

“I saw the opening and took it,” Balluff said. “Our lineman are just amazing this year, it’s ridiculous.”

Another Yorkville dead-end drive had KHS set up shop at the Fox 41, where runs by Balluff and Nate Dyer set up a 12-yard TD pass to Nauert with 3:50 left in the first for a 13-0 lead.

A drive that spanned two quarters ended after nine plays with a six-yard score from Balluff, making it 20-0 with 8:40 left in the second quarter.

Yorkville found itself punting again, setting up a one-play drive that ended on a 60-yard catch and run TD for Nauert and a 27-0 edge with 3:45 to go in the first half.

Balluff intercepted a pass on defense allowing Kaneland to set up shop at the hosts’ 36. A run by David and pass to Balluff paved the way for Balluff to catch another touchdown in the open field for a 34-0 lead with 2:10 to go in the first half.

“We can score from the 20; we have a very powerful offense. Even at the 50, we can score quicker and score more often,” Balluff said.

KHS was up to old and beneficial tricks to begin the second half, as the opening six-play drive ended with a 31-yard TD run by Balluff with 9:33 to go, which made it 41-0.

The fourth quarter saw additional touchdowns on runs by Tyler Carlson and Isaac Swithers for the final margin.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly keeps seeing the troops improve week after winning week.

“The further we go in the season, the more meaning the games have,” Fedderly said. “We know we need to improve if we want to be a conference champ or be in a big game.”

Kaneland will try to handle Sycamore in Maple Park on Friday, Oct. 12.

A year ago saw the Knights take out Sycamore along Spartan Trail in a 35-21 game. Sycamore comes off a 26-14 win against the Rochelle Hubs and enters Friday with a 5-2 mark.

Rout(e) 66

Photo by Patti Wilk
Kaneland scores on 1st 6 possessions in NIB-12 tilt with DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fellow Northern Illinois Big XII (NIB-12) schools must be shaking their collective heads when it comes to the prospect of facing Kaneland football.

Meanwhile, the Knights continue to raise their fists in triumph.

The latest example was this past Friday, in which the Knights rolled the DeKalb Barbs by a final of 66-23 at Peterson Field in Maple Park.

Kaneland improved to 6-0, with a 2-0 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII East Division play. The Knights have yet to lose a conference game since the inception of the NIB-12.

Additionally, Kaneland has won 25 regular season contests in a row, and 27 of its last 29 overall.

With the latest home victory, Kaneland has not lost at home since an overtime loss at the hands of Geneva in 2009.

KHS has now defeated DeKalb seven times in a row, although that streak was in jeopardy a year ago when the Barbs enjoyed a 17-point third quarter lead before a gargantuan KHS comeback.

“We’re trying to prove every week that we want to be a good team,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We’ve got to be able to beat a team like this to do what we want to do.”

There would be no early lead for DeKalb, with the Knights rattling off 38 straight points after an initial 7-7 tie.

Knight quarterback Drew David was 7-of-14 for 209 yards, while Kaneland also employed two 100-yard rushers due to bullish running. Jesse Balluff had 162 yards on 11 carries, while teammate and usual goal-line option Nate Dyer had 11 carries for 111 yards.

Dylan Nauert had four catches for 128 yards to lead the receiver corps.

The scoring festivities started with a 20-yard touchdown throw from David to Martinelli two-and-a-half minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead.

DeKalb had its brief celebratory moment on an 88-yard Dylan Hottsmith kickoff return for a touchdown that tied the score 14 seconds later.

KHS responded three plays later on a 60-yard TD pass to Nauert over the middle to make it 14-7 with 8:07 left in the first.

After a Barb punt snap went awry, the Knights took over at DeKalb’s 15-yard line and punched it in with Dyer two plays later on a 4-yard score with 7:29 to go, making it 21-7.

DeKalb came up empty on its next drive, and Balluff ran to the endzone from the 14-yard line with 3:50 to go in the first for a 28-7 lead.

In the second frame, the Knights’ David ran it on the next drive with 9:45 to go for a 35-7 lead. DeKalb was picked off by Kory Harner, setting up shop at the Barbs’ 20. Nauert caught a 19-yard TD pass on the third play of the drive to make it 42-7 with 7:50 to go in the half.

KHS’ Martinelli returned a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown, which would have set the Knights’ third running clock of the season into effect, but it was called back on a holding penalty, and David threw a pick near the goal line to end the drive.

Matt Rodriguez hit a 43-yard field goal on the next drive for a 45-7 lead with 1:51 to go in the half.

A punt by DeKalb was swarmed by Kaneland special teams, giving the ball to KHS at the 18 of the Barbs.

Nauert caught a TD pass that was negated by a holding penalty, which led to Rodriguez missing a 28-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.

The third-quarter scoring began on a DeKalb touchdown throw with 6:25 to go, which made it 45-14. Balluff’s 80-yard touchdown run 21 seconds later brought the margin to 52-15.

Martinelli caught a four-yard score on the next drive to kick in the running clock with 3:13 to go in the third for a 59-14 edge.

Dyer closed the scoring out in the fourth quarter with 8:35 to play on a touchdown run.

Massive touchdown runs on Friday had the offensive line to thank.

“On both sides, the line is playing at a very high level,” lineman Jamaureo Phillips said. “We have ups and downs, but we are consistent and we’re working on it.”

Kaneland heads to Kendall County to visit the Yorkville Foxes on Friday, Oct. 5. Yorkville comes off a 44-41 loss to visiting Rochelle this past Friday, and sits at 3-3 with an 0-2 mark in NIB-12 play.

Fundraiser set to help send Dyer to Australian track-and-field meet

Maple Park—Kaneland High School student-athlete Nathan Dyer was selected by “Down Under Sports” to represent the state of Illinois and compete in a track-and-field competition next June in Australia.

To help raise funds for his trip, there will be an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Post No. 312, 203 Main St., Maple Park. Tickets cost $7 at the door.

For information, call Penny Dyer at (630) 742-6388.

Roast of Rochelle

Photo: Dylan Nauert (20) supplies a good block for running back Jesse Balluff (30). Kaneland went to Rochelle Friday and came away with a solid 34-6 victory. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights’ passing attack works with defense in 34-6 win at Rochelle
by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—Knights football is making road quests feel like home.

That’s how good they’ve been playing.

Coming to the end of the 2012 opening stretch in which they’ve played four of their first five games on the road, the Knights invaded their first Northern Illinois Big XII East division test: Rochelle.

The Knights held Rochelle’s vaunted wing-T offense in check, subdued the Hubs’ determination after losing to KHS in the Class 5A quarterfinals 10 months ago, and came away with a 34-6 win. That is the sixth consecutive win over Rochelle, a span that started following the Knights’ loss that launched the Hubs’ new football facility in 2007.

The Knights’ staunch defense allowed just 140 yards to the running game of Rochelle, and has allowed just six points in the last three games.

Junior QB Drew David was 11-for-19 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while receiver Dylan Nauert hauled in five passes for 135 yards and two scores.

“Our line’s been blocking really well. When they give me lots of time and I’m able to get it to those guys, they’re able to make guys miss and can take it all the way at any time,” David said.

After a scoreless tie marked the first quarter of play, the Knights converted points on their fourth drive.

Nauert hauled in a pass, emerged from an attempted tackle, and went down the KHS sideline for an 86-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 6:49 remaining in the first half.

“I knew I had to run the hitch and I ran it. I saw the opening and ran as fast as I could,” Nauert said.

David threw a pick on the next drive, but after forcing Rochelle to punt, Jesse Balluff caught a pass in stride and raced 58 yards for another score at a 14-0 lead with 1:40 to go before halftime.

Rochelle’s Tony Walsh, the Hubs’ leading rusher on the night, capped an eight-play drive with a four-yard score with 2:41 to go in the third frame, but the extra-point attempt missed to put the score at 14-6.

Whatever good feeling the Hubs had was quickly erased as runs by David, Balluff and Nate Dyer advanced the ball, along with a pass to Zack Martinelli.

Balluff plunged in from the two-yard line to make the score 21-6 with 1:23 to go in the third quarter.

Kaneland’s two scoring drives in the final 12-minute set happened with a Dyer touchdown run with 10:26 to play, and when Nauert caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 remaining.

“They’re just getting better and better,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We found out what they’re good at and they’re making improvements. Everything we do starts with the guys up front.”

For the third straight year, Kaneland opened its season 5-0 (1-0 in the NIB-12 East).

The Knights have yet to lose a conference game since the inception of the new school formation in 2010. Their regular season win streak sits at 24, with wins in 26 of its last 28 contests, and they have not lost a road game since losing in Geneva in week eight of 2008.

The Knights host DeKalb on Friday, Sept. 28, with the 1-4 Barbs coming off a win against Streator.

KHS serves up the usual

Photo: Ryan Lawrence intercepts a pass in the first quarter. Photo by Patti Wilk

Rushing, D just the combination for 41-0 win at Streator
by Mike Slodki
STREATOR, Ill.—You’ll have to excuse the Kaneland Knights’ football squad for being defensive.

After all, that’s what worked on Friday night.

Traveling south on Route 23, the victory tour rested at Streator High School, where KHS was too much for the winless host Bulldogs in a 41-0 decision.

Kaneland set the tone on the ground and saw power rushes from Jesse Balluff (95 yards rushing), Nate Dyer and trackster-like speed from Dylan Nauert on separate touchdown runs, while the defense was physical and opportunistic—exemplified by a Ryan Lawrence interception return for a touchdown.

KHS made tracks with 287 yards rushing, with the Knight swarm allowing just 110 yards against its crossover foe from the Northern Illinois Big XII West division.

For Kaneland, the regular season win streak hit 23, while Streator’s opposite trajectory hit 22 on the loss streak after Friday.

KHS has now won 28 out of its last 30 contests.

Kaneland has not allowed a score since the final seconds of the win over Huntley on Aug. 31.

For the second week in a row, the running clock clicked in with 4:53 remaining in the second quarter, after Lawrence leaped in the air to grab an errant pass and weaved around blockers to convert on a 34-yard interception touchdown.

“I get a lot of practice with carrying the ball during practice,” Lawrence said. “With the mentality, I had to switch over quick from defense, and it wasn’t a hard task to do. With our defense setting up blocks, it made it so much easier.”

On the opening drive, the last six plays were all Jesse Balluff rushes on the 75-yard drive. It came to an end on a 10-yard scoring run with 8:14 left in the first.

When Streator came up empty on the next drive after a Lawrence sack on fourth down, Balluff scored again on a three-yard TD run that capped a 30-yard drive in six plays. The score made it 14-0 with 4:41 to go in the opening frame.

The next drive was pounded home when quarterback Drew David threw his lone TD pass of the night after escaping Bulldog pressure and hitting a diving Zack Martinelli on an 11-yard score. The conversion with :55 left in the first set the score at 21-0.

In the second quarter, Streator’s initial drive resulted in a punt, and Kaneland made them pay when Nauert turned on the afterburners for a 67-yard touchdown run down the Streator sideline for a 28-0 edge with 10:56 left in the first half.

Kaneland’s next drive in the quarter went four running plays, with Dyer powering in from the three, for a 34-0 lead with 6:34 to go. Dyer originally set the score up on a 27-yard carry that busted up several Bulldog tackle attempts.

The score set in motion the Lawrence pick-six on the next drive, which was the first defensive score for KHS since a Taylor Andrews fumble return in 2010 against the visiting Sycamore Spartans.

“On that play, (Ben) Bradford got a nice shot on the quarterback as he threw it, and I knew no one was going to get Ryan,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Fedderly and company prepare for the NIB-12 East slate, beginning with the familiar rival Rochelle Hubs in Ogle County on Friday, Sept. 21.

KHS defeated the Hubs twice in 2011: 35-14 in Maple Park on Sept. 23, 2011, and a 20-14 Class 5A State quarterfinal win in Rochelle on Nov. 12, 2011.

“We’re going to play a really tough Rochelle team that we played in the quarterfinals,” Fedderly said. “It’s going to be like a playoff atmosphere and playoff football.”

Offense name of the game in Knights win

Photo: Dylan Nauert comes down with the ball from a pass by Drew David in the first quarter. Kaneland went on the road to beat Huntley 52-35. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland improves to 2-0 after enduring furious Huntley rally
by Mike Slodki
HUNTLEY—It’s not one quarter of football, but rather four.

Once again, the Kaneland Knights football team had to endure a string of successful drives by the opposition.

Unlike Week 1, the Knights maintained the lead the entire way and saw their lead grow from a one-score situation in a 52-35 win at Huntley High School on Friday.

While the Red Raiders closed a 35-7 halftime chasm to 35-28 in the third quarter, the Knights’ offensive unit clicked despite three turnovers.

An air assault highlighted by junior quarterback Drew David’s four touchdowns and 348 yards passing, plus three touchdowns by wideout Zack Martinelli, helped withstand the Huntley comeback.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly was eager to see his Knights on the gridiron after their opening game in Chicago the previous Saturday.

“These kids have a lot of pride,” Fedderly said. “We had a great week of practice and tried to correct some things. Obviously, there are things we’ve got to improve on. I’m really happy with our first half.”

That first half started with a bang as David executed a flawless ball fake and ran 40 yards for a touchdown for a 7-0 lead just one minute, 23 seconds into the contest.

David later found Dylan Nauert for a 10-yard scoring strike with 7:18 remaining in the first for a 14-0 edge.

A Huntley drive accented the run with an eight-play, 80-yard drive ending on a four-yard QB keeper by Kam Sallee to make it 14-7 with 3:51 to go in the first.

It took just five plays for KHS to respond, this time in the form of a five-yard touchdown pass to Martinelli with 1:03 to go for a 21-7 lead.

The David-to-Martinelli connection hit paydirt twice more in the second quarter. A 10-yard TD with 6:29 to go made it 28-7, while a 12-yard score with 2:07 closed the first-half scoring and increased the margin to four touchdowns.

Huntley roared out of the gates in the third quarter, capping an opening drive with a 28-yard TD pass to Bryce Beschomer with 9:07 to go to make it 35-14.

The Red Raiders then converted two consecutive drive-killing interceptions to touchdowns on their end. Sallee ran it in from 19 yards to close to within 35-20 with 7:40 remaining, and Jake Lackovic caught a 23-yard pass for a touchdown with 4:45 to go, with the two-point try setting the score at 35-28.

KHS brought the momentum back by finding the end zone thanks to a one-yard plunge by goal-line option Nate Dyer with 9:31 left for a 42-28 lead. Matt Rodriguez’ 24-yard field goal gave KHS a three-score lead at 45-28 with 6:27 remaining.

Dyer’s nine-yard touchdown witha 3:06 to play made it 52-28 before a late Huntley TD set the final tally.

Kaneland’s many heroes included David, who also paced the ground game with 98 yards, Kyle Pollastrini with 120 yards receiving, and Martinelli.

Martinelli was reminded of a previous encounter that involved holding on to a big lead.

“It reminded me of Morris (Week 9 in 2011) where I was like ‘not again,’” Martinelli said. “We played three great quarters, and now we have to bring up that third quarter.”

KHS plays its home opener on Friday, Sept. 7, against Northern Illinois Big XII school Sterling. This will be the first meeting since November 2008, in which Sterling ousted Kaneland in a first-round playoff game.

Cutting it close

Photo: Wide receiver Dylan Nauert gets away from a Brooks tackler during Kaneland’s 25-24 road win on Saturday. Photo by Ryan Wells

Knights overcome slow start for 25-24 win
by Mike Slodki
CHICAGO—It wasn’t the start the Kaneland Knights football outfit wanted, but it’ll take the finish.

A late touchdown pass from junior quarterback Drew David to receiver Zack Martinelli with 3:11 remaining in the fourth quarter capped the comeback mountain against Chicago’s Brooks Prep Eagles on Saturday for a 25-24 week 1 win.

The second-half flurry completed a 24-6 comeback over the vastly improved hosts at Gately Stadium, which lays a field goal away from Chicago State University.

It was 365 days earlier that Kaneland’s attack produced a running clock for the entire second half in a 44-0 rout over Brooks.

Saturday’s contest echoed last year’s 17-point comeback win in September 2011 at DeKalb, and was a mirror image of sorts to Montini Catholic’s late comeback over Kaneland in the Class 5A State semis.

Kaneland has now won 20 consecutive regular season games in a row, and 25 of its last 27.

The streak was in jeopardy often on Saturday, due to the offensive output from Brooks quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and tailback Cleveland Clark. Brooks tallied 324 total yards.

“They were running sweeps outside and then started running some options, and we had problems with our option responsibility,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “In the second half, we made some adjustments and tried to bring a little heat from the outside.”

For Kaneland, David went 14-for-30 for 275 yards with two touchdown throws and a pick.

Martinelli caught six passes for 163 yards and two scores.

In the first quarter, Brooks hit paydirt first on its second drive, when Clark powered in from the one-yard line with 3:14 remaining for a 7-0 lead after a nine-play drive.

Dylan Nauert helped answer with a reception, and combined with a face mask penalty, the play netted 30 yards. Back Nate Dyer scored the first Knights touchdown of 2012 with a six-yard plunge, but Matt Rodriguez missed the point afterward to keep it 7-6 with :57 left.

Brooks continued to control the ball and clock in the following frame, and it led to a 21-yard field goal by Jesus Miranda with 5:12 to go in the second quarter for a 10-6 lead.

A Nauert touchdown pass was called back due to offsetting penalties, and the Knights were forced to punt.

Brooks made good on the new opportunity with a Clark five-yard touchdown run to make it 17-6 with :23 left in the half.

Bradshaw accounted for a 39-yard touchdown run on an option play to make it 24-6 with 4:32 to go, but Martinelli caught a 62-yard rainbow 12 seconds later to make it 24-13.

The fourth quarter started to shift the way of KHS, and after a Brooks punt, Nauert’s 48-yard catch brought the ball into Eagles territory. Nine plays later, Dyer’s two-yard touchdown run with 8:29 left closed the gap to within 24-19 after a missed two-point try.

Brooks punted again, allowing Kaneland to orchestrate its go-ahead drive. Martinelli grabbed a 29-yard slant pass to set up his touchdown reception that saw him juke a defender on a screen.

‘We’ve had a lot of hitches all week,” Martinelli said. “We’re coached to turn outside and I saw him turn inside.”

Martinelli knew the offensive side of the ball had to adjust in the final two quarters.

“I talked to Drew at halftime and told him it was just like DeKalb,” Martinelli said. “We’ve got to step it up and calm down. Once he calms down, Drew is probably one of the best quarterbacks in the state.”

Kaneland travels to Huntley High School to face the Red Raiders on Friday, Aug. 31. Kaneland has earned the upper hand in the last three meetings.

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

Knight Dyer takes his shot in Baltimore

KANELAND—Kaneland High School track standout Nate Dyer may not have won a first this past weekend in Baltimore, but he can still consider himself part of the upper-upper echelon.

The lineman and thrower traveled to Morgan State University to compete in the 2012 USATF National Junior Olympics this past Thursday through Saturday, and did his part in three events.

Dyer placed 11th overall in the hammer throw out of 27 participants, beating his personal best by 16 feet. Dyer had previously set the state record at the State Junior Olympics in Kankakee, Ill., by 19 feet.

Dyer placed 12th in the discus out of 32 athletes, and placed 11th in the shot put out of 50 kids.

This was the second occasion that Dyer went to the National stage, having last been there in 2010.

Dyer was able to qualify for the Morgan State gathering with his output at the Regional Junior Olympics in Franklin, Ind., in early July. The junior achieved first places in both the hammer throw and shot put, and second places in the discus and javelin.

Wielding the hammer: Dyer goes National

Photo: Kaneland junior Nate Dyer brandishes the medals from recent competition under the USA Track and Field banner. Dyer is bringing talent in four events to the National Junior Olympics in Baltimore. Courtesy Photo

State and Regional totals pay off for junior Olympic-bound athlete
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One would think that a summer full of footballs and pads would be enough for an ordinary student.

With incoming KHS junior Nate Dyer, there are qualifying factors, however.

Dyer is also dealing in hammers, javelins, shots and discs, and he’s putting up an effort that is extraordinary.

Dyer, who as an impressive aside, qualified for the IHSA Class 2A Track and Field meet in shot and discus, is set to compete at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics at Hughes Stadium on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.

The week-long fest occurs from Tuesday, July 23, through Monday, July 29.

Dyer’s showing at Franklin University’s Regional Junior Olympics in Franklin, Ind., (July 7-8), that included first places in both the hammer throw and shot put, and second places in the discus and javelin, allowed him to make plans to travel with his family to the athletic showcase on the east coast.

Dyer won’t be intimidated.

“Once you get there, it’s more doing what you’re comfortable with,” Dyer said. “You don’t want to try and change up stuff.”

Dyer, who first qualified for the National stage in 2010, made headway in the State Junior Olympics held in Kankakee, Ill., back on June 22-24.

All he did there was take first in the javelin and shot put, plus set the state record in the hammer throw by 19 feet.

That high trajectory of performance is not just sheer talent, as Dyer knows the value of taking mentors advice to heart.

“I listen to all the coaches in every sport and what they tell me,” Dyer said. “A big influence is usually my dad, and he researches a lot. He never played, what I played but he’s organized and looks into details, and that helps. I never have to worry.”

Dyer’s numbers in regionals took place against other elite athletes from Illinois and Indiana in Region 7. He was sponsored by DeKalb Huskies track.

The Knight athlete can expect big things against competitors from the other 49 states if he can duplicate a similar outcome in an event like the shot put, which saw him ace the grouping by three-and-a-half feet.

“There is kind of a lot of pressure. The first year that I did this, I didn’t really know much about it, but I ended up throwing almost 160 with the little disc and placed third two years ago, and we have expectations,” Dyer said.

Next year’s USATF elite national gathering is set for Greensboro, NC, on the campus of North Carolina A&T University, but Dyer elects to attack what’s in front of him at the moment.

For now, that’s javelin marks, followed by Northern Illinois Big XII ball-carriers.

“Once I get through State and Regionals, there’s more competition,” Dyer said. “I just try to qualify and get the job done.”

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

Photo: Delani Vest capped a stellar senior season for Lady Knights softball by nabbing the NIB-12 MVP honor. File photo

KANELAND—A highly successful 2011-12 spring season was recognized with team awards dished out earlier this week, as well as honors from the end-of-year senior athletic banquet.

Awards were released on June 3.

Leading the charge was sectional semifinalist softball, which boasted the Northern Illinois Big XII MVP in pitcher Delani Vest. Joining the senior on the all-conference list was Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron and McKinzie Mangers, with teammate Lexi Roach an honorable mention.

Vest, Mangers, O’Herron and Sam Hansen were recognized as captains. O’Herron was named defensive player of the year, while Roach was named most improved player. Kuefler and Lanie Callaghan were named co-offensive players of the year, while Contorno and Kristen Gabrielson took home the Lady Knight award.

The senior athletic banquet awards recognized University of Wisconsin-Whitewater bound Sean Carter as Male Athlete of the Year, Kelly Evers as Female Athlete of the Year, Clayton Brundige as the Male Birkette award winner for dedication, and both Evers and Katy Dudzinski as the Female Birkette award for dedication recipient.

For boys track, Carter was named the Track MVP, while Nate Dyer took home the Field MVP honors. Brundige and Brandon Stahl were co-winners of the Drendel Award. Brundige, Carter, Miki Marin, Stahl, Nate Rehkopf, Kelvin Peterson and Mitch Dienst were recognized as captains. Dylan Nauert was named the winner of the Ron Probst award.

Finally, Kaneland’s boys track group of Luis Acosta, Brandon Bishop, Kyle Carter, Sean Carter, Dyer, Shane Jorgensen, Nate Kucera, Nauert, Tanner Andrews, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, Kory Harner, Conor Johnson, Dylan Pennington, Brundige and Marin were recognized as All NIB-12.

Meanwhile, the 11 State qualifiers were also lauded for their trip to Eastern Illinois University.

For Knights baseball, Tom Fox, Drew Peters, John Hopkins, Trevor Storck, Jake Razo and Tyler Heinle were named to the All NIB-12 team, with Bryan VanBogaert an honorable mention.

VanBogaert, Storck and Ray Barry took home the most improved player nods, and Trever Heinle was the recipient of the 41 Award in memory of Jeff Malewig. Fox was named the offensive MVP and Tyler Heinle was named defensive MVP, with Razo nabbed Mr. Kaneland Baseball for 2012.

The girls track season yielded quite the prestigious awards, with Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige, Sydney Strang, Jen Howland, Lauren Zick and Kaltrina Ismaili being recognized as state qualifiers.

Christina Delach, Nicole Ketza, Elle Tattoni, Lesak, Gabby Aguirre, Strang, Zick, Ismaili and Howland also secured Northern Illinois Big XII honors.

Carolina Tovar and Ketza were recognized for their work as captains. Lesak took home the team’s most improved trophy.

The Track MVP honor was given to Strang, while the Field MVP honor went to Tattoni.

Kaneland soccer congratulated Jess Coia, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek and Katie Taylor for making All NIB-12, while Brittany Olson made the honorable mention list.

Melissa Bohorquez, Ginther, Taylor and Taylor White were recognized as captains, while Brooke Harner was named Most Improved Player for the Lady Knights.

Courtney Diddell and Madi Jurcenko capped impressive campaigns by garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

Taylor Opperman, Heather Ortiz and Stryczek were named winners of the Coach’s Award.

Michelle Ortiz and Olson were named winners of the Lady Knights Award, while the co-MVPs were revealed as Taylor and Ginther.

Kaneland’s 11: Boys track performs at high level

Two Kaneland HS relay teams earned all-state honors last weekend.
Photos by Marshall Farthing

Knights’ 2A trip to
EIU sees five All-State
efforts, three records

by Mike Slodki
CHARLESTON, Ill.—When you send as many Class 2A State finalists for boys track as Kaneland High School did, you’ll push some entries to the finals by sheer force and numbers.

Or in the case of this past weekend, by speed.

With five finalists, the Knights program achieved All-State medal honors in those events.

A year ago, Taylor Andrews won the 110m high hurdles in Class 2A, while Nick Sinon claimed the high jump in the 2010 try that featured the Knights taking second in the entire state.

This season, with 19 points, Kaneland finished an exceptional 11th.

Cahokia High School was crowned champ with 67 points, while former KHS conference rival Glenbard South took second with 56. The other local school to finish near Kaneland was Burlington Central with 22 points for 10th.

“Our program gained a great deal of experience this past weekend as we look towards next year,” KHS coach Eric Baron.

For KHS, the top finish was the 4×200 meter really unit of Dylan Pennington, Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Sean Carter, who took third with a time of 1:29.89 in the finals, a school record. Glenbard South’s team won the race with just .31 faster of a time.

Other exceptional relay action featured the 4x100m relay foursome of Bishop, Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Carter, which finished sixth in the finals at 42.70 seconds, marking another school record.

Individually, Nauert added a sixth-place finish to his mantle with a 39.34 second time on the 300m low hurdles event.

In the 200m dash event, Carter took seventh in the finals at 22.80 seconds.

Finally, the 4x800m school relay group of Conor Johnson, Nate Kucera, Clayton Brundige and Kyle Carter finished ninth overall with a clip of 8:02.68. A 7:59.87 time in prelims was good for a school record, as well.

Other State qualifiers that were in crowded fields included Kory Harner, who vaulted 13 feet in the pole vault.

Nate Dyer ended his season with a 50 feet, 1.5 inch toss in the shot put prelims.

Cottier’s effort in the 100m dash prelims was a 11.46 time.

With the season ended, the Knights say goodbye to Brundige, Sean Carter, Mitch Dienst, Andrew Essex, Miki Marin, Marcel Neil, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Stahl.

4th sectional title in a row for KHS boys track

Photo: Kory Harner can call himself a 2012 State qualifier in the pole vault after his Thursday performance at the Rochelle Sectional. File Photo

Kaneland sends 11 events to hallowed EIU turf this weekend

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE, Ill.—Labeling the Kaneland boys track output from Thursday’s Class 3A Rochelle Sectional as “exceptional” would be right on the money.

For the remaining field at this weekend’s Class 3A State gathering in Charleston, Ill., the showing could be described as “ominous.”

Kaneland’s total of 115 points gave a nice cushion over second-place Burlington Central’s 84, Dixon’s 83, Sterling’s 64 and Rochelle’s 60.

The point total for Kaneland beats last year’s sectional best of 90 points.

Trying to nab a State trophy for the second time in three years, Brandon Cottier, who will hope to make his presence felt in the 100 and 200 meter dash, is among those who is not just “happy to be there”.

“Once I get to State, I try to better myself. We don’t settle, and we go in to win,” Cottier said.

Sophomore Dylan Nauert highlighted the eleven separate events to make it down to State, with a 40.18 time in the 300m low hurdles, taking the Sectional title.

In a nice piece of symmetry, both Cottier and Sean Carter finished 1-2 in the prelims for the 200m dash, with a flip of places in the finals.

Carter earned the sectional crown with a time of 22.67 seconds, and Cottier finished in 23.14.

In the 100m dash, Cottier took fourth with a time of 11.03 seconds, after finishing fourth in the prelims at 11.13.

“If we run our best race, we’ll definitely place at State. The sectional is a different feel because you are doing your best to get to State. Once you get to State, there’s nothing after that,” Cottier said.

In the 400m dash, Nate Kucera’s fourth place time of 50.65 seconds earned him a qualifying nod.

Relay action went the way of the Knights in the form of races like the 4x800m relay, which ran in 8:05.20, good for fourth.

Additionally, the 4x100m relay squad took home the sectional mantle with a time of 43.30.

It went nice with another first-place race in the 4x200m relay, which ran in 1:29.80, 1.75 seconds better than Boylan Catholic.

Field events were highlighted by Nate Dyer and Kory Harner.

Dyer, after a double conference championship in both the shot put and discus, also punched his ticket to Eastern Illinois University with a fine showing.

The sophomore threw 155 feet, nine inches and finished third in finals, after finishing second in the prelims with a 155-09 effort. In the shot, Dyer finished third with a tally of 50-11. Dyer also finished third in the prelims (50-11).

Harner made it in the pole vault with a second-place effort of 13-03.

“Every year, we just want to qualify someone in pole vault. It’s been 30 straight years,” Harner said. “When you get to sectionals, you really feel the pressure of wanting to go down (to State).”

Kaneland has bragging rights to several State champ honors the last two years, with Taylor Andrews’ 110m hurdles in 2011, Nick Sinon in the 2010 high jump, and the 4x400m relay in 2010.

KHS boys one point short of NIB-12 bragging rights

Photo: Kaneland’s Nate Dyer is about to throw the discus a conference-best 148 feet, nine inches, at the NIB-12 Conference track meet on Friday at DeKalb High School. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland boys track had many competitors contributing to a winning effort during Friday’s second-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet out at DeKalb’s Dresser Road digs.

Too bad Dixon had more of a winning effort, just one point more.
It’s fuel that will go toward motivation for a winning night at the Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, May 17.

Kaneland’s 97 points were second only to Dixon’s 98.

Sterling (78), Sycamore (75) and Rochelle (50) rounded out the top five with Yorkville, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, DeKalb and Ottawa completing the top 10.

Kaneland’s frosh-soph outfit took fourth.

The Knights’ relay personnel are as fast as ever, judging by the work in Barb-land.

Kyle Carter, Nate Kucera, Clayton Brundige and Conor Johnson took care of the 4x800m relay field with a time of eight minutes, 8.94 seconds, while 4x100m relay speedsters Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Sean Carter won their race at 43.24 seconds.

In the 4x200m relay event, Dylan Pennington, Bishop, Cottier and Sean Carter won with a time of 1:29.88.

Hurdling went Nauert’s way when he ran a 40.20 second race, while Sean Carter finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 22.59, just .01 behind Dixon’s Scott Good.

Cottier, Nauert, Kucera and Sean Carter ran the 4x400m relay with a first-place time of 3:25.53.

Sophomore Nate Dyer continued his impressive campaign with a 148 foot, nine inch, first-place discus throw.

Tanner Andrews also served the KHS cause well with a 41-08.5 triple jump for second place.

The Knights hope to continue the momentum of great scores in Rochelle, with the team being served by athletes who have already been to Charleston.

But KHS coach Eric Baron’s coachin style will not change regardless of the previous May travels one has had.

“We have physically prepared our team to the best of our ability. This week is all about mental preparation. We will be ready to perform at our best on Thursday. Our focus is on getting as many athletes into the state meet as possible and getting personal best. Titles and points will come with a large number of personal best and qualifiers,” he said.

Feels like the 1st place for boys track

Photo: Nate Rehkopf, decked out in retro Knights track uniforms, took his heat of the 3200m run during Friday’s Kane County Invite out at West Aurora High School. Photo by Mike Slodki

Knight boys tie Geneva for first at prestigious KC meet
by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Team numbers don’t matter to Kaneland boys track. Neither do past accolades.

All that matters is that Kaneland put up an impressive 74 points in an 18-team Kane County Invite on Friday at West Aurora High School.

Coming off of a Peterson Prep first place and a second-place honor in Crystal Lake, the Knights’ total matched Geneva for first place at the historic Kane County grouping.

A year ago, Kaneland finished fourth with 57 points out at Millennium Field in Streamwood, Ill.

West Aurora finished third with 65 points at its home field, followed by Batavia and St. Charles North tying for fourth with 56 points.

Burlington Central took sixth with a total of 52.

South Elgin’s 41 was seventh best, while Aurora outfits Marmion Academy and Aurora Central Catholic tied for eighth with 37 points. St. Charles East rounded out the top 10 with 32 points.

KHS coach Eric Baron was eager to see what the KC happenings springboard to.

“We’ve had PRs for a lot of kids, like Nate Rehkopf in the 3200m prelims and Eric Dillon in the high jump,” Baron said. “This is the first of a line of big meets, and this is the granddaddy of them all. It’s been here for 92 years.”

Runners like Rehkopf still wanted to make an impact, even without a finals trip.

“The other teams might have bigger numbers but we have great depth, which I think puts us at an advantage,” Rehkopf said.

Kaneland can boast several area titleholders after the 2012 version of the Kane County excursion. Nate Dyer continued his astounding season with a shot put title after a finals throw of 50 feet. Fellow sophomore Dylan Nauert captured the 300 meter low hurdles title after a finals try of 40.19 seconds.

KHS also had several second-place finishers under its employ, beginning with Dyer in the discus with an effort of 151-01. Shane Jorgensen earned a second-place spotlight with a 48-10.5 in the shot put.

Third-place nods included Miki Marin in the 800m run with a tab of 1:58.40, Sean Carter in the 200m dash finals with a time of 22.46, and the 200m relay team of Dylan Pennington, Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Carter at 1:30.40.

The Knight fourth-place finishers included Eric Dillon in the high jump at 6-03 and Kory Harner in the pole vault at 12-09. Marshall Farthing took fifth in the long jump at 6-01, while Nauert found double-duty success with a fifth in the 110m high hurdles at 15.99.

Laying ahead for the Knight crew is the second-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet in DeKalb on Friday, May 11.