Tag Archives: Ryley Bailey

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Pride in Platteville

Photo: Elburn native Ryley Bailey had 86 catches for 1,047 yards for UW-Platteville’s football team this season. It was a school record for catches, and only the second time in school history a receiver recorded over 1,000 yards in a season. Courtesy Photo

Former KHS pass-catcher Bailey continues high level of play for UW-Platteville

KANELAND—A local buzz for something like the Division III football playoffs can be excused, especially with the deep semifinal run from Naperville, Ill.-outlet North Central College.

Look deeper, and you’d see even more reason to follow.

Kaneland High School Class of 2010 member Ryley Bailey, who played both sides of the ball for Knight playoff contenders in 2008 and 2009, also made a playoff run in D-III for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-P) Pioneers football roster.

UW-P, with the senior Bailey, made it to the second round before losing to North Central, 52-24, at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville, Ill., to finish at 10-2, which tied a school win record.

“It was just a great feeling,” Bailey said. “It was a great group of guys and an amazing feeling, and it wouldn’t have happened without guys like Quinn (Buschbacher, fellow Kaneland football alum) and (quarterback) John Kelly.”

Bailey, of Elburn, was also one of six Pioneers this month to get a D3Football.com 2013 All-West Region award for outstanding play.

Helping Bailey throughout his Pioneer tenure was the similarity to Kaneland’s noted spread offense.

“I fit right in, which was kind of unique for me I was the receiver that kind of went across the middle. They needed me to do the dirty work in there, because I’m not as fast as the other guys.”

Doing the dirty work this year yielded 86 receptions for 1,047 yards, on his way to becoming the second Pioneer in school history to record over 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The senior receiver averaged 7.17 receptions per game for 87.2 yards per game.

His 86 catches also set a new school record and ranked fourth most in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history.

The wideout came in with accomplished skills, but resolved to pick up his game this season to help make a postseason run.

“You had to stay focused. You had to be ready to do the little things. It was tough this year because of all the hype. We really had a target on our back,” Bailey said.

The Pioneers, paced by assets like Bailey, Buschbacher (28 catches) and Trevor Whitehead (81 catches) in its wide-open offense, had a season to remember, only to end in DuPage County.
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Despite that, Bailey, a first-team all-WIAC member, was able to hold his head up, even catching two touchdowns in the season-ender.

“I’ll remember that game, and I was rooting for (North Central) on Saturday when they lost (41-40 to Mount Union in D-III semifinals). That and the win over Wisconsin-Oskhosh, where we got a late field goal to get us into the playoffs, were what I’ll remember. Those were really emotional,” Bailey said.

Bailey isn’t done with the Wisconsin setting yet, as he works toward his degree.

“I’d like to still be around the football (progam) up here and help the team and the receivers,” Bailey said. “I know football, and football’s been good to me.”

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Cohesive to their core

Key Kaneland players continue as teammates on college gridiron
ELBURN—Kaneland High School football players swapping their black-and-white jerseys after graduation for the blue and orange of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has become a common occurrence over the past few years.

Two prominent members of last season’s Knights’ squad that mowed through the schedule undefeated before bowing to Lincoln-Way West in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs last fall are the latest Kaneland products to join head coach Mike Emendorfer’s club.

Zach Theis, a two-year starting left tackle who was named to the Illinois Football Coaches Association’s Class 5A all-state football team as a senior, and linebacker/safety Blake Bradford, are preparing to take their grid careers to the next level at the NCAA Division III school this fall.
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“I’m very excited,” Bradford said. “Football is something I enjoy greatly, and to be able to keep on playing after high school is something that I thought I’d never accomplish.”

“He’s a hard-nosed, tough young man,” Emendorfer said. “I’m looking forward to him coming into the program. Blake’s goal is to play a role on special teams and learn the system as quickly as possible his freshman year. Blake is going to be a safety or outside linebacker; he’s one of those ‘tweeners. When we get him into camp we’re going to figure that out.”

Emendorfer also is looking forward to adding Theis, the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East Offensive Player of the Year, to the mix on the O-line.

Zach Theis (No. 57). File photo
Zach Theis (No. 57). File photo

“You don’t find too many players in high school being recognized as Player of the Year as an offensive lineman,” Emendorfer said. “We think he has a chance to compete for playing time, but we’re very careful about making any promises. He has talent; it’s just a matter of making that transition to college.”

Theis’ mindset going into the season is to contribute in any way possible.

“I’m going to go in and try my hardest and do everything they want me to do,” Theis said. “If it ends up being a starting spot, that’s the way it’s going to be, but if it’s not that, I’ll fill my role on the team and be a team player.”

The former Kaneland stars also will be roommates at their new school. They’ll be living in a dorm on campus.
“We’ve got everything,” Theis said. “We’re just trying to find a couch.”

No doubt, Kaneland products Quinn Buschbacher and Ryley Bailey, both wideouts on the squad, will help Theis and Bradford adjust to life at UW-Platteville both on and off the field. Bradford and Theis played alongside Buschbacher in 2011, while Bradford and Bailey have known each other since they were kids.

“It’s definitely nice to go in there and play with someone you’ve already played with before,” Bradford said. “Not a lot of people get to do that, and I think it’s going to be fun.”

Buschbacher, a sophomore for the Pioneers, recalls how Bailey, now a senior, took him under his wing when he became part of the team last year. He plans on mentoring Theis and Bradford once they arrive in Platteville.

Former KHS standout Quinn Buschbacher. Courtesy Photo
Former KHS standout Quinn Buschbacher. Courtesy Photo

Former KHS standout Ryley Bailey. Courtesy Photo
Former KHS standout Ryley Bailey. Courtesy Photo

“With Ryley, it was super nice coming into college,” Buschbacher said. “He acted like my older brother. I’ll be like Blake and Zach’s brother like Ryley did with me.”

There will be plenty for the new freshmen to adapt to, Buschbacher noted, such as a noticeable uptick in the speed of the game, managing their classes and their schedules.

“They’ve still got to learn the playbook, and the coaches have to get a feel for how they adapt to the level of speed, playing at a high level and being consistent,” Buschbacher said.

But Buschbacher believes Theis and Bradford will make a smooth transition to college ball. Coaches at UW-Platteville and Kaneland have developed a strong relationship over the years, and the two schools run the same type of offense and utilize similar terminology.

“They’re Kaneland boys,” Buschbacher said. “Ryley and I were able to adapt very well. Kaneland has a very good tradition and consistently plays at a very high level. It allows us to come in, work hard and have that determination to push through and reach whatever level we want to.”

They’ve adapted well, indeed. Bailey led the Pioneers in receptions (70), receiving yards (849) and touchdowns (10) last season. He was named a first-team all-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) player and also was selected national Division III Receiver of the Week after catching 11 passes for 191 yards and two scores during a 49-19 win over UW-Eau Claire.

Emendorfer said Bailey has the potential to be an all-American candidate this season.

“I’ve been in college coaching at Platteville 15 years, and Ryley is one of most intelligent football players I’ve ever coached,” he said. “What Ryley brings to the table is football savvy. He’s our Swiss knife. He can do everything; he can block, catch the vertical game, catch the short game and is a very versatile athlete. He’s one of our best blocking receivers. When we need a big play, Ryley’s the guy we go to.”

Buschbacher, meanwhile, caught 26 passes for 216 yards and two TDs last year. Emendorfer indicated he has big plans for the team’s 2012 freshman Player of the Year this season.

“Quinn is very explosive,” Emendorfer said. “He can take a 5-yard pass and turn it into a 50-yard touchdown easily. As the year went on, he got more and more playing time. Offensively, we averaged over 40 points per game (last year). The reason is because of people like Quinn and Ryley. We’re hoping for big things next year.”

The Pioneers, coming off an 8-2 record—their first 8-2 season since 1976—are garnering national attention. They’re ranked 14th in Lindy’s Sports Magazine’s Division III pre-season top 25.

Buschbacher said he feels confident the Pioneers can live up to their preseason billing, if not exceed expectations. Making the Division III playoffs, and advancing in the postseason, are among the Pioneers’ goals for 2013.

“I’m really excited,” Buschbacher said. “We have a good group of guys that are motivated to be successful. The Stagg Bowl (the Division III national championship game) is out there for us to take, but it’s up to us to reach that goal. We know it’s out there. We have to do whatever we can to capture it.”

Ryley Bailey named WIAC Offensive Player of the Week

Platteville, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Platteville football team defeated UW-Eau Claire, 49-19, last week.

Ryley Bailey, a junior wide receiver from Elburn, played a key role in the win. The efforts by Bailey and McWethy earned them WIAC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors, respectively.

Bailey caught 11 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Both the 11 receptions and 191 yards were a career best for Bailey and marked the second time in 2012 that he has caught two touchdown passes in a game. The 11 receptions and 191 yards are the most by a Pioneer since a 16-catch, 195-yard effort by Darin Blaser on Sept. 11, 2010, against University of Dubuque (Iowa). Bailey also earned recognition from D3football.com, as he was named to the Scoutware Team of the Week, and his second touchdown reception was one of 10 plays recognized in the Plays of the Week.

Grid-Iron Men, too: KHS begins life as NIB-12 school

Photo: Leading up to the first ever Northern Illinois Big XII campaign, the Knights partake in drills in Maple Park. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a core of three-year starters and the beginning of a new conference, Kaneland High School football looks to be poised for big things in 2010.

It begins with a select group of players that put the “skill” in skill positions.

“We’re excited about having so many guys back with experience,” fourth-year head coach Tom Fedderly said on Monday. “They paid their dues and we want to see what they can do this year.”

Joe Camaliere returns at quarterback, now in his third-year of playing within the spread offense with a flourish.

The senior comes into the Friday, Aug. 27, opener at Burlington Central having tossed just three interceptions in 2009.

“That all comes down to preparation,” Fedderly said. “Making decisions in the game, and Joe takes a lot of pride in taking care of the ball.”

Camaliere will have a void this year, with two-way player Ryley Bailey off to Wisconsin-Platteville.

“Obviously, Ryley was a huge part of what we did last year. But we have guys working hard this year. We look at all of our skills kids back,” Fedderly said.

Running back Blake Serpa, soon to be a Mid-American Conference weapon at Central Michigan University, returns and figures to shoulder a load of the carries.

At the wideout positions are seniors Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan, providing production, height and talent.

“Cally’s about six-foot-five, Taylor’s about six-foot-three and so is Serpa. It’s nice to see those guys out there. They can block, too. They can do it all,” Fedderly said.

The Knights like their height advantage, and plan to use it to their, well, advantage.

“It really helps,” Fedderly said. “It helps when you have a big target to throw to in a space. It helps Joe a lot.”

Junior Quinn Buschbacher also found productive playing time last year, as well as the end zone, and will be counted on in 2010.

“Curtis Secrest is another kid that’s been working hard. We have a number of guys that can catch the ball,” Fedderly said.

Serpa and Secrest figure to be carrying the ball, but Fedderly and staff are looking at more options on that end.

Fedderly also mentioned the offensive and defensive lines could have a younger slant and will be open to competition.

Callaghan and Andrews will get time in at linebacker, and Secrest will get a look at secondary.

Serpa will handle punting, while Chad Swieca will handle extra points.

The Knights’ roster looks to make a big splash in the new Northern Illinois Big XII conference, and will add East Division-mate Morris, and West Division cousins Dixon and LaSalle-Peru to its slate.

“What we’re really excited about is that all these are all similar programs,” Fedderly said. “So our younger kids are going to be playing against similar situations with programs that play sophomores, whereas other schools we played had upperclassmen. I think it’s going to really even out.”

The last time Kaneland invaded a new conference, in 2006, the Knights won the Western Sun Conference title in a one-loss regular season.

Now, coming back onto the field after a three-loss regular season and an 40-13 opening round playoff loss to Sycamore, the Knights look to improve their end result.

“If we want to be a good team, we need to watch turnovers and cut down on the mental errors. When we won, it was when we took care of the ball,” Fedderly said.

After the opener, the first East Division matchup is at Rochelle on Friday, Sept. 24. The regular season ends on Friday, Oct. 22 against visiting Morris.

Bailey UWP-bound

“I have an advantage coming from knowing the playbook; we run that offense at Kaneland,” said WR/DB Ryley Bailey, who commited to play football for Division III University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the fall. Bailey had 56 catches and 8 TD’s in 2009.

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Knights beat bulldogs

Photo: Ryley Bailey (10) tries weaving around Batavia’s defense in the first quarter of the Knights’ 51-45 win on Friday, the first win in three years in that rivalry.
Photo by Ben Draper

KHS boys hoops finishes regular season 16-9
by Mike Slodki
BATAVIA—Three years of frustration went a long way to being dealt with on Friday.

Playing four quarters of exceptional ball on Friday night under the bright lights and tradition of Batavia High School, the Knights never trailed and ended the regular season on a high note with a 51-45 win over the Bulldogs.

The final Western Sun Conference game in both schools’ history marked Kaneland’s first win over Batavia since a 59-58 thriller over the Bulldogs in Maple Park in February 2007.

Some noteworthy markers of frustration for KHS in the recent rivalry was a 42-40 loss at Kaneland on Jan. 8 that came down to a final three-point try.

On Feb. 27, 2009, Mike Pritchard’s difficult shot was ruled a two-pointer instead of a game-tying three in a 54-53 loss.

Players like Steve Colombe think that this win could not have come at a better juncture in the season.

“It’s definitely a great accomplishment to beat Batavia,” Colombe said. “Coach Johnson preached resilience today, and we needed the execution down the stretch.”

Also provided was a little relief that the same situation from last year’s regular season finale didn’t happen this season.

“Yeah, at least it didn’t come down to that tonight and we put it away early,” Colombe said.
Kaneland finished the regular season at 16-9 (7-7 WSC).

Batavia finished 17-8 in regular season play.

Coach Brian Johnson stressed the team find an edge to not relinquish the lead to a historically tenacious Bulldogs squad.

“It’s such a great program with a great coach, and I hope Kaneland can get there at some point,” Johnson said. “We talked before the game about having resilience and being able to handle the ups and downs.”

Dave Dudzinski, guarded by two-to-three defenders the entire game, finished with a game-high 26 points.

Jesse Coffey led the Bulldogs with 11.

Both teams did fairly well on the foul shot end, with KHS going 15-for-23 and Batavia making 15-of-22.

Traditionally a prolific perimeter team, Batavia only converted two three-pointers.

Two shots by Ryley Bailey, a basket by Colombe and a jumper by Dudzinski gave the Knights a quick 8-0 lead 4 minutes, 24 seconds into the contest.

While Batavia came back with five points before the end of the frame, Dudzinski managed an emphatic rejection to keep the score 8-5.

In the second, with KHS scoring already scoring five unanswered, Dudzinski was manhandled by two Batavia defenders and still managed to sink a shot and convert a three-point play to go up 16-7 with 5:05 to go.

Dudzinski later hit a basket to stop a two-minute scoring drought and go up 18-11. After Coffey and Ricky Clopton hit shots to close within 18-17 with 18.5 to go in the half, Tyler Callaghan’s putback with 8.2 ticks remaining gave KHS a 20-17 halftime lead going into the locker room.

The third quarter featured the Knights going on a 13-5 run. A baseline jumper by Colombe, another three-point play by Dudzinski and two free throws by the Holy Cross-signee gave Kaneland a 27-19 lead with 3:48 remaining.

After Bailey made a shot, Dudzinski hit two more free throws and another lay-in for the biggest lead of the night at 33-21 with 1:30 remaining in the quarter. BHS made one foul shot 15 seconds later and made it 33-22 at the end of the third.

After Chaon Denlinger, Dudzinski hit one free throw and Donovan Williams converted at the top of the key to give Kaneland a 38-24 lead with 6:26 remaining.

Kaneland would then muscle its way to the foul line and make 7-of-11 opportunities, and with Williams’ next jumper, saw its lead increase to 50-34 with 1:58 to go, the biggest lead of the night.

Even with Batavia scoring the last eight points of the night, Kaneland proved victorious.

Batavia, the 12th seed in the Neuqua Valley Sectional, defeated (21) Glenbard West on Monday out at Waubonsie Valley by a 67-60 score. The Bulldogs were set to take on (5) Oswego East on Wednesday, while the Knights, hosts of their Class 3A regional, were set to play (3) Hampshire, after the Whip-purs’ 54-48 comeback win on Monday over (6) Rochelle.

Meanwhile, the (4) Sycamore Spartans outlasted the fifth-seed Burlington Central Rockets by a final of 66-61 on Monday and will face top-seeded DeKalb on Thursday.

United They Fall

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland High School boys basketball got yet another look at the bright lights of the United Center on Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, they also got the wrong look at the result against rival Geneva.

Despite leading the game with under five minutes left, Geneva closed the contest with a 14-4 run en-route to handing KHS a 49-40 setback.

The game marked the last Kaneland-Geneva boys contest for the foreseeable future with both teams leaving the expiring Western Sun conference.

The last time Kaneland met Geneva at the home of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the boys was back on Dec. 31, 2008, which resulted in a 58-39 loss.

The Knights also found time to defeat host Marengo on Feb. 17 by a 45-25 clip.

Kaneland now sits at 15-9 (6-7 Western Sun Conference), with one game remaining in the regular season before Class 3A Regional action begins.

Knight Dave Dudzinski (55) goes sky-high on the United Center floor during Saturday’s 49-40 loss to Geneva. The senior had 20 points. Photo by Ben Draper
Knights center Dave Dudzinski had little problem adjusting to the NBA-regulation court and bright lights at the beginning. The Holy Cross-bound senior sank two three-pointers and scored the first eight KHS points to lead Geneva 8-1 three minutes, one second into the affair.

“Dave still got his (20) points and nothing really changed on the floor,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “He’ll be playing on the big stage in the future.”

“We got used to it pretty good,” Dudzinski said. “The flow of the game didn’t really affect us being on the court. It was exciting for us, but our main goal is to get to NIU (Class 3 Super Sectional).

Geneva hit two trifectas to close within 8-7, but Kaneland’s Matt Spitzzeri hit a shot to make it 10-7 with 1:05 to go. Geneva hit a coast-to-coast layup at the buzzer to close within 10-9.

With Kaneland employing two Donovan Williams buckets sandwiched around a Dudzinski field goal to go up 19-14 with 4:09 left, the Vikings used four consecutive foul shots to close the game to one with 2:41 remaining in the half.

Steve Colombe (21) shoots a baseline jumper during Saturday afternoon’s 49-40 setback to Geneva in Chicago. Photo by Ben Draper
The two squads missed six combined shots to go into the locker rooms at the same score.

Geneva got hot right on the heels of Kaneland converting a foul shot and three consecutive shots for a 26-24 Knights lead with 4:39 left in the third quarter.

Geneva then scored the next eight points to take a 32-26 lead with 1:59 to go.

The Knights came back furiously led by a two-handed dunk by Dudzinski, an underneath basket by Steve Colombe and a drive by Taylor Andrews that tied matters at 32.

In the fourth, Williams got a feed from Ryley Bailey on a layup with 6:15 remaining for a 36-35 lead, which would mark the Knights’ last of the afternoon.

The Vikings scored eight unanswered to take a 43-36 lead with 3:39 remaining.

Dudzinski hit a basket and two free throws to close within 43-40 with 2:50 remaining, but Geneva’s aggressive offense led to five trips to the charity stripe that added the last six points.

“We hit highs and lows in the second half,” Johnson said. “Geneva forced us to play a little quicker.”

In the win over Marengo, Chaon Denlinger had a game-high 15 points, while Colombe had 11.

Kaneland led 16-3 after one and maintained a 24-12 lead going into the locker room.

The Knights opened the floodgates by routes 23 and 20 with a 13-4 third quarter to go up 37-16.

Kaneland has rival Batavia at the home of the Bulldogs for the final time as WSC rivals on Friday, Feb. 26.

On Wednesday, March 3, the Knights face the winner of the Hampshire-Rochelle matchup in the Kaneland Regional’s semifinal at 7:30 p.m.

Knights sink Sycamore on Williams basket, 48-46

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Donovan Williams had plenty to say about the finish between Kaneland and Sycamore on Friday night off of Route 23.

He let his shot do the talking.

Putting up only six points, the senior had the two most important points of the game, sinking a 12-foot jumper with five seconds left to break a tie-game and propel the Knights to a 48-46 win.

“We had a set play and I was supposed to come off that screen,” Williams said. “It was supposed to be an alley-oop but they left me open and I just took the shot.”

Williams handled most of the point duties due to Ryley Bailey being shelved due to leg injury.

“Ryley usually handles point guard, but I feel comfortable bringing it up whenever I can,” Williams said.

The season-series sweep gives KHS a 14-8 record with a 6-6 record in the final Western Sun Conference season. Three regular season games are left.

Center Dave Dudzinski led the Knights with 13 points, as did Steve Colombe. Sycamore’s Sam Ford had a game-high 21.

In the fourth, Chaon Denlinger nailed a shot 13 seconds into the fourth to close within 40-37. Sycamore missed on five straight shot attempts until Taylor Andrews of Kaneland put back a Dudzinski miss and was fouled.

The ensuing foul shot tied the game at 40 with 4:28 to go.

“Taylor didn’t play the whole game until then,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Taylor seems to find holes a lot and he got the ball, went up strong and makes a huge free throw to tie the game. That definitely gave us momentum.”

Dudzinski converted an offensive board with 3:33 to go to put Kaneland ahead 42-40, and Kory Harner’s three-pointer with 2:48 left gave KHS a 45-40 lead. Sycamore cut it to three with 1:59 to go and Ford’s two free throws with 54.0 seconds left cut it to one point.

Dudzinski made the first of two foul attempts with 43.5 ticks left to make it 46-44 until Ford tied it with a jumper with 25.9 to set up the final possession that led to Williams’ winning shot.

After calling timeout with 4.3 seconds left, Sycamore’s passes were too errant to make anything happen, and the clock ran out.

The Knights take on Geneva at the United Center in Chicago for the first time since Dec. 31, 2008, on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m.

Knight boys victim of Rochelle sharpshooting

by Mike Slodki
Maple Park–No matter the gameplan for familiar competition, it’s tough to guard against a Rochelle Hubs boys basketball crew that springs for 10 three-pointers.

Such was the case on Friday as the Knights fell to the host Hubs by a final of 77-63, seeing their record fall to 12-7 (4-5 Western Sun Conference).

Propelled by 10 treys, including five by Seth Anderson, the Hubs kept the Knights at bay.

The Knights were paced on the hardwood by Dave Dudzinski with 22 points, while Ryley Bailey added 12 of his own. Anderson had 22 for the Hubs.

Rochelle went to the foul line a massive 37 times, converting on 23 opportunities. Kaneland went 13-for-22 from the line.

Rochelle led after one frame by a 17-13 clip and increased it to 38-32 after the first half. While Kaneland kept up with the Hubs and trailed 56-50 after three, the lead widened and the Knights were outscored 21-13 in the fourth.

“The loss to Rochelle basically has brought us back to the basics defensively,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “We have really concentrated on our defensive intensity and we have made adjustments to the way we pressure the ball and play in the passing lanes.

Meanwhile, the sophomores were helped by Trever Heinle’s 24 points in a 63-54 win over Rochelle.

The varsity Knights hope to take a win on Friday, Feb. 5, at Yorkville and against the visiting Sycamore Spartans on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Boys feel better after taking two

by Mike Slodki
How do you combat a three-game losing streak at a pivotal point in the season?

How about going toe-to-toe with conference rival Glenbard South on Friday and handling a tenacious Hinckley-Big Rock squad on Saturday.

With two wins on the weekend, Kaneland improved to 11-5 and 4-3 in Western Sun Conference play.

Friday saw the Knights handle the host Raiders in Glen Ellyn by a 41-36 clip, while Kaneland also invaded Hinckley-Big Rock for a 63-49 non-conference win on Saturday evening.

Not much luck happened for the Knights or Raiders on the offensive end but KHS still led 8-6 after one and 14-12 at the half.

The Knights added to their lead and found themselves up 25-21 after the third before outscoring GS 16-15 in the final eight minutes.

Dave Dudzinski paced all scorers with 20 points, also went 8-for-9 from the foul line, accounting for all the successfull free throws on Kaneland’s end.

In Little 10-country, Kaneland led 10-7 early, but a basket and free throw tied the game at 10 for H-BR with under two minutes to go in the frame. A Dudzinski basket with 33.2 seconds to go in the quarter gave KHS a 13-12 lead but a three-pointer by Brian Michaels with 20.7 remaining and a breakaway buzzerbeater gave the Royals a 17-13 lead after one.

Hinckley kept attacking the basket and led 28-25 before Dudzinski put back a Donovan Williams trey attempt with 1:53 to go to close within 28-27 and hit another shot for a one point led with 52.9 remaining. The center hit a shot from underneath the rim to go up 31-28 with 34.9 to go while Matt Spitzzeri’s layup with 18.7 remaining closed out the scoring at 33-29.

Dudzinski hit two shots in a row and Spitzzeri nailed a shot for a 45-33 lead with 2:35 remaining in the third. The full-court press was on and H-BR called its final timeout, to the delight of the Kaneland players and coaching staff.

“We made a good adjustment in the locker room,” KHS coach Brian Johnson. “Coach Bieritz said to think about going to full-court press. If they couldn’t get Michaels, their main ball-handler the ball, they struggled a bit and our energy picked up a little bit.”

The fourth quarter featured the Knights hitting four shots in a row to nab their biggest lead of 57-36 with 5:42 to go in the game.

Dudzinski had 24 points and Ryley Bailey had 14 points for the effort.

“We knew that Michaels was their main ball-handler,” Bailey said. “We caused some of their other players to make decisions and it benefited us.”

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Friday, Jan. 22.

Photo: Inside presence Dave Dudzinski, shown here in action last week at Geneva, had a productive weekend in wins at Glenbard South and Hinckley-Big Rock. The Holy Cross signee had a combined 44 points over the weekend. File Photo

KHS boys hoops going through three-game skid

Knights see setbacks against Batavia, BC and Geneva
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland High School basketball was a Ryley Bailey three-point shot away from sneaking by Batavia on Friday and potentially riding that positive wave into Burlington Central on Saturday evening.

Instead, Bailey’s running attempt went in and out of the rim and the Knights lost 42-40 to the visiting Bulldogs. Saturday had the Knights lose 65-51 to the host Rockets. The Knights also dropped a 61-51 skirmish at Geneva.

The three-game skid has Kaneland sitting at 9-5 with a 3-3 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Going into the fourth quarter vs. the Bulldogs, Kaneland was down 31-30 and gave up a basket to Ricky Clopton 34 seconds into the frame.

Bailey’s first basket of the contest followed by two Dave Dudzinski foul shots gave KHS a 34-33 leads with 5:21 remaining.

Two baskets by Batavia put the Bulldogs ahead 38-34 with 4:20 remaining, but a Steve Colombe basket on a feed by Dudzinski and a Donovan Williams shot tied it with 3:02 to go.

Bailey missed a free throw but Dudzinski’s putback with 1:53 remaining gave KHS a 40-38 lead. Two foul shots by Batavia tied the score 11 seconds later. After Kaneland worked on a possession, the ball was lost and Batavia’s Clopton was fouled driving to the hoop with 7.9 ticks left. After hitting his free throws, Bailey got the ball on a pass and lifted the unsuccessful trey attempt.

“I thought we could bring it up the sideline, try to go middle and get a layup,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Didn’t work out that way. Ryley had a nice shot, it just didn’t go in, and that happens. Those shots will fall eventually.”

Kaneland’s biggest leads of the entire night was two points.

Dudzinski’s 20 points resembled the only Knight line in double figures.

The Knights were also 8-for-12 from the charity stripe.

Against BC, Chaon Denlinger led the way with 20 points, followed by Colombe’s 13 and Dudzinski’s 11.

Kaneland led 15-14 after one quarter, but fell behind 29-20 at halftime. The Knights closed the deficit to 43-35 after three but could get no closer.

Against Geneva, KHS saw Ryley Bailey score 15 and Dudzinski score 11.

The Knights fell behind 12-9 to the Vikings after one frame and 37-21 after the second quarter. Kaneland closed within 49-34 at the end of three, but it was too late to gain any more momentum.

In sophomore action, the Knights beat the Rockets 50-35 behind eight points from Ray Barry.

KHS tries to earn a conference win at Glenbard South on Friday, Jan. 15.

Photo: Knight hoopster Ryley Bailey gets two of his team-high 15 points the hard way in Kaneland’s 61-51 loss at Geneva on Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper

Plano speaking: Boys b-ball takes 2009 Classic title

47-39 win over Rockford Christian gives Knights third-ever championship
by Mike Slodki
What does an eight-point win over Rockford Christian get you?

How about a Plano Christmas Classic Tournament win?

The 47-39 win over Rockford Christian on Dec. 30, 2009, netted the Knights their third Plano tourney win and their first since 1994.

The win put the cap on a gathering that saw coach Brian Johnson’s crew also defeat Putnam County, Sandwich and Genoa-Kingston.

“Winning the Plano tournament gives us a head of steam going into an extremely tough part of our schedule,” Johnson said. “We are very excited about what we were able to accomplish and are hopeful that the momentum that has been built will help us within the conference.

Center Dave Dudzinski was named the tournament MVP, following Seneca’s Seth Evans who won in 2008.

Ryley Bailey was also named to the all-tournament group.

Kaneand (9-2, 3-1 Western Sun Conference) got 32 points from Dudzinski, who was also 8-for-10 from the foul line. It’s the second highest point total for a Knight, behind P.J. Fleck’s 40 against Sandwich in 1999.

Kaneland and RC were tied 10-10 after one and the Knights poured it on in the second frame and led 26-16 at the break.

While Rockford Christian closed the deficit to 32-27 after three, Kaneland won the fourth quarter battle 15-12.

Kaneland hosts rival Batavia on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. The last meeting in Maple Park between the two squads on Feb. 27, 2009, resulted in Mike Pritchard’s evident three-point shot being ruled a two and a 54-53 loss for KHS.

Photo: Dave Dudzinski travels to the hoop during the Plano Christmas Classic. The Holy Cross signee scored 32 to lift the Knights to the title. File Photo

Plano Christmas Classic
2009 All-Tournament Team
*Dave Dudzinski – Kaneland (MVP)
*Ryley Bailey – Kaneland

Brayden Teuscher – Rockford (Christian)
Jahlil Smith – Rockford (Christian)
Scott Suchy – Genoa-Kingston
Josh DeGraaf – Morris
Kjeld Torkelson – Morris
Kyle Anderson – Newark
Robert Hearon – Plano
Brian Michaels – Hinckley-Big Rock
Tavis Gibson – Yorkville
Justin Wegener – Sandwich

The 00’s Champions
2000 Bureau Valley
2001 Bureau Valley
2002 Coal City
2003 Yorkville
2004 Seneca
2005 Seneca
2006 Seneca
2007 Hall
2008 Seneca
2009 Kaneland

Knights hoops gains footing against Rochelle

by Mike Slodki
The game itself had a tough time getting started for Kaneland.

Even before the visiting Rochelle Hubs stormed out to an initial halftime lead, the game was originally shelved from a Dec. 8 starting point due to cold temperatures.

The Knights finally got their footing against their Western Sun Conference foe and came away with a 69-55 win on Dec. 16.

The win raises Kaneland’s record to 5-2 with a 3-1 record in WSC play.

Center Dave Dudzinski had a career-high 29 points on the night, eclipsing his previous career-high of 27, also achieved against the Hubs.

Chaon Denlinger also supplied 16 in the win.

The Knights also went 13-for-24 from the foul line.

Rochelle went up early after the first eight minutes by a 16-15 score, and led Kaneland 32-26 at the break.

Kaneland roared back with a 21-11 third quarter to go up 47-43 at the end of the third before outscoring the Hubs by 10 in the fourth to pull away.

Lower-class action this past week featured the Knights losing a 51-46 meeting with Yorkville on Friday, despite Bryan VanBogaert scoring 12. Rochelle got the best of the sophomores on Dec. 16 by a 50-47 clip. Trever Heinle had 12 in the effort.

Next up for the Knights is the 47th annual Plano Christmas Classic that has Kaneland the No. 1 seed in the gathering. Coach Brian Johnson’s crew is set to face the Putnam County Panthers on Saturday, Dec. 26, at 10:30 a.m. and will face either Sandwich or Hinckley-Big Rock on Monday, Dec. 28, at either 9 a.m. or 3:30 p.m.

Photo: Knights guard Ryley Bailey makes a mad dash for the ball on Dec. 16 in a 69-55 win over the rival Hubs. Photo by Ben Draper

47th Annual Plano Christmas Classic
Dec. 26-30, 2009

FIRST ROUND MATCHUPS
Saturday, Dec. 26
• 9 a.m. (8) Sandwich vs. Hinckley-Big Rock
• 10:30 a.m. (1) Kaneland vs. Putnam County
• 12:30 p.m. (4) Genoa-Kingston vs. Hall
• 2 p.m. (5) Yorkville vs. Coal City
• 3:30 p.m. (2) Newark vs. Somonauk
• 5:30 p.m. (7) Forreston vs. Morris
• 7 p.m. (6) Seneca vs. Plano
• 8:30 p.m. (3) Rockford Christian vs. Mendota

Kaneland could face either Sandwich or Hinckley-Big Rock
on Monday, Dec. 28 at 3:30 p.m. in the championship bracket,
or 9 a.m. in the consolation bracket.
Championship Game is Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m.

In 2008: Kaneland finished 3-1 in the 59th E.C. Nichols Tourney
in Marengo. The Knights beat Hampshire 51-43 in the fifth-place game.
Winnebago beat Chicago’s Bogan high School by a final of 67-49
to win the Marengo gathering.

Boys hoops improves to 4-2 with win vs. YHS

Four players in double figures lead to 55-50 win
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—It took a quarter for the Knights boys basketball team to gain their footing on Thursday evening, but they righted themselves for the final three frames and held off a charging Yorkville squad to win 55-50.

The Knights improved to 4-2 with a 2-1 record in Western Sun Conference play.

The Foxes stormed out to a 13-6 lead ,which found Kaneland playing catch-up, but the Knights outscored Yorkville 15-4 in the second and 22-19 in the third, before Yorkville closed the deficit by two.

Chaon Denlinger of Kaneland supplied a team-high 13 points, while Donovan Williams had 12 points, all in the second half. Ryley Bailey added 12 (three three-pointers) and man-in-the-middle Dave Dudzinski had 10.

The Knights went 12-for-19 from the free throw line, while the Foxes went 14-for-16. Tavis Gibson of Yorkville had 18 points.

After falling behind by seven in the first, Kaneland stormed back to take a 16-15 lead with 4:44 remaining in the half and went up 21-17 at the break.

A Denlinger basket with 5:05 gave Kaneland its biggest lead of the game to that point at 29-20. Denlinger later hit a three-point play to go up 32-23 with 3:55 to go, but a mini-Fox rally closed within 34-32 with 2:14 left.

Bailey’s five-point barrage at the end of the third gave the Knights a 43-36 lead.

Yorkville failed to go away and got the lead at 43-42 with 5:20 to go, but a Denlinger shot and two foul shots by Williams gave some breathing room at 47-42.

Williams would hit two more important free throws down the stretch to help secure the win.

“The last games I haven’t been much of a scoring threat,” Williams said. “I’ve been told I should step up and score some points, so I just tried to do that.”

With the score at 52-50, Dudzinski took the ball and made a reverse layup to give the Knights a 54-50 lead with 16.5 left to ice the game.

“Yorkville had that zone, and they made us work for every bucket,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “They competed and played hard, and you’ve got to give it to Yorkville.”

The boys now get an extended break until their entry into the historic Plano Christmas Classic on Saturday, Dec. 26.

Kaneland shines spotlight on fall athletes with awards

Monday saw Kaneland High School dish out their annual awards for the fall sports season.

For girls cross country, Shelby Koester and Lisa Roberson were recognized by the team as captains, while Shaela Collins and Jessica Stouffer won the most improved runners nods. Junior Andie Strang took home the Most Valuable Runner award and was also recognized for her all-Western Sun Conference nomination.

In Knights golf action, the varsity most improved player award was given to Adam Grams, while Most Valuable Player was Hayley Guyton. Rhys Childs took home the frosh/soph MVP, and Dan Miller was named the frosh/soph most improved player. Guyton was also lauded for her second-place finish at the girls’ golf State gathering.

For soccer, Kevin Szatkowski, Marcos Dorado, Joe Garlinsky and Genaro Garcia were recognized as captains, and Alex Dorado and Sam Rymarz were given coach’s awards. Jake Tickle won the most improved player award, while J.P. Minogue was named team MVP thanks to his play in goal. Marcos Dorado, Derek White and Minogue were named to the All-WSC squad, while Dorado was also named the 2009 All-Sectional team.

For the tennis troops, Randi Bader, Lindsay Jurcenko and Kelsey Lenhardt were recogznied as garnering the best individual records this season with 18-7 records. Most Valuable Player awards were dished out to Jurcenko, Olivia Emmanouil and Liz Webb. Bader, Webb, Megan Cline and Mel Mazuc were recognized as captains. Jordyn Withey took home the team spirit award, while Stephanie Rosenwinkel and Jess Woodward nabbed the most improved player honors.

For the State-going boy cross country, Joe Levita, Edgar Valle, Dominic Furco, Matt Reusche and Logan Markuson were recognized as captains.

Trevor Holm and Reusche took the most valuable runner awards, while Levita was named most improved runner. Valle and Markuson were given the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. The Golden Knight award, given to one representative of each grade level, was given to freshman Brad Kigyos, sophomore Jake Ginther, junior Tommy Whittaker and to Furco, a senior.

Reusche and Holm were lauded for their nomination to the all-Western Sun Conference team.

John Meisinger, Ginther, Billy Hart, Nate Rehkopf, Conor Johnson, Holm, Reusche, Levita, Valle, Furco, Markuson, Whittaker and Clayton Brundige were recognized as State qualifiers.

For the playoff-going Knight football team, Brock Dyer, Ryley Bailey, Brett Ketza, Eric Dratnol and Derek Bus were recognized as captains, while Kyle Davidson won the most improved player award. Dratnol was named the Most Valuable Player. Bailey was named the offensive MVP and Taylor Andrews won the defensive MVP award.

Bailey, Joe Camaliere, Andrews, Tyler Callagahan, Dratnol, Ketza, Jimmy Boyle and Blake Serpa were given all-WSC honors, as mentioned in last week’s Elburn Herald.

In volleyball, Jessica Lubic was named the Most Valuable Player, while Katy Dudzinski was given the top offensive player nod. Kylie Siebert won the top defensive player nod. Tara Groen was named best server, and Meredith Ament took home the spirit award. Mackenzie Curran won the most improved player nod, and Lubic and Dudzinski were nominated for the all-Western Sun Conference roster.

Photo: Tennis asset and tri-MVP Lindsay Jurcenko was one of the many KHS athletes noted for exceptional play during the fall season. File Photo

KHS takes third at Strombom hoops gathering

by Mike Slodki
How’s that for an opener?

Marking the first game of the coach Brian Johnson era, the Kaneland Knights boys basketball team took roughly a quarter to find its footing before captializing on fast breaks and high-percentage shots.

The resulting offensive party lead to an 82-53 win over Aurora Christian at the opening contest of the historic Leland G. Strombom Holiday Tournament at Sycamore High School on Nov. 24.

Following that contest, the Knights lost to Hampshire in overtime, 54-49 on Friday, and beat host Sycamore in the third-place game, 58-56.

On Tuesday, Kaneland improved to 3-1 (1-1 Western Sun Conference) with a 61-52 win vs. Glenbard South.

Center Dave Dudzinski paced the opening-night effort with 26 points. The night for the Holy Cross-signee included a three-pointer and 5-for-7 from the foul line.

“Both teams were kind of butting heads for awhile, and once we settled down and found our stride, everything just seemed to start clicking for us,” Dudzinski said.

Teammates Chaon Denlinger and Ryley Bailey added 11 points each. Donovan Williams added 10 for more scoring balance.

The Knights were 8-for-13 from the line, as well.

A Bailey bucket gave the Knights a 12-10 lead with 1:29 to go before AC tied it with 49 seconds left. Williams converted on a field from Bailey with :35 left for a 14-12 lead, and then hit a trey with seven seconds remaining in the frame before Aurora Christian nailed a three at the buzzer, thanks to Ryan Suttle, to make the score 17-15.

With 6:10 left in the second quarter, a Nick Marema three-pointer put the Eagles up 23-17 and completed an 11-0 run.

Kaneland then went on an absolute tear with a 14-0 run, capped by Dudzinski’s basket with 2:31 remaining in the half for a 31-23 lead.

Taylor Andrews hit a shot with 1:04 to go for a 37-28 lead, the Knights’ biggest up to that point ,and KHS went up 39-32 at the break.

Kaneland the scored the first five baskets of the third quarter thanks to Denlinger, Bailey and Dudzinski, for a 49-32 lead with 5:41 left in the frame.

With Tyler Callaghan’s basket with 1:01 left in the third, the Knights took their biggest lead of the game at 62-41, which is how the quarter ended. The biggest lead for the game was 29 at the end of the contest.

“Once we kind of spread out the floor, we were able to get better looks,” Johnson said. “It helps to have a 6-foot-9 kid in there to create stuff, but the kids were real smart with their shot selection.”

Against the Whip-purs, Denlinger had 21 points, while Dudzinski had 14 and Bailey had 10. The game was tied after regulation at 41.

Battling the Spartans, Dudzinski had a game-high 16 points, and the Knights were a helpful 17-for-22 from the foul line.

Against GS, Dudzinski and Denlinger had 20 points each, and parlayed a 35-20 halftime lead into a win.

Soph action had the Knights win their own tournament with a 57-55 OT win over Sycamore on Nov. 25.

Friday sees Kaneland host DeKalb at 7 p.m.

Photo: Knight Sean Paulick takes to the air during Kaneland’s 58-56 win over rival Sycamore in the Strombom tourney on Saturday evening. Photo by Ben Draper

Kaneland Knights football recognized for talent, smarts

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School learned of five football players that were not just exceptional on the field, but in the classroom as well.

Linemen Brett Ketza and Eric Dratnol, cornerback Taylor Andrews, linebacker Tyler Callaghan and quarterback Joe Camaliere were named to the Class 5A All-Academic All-State team last week.

“That’s what we really strive for,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “To achieve in the classroom and to be leaders on the field is great.”

Not only did those five get recognized for classwork and ability, they also joined lineman Jimmy Boyle, linebacker Blake Serpa and wideout Ryley Bailey for the final version of the All-Western Sun Conference team.

The offensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South QB Trace Wanless and Sycamore RB Marckie Hayes.

The defensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South DL Austin Teitsma and Geneva DL Frank Boenzi.

Brian Johnson era begins for boys basketball

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—West Aurora’s loss is Kaneand’s gain.

Brian Johnson, an assistant to Gordie Kerkbaum at West Aurora High School a year ago, makes his coaching debut next week in Sycamore.

With a first-year coaching gig on the way, and the challenge of trying to improve a team that went 13-13 (5-9 Western Sun Conferernce) on the way, the task can seem overwhelming.

“I still have a lot to learn,” Johnson said. “I’m learning how to handle the kids energy.”

But the former Judson College player has a built-in ace up his sleeve.

“It starts with Dave, who’s a very good player,” Johnson said.

College of the Holy Cross-signee Dudzinski returns for his senior campaign, having averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game last year. The senior was also nominated for a McDonald’s All-American honor this week.

Johnson also likes what he has with other players going into the 2009-10 season.

“We have guys that are tough—that are looking to get to the next level,” Johnson said.

Returnees include senior guard Ryley Bailey, forward Steve Colombe, who has a flair for the perimeter game, forward Sean Paulick, guard Donovan Williams, forward Chaon Denlinger and forward Pat Fleming.

“Ryley has had a real nice couple of weeks. He’ll be a really strong player for us. Denlinger has gotten a lot better defensively,” Johnson said.

New to the varsity ranks are forward Danilo Bruno, guard Zach Ringhouse, guard Andrew O’Herron, forward Matt Spitzzeri, guard Matt Cowans, forward Taylor Andrews and forward Tyler Callaghan.

“The guys will get used to playing with each other and learning their role and we’re still trying to see where guys will fit in for us, but guys like Taylor, Tyler and Sean are unsung guys who will do the little things,” Johnson said.

The Knights hit the Strombom tournament in Sycamore for Thanksgiving week, beginning with Aurora Christian on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Low-Raided

Knights struggle all game long in 21-7 loss to Glenbard S.
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—In less than desirable conditions, Kaneland football neither reigned nor poured it on Friday.

Glenbard South came into enemy territory for the Knights’ homecoming and came out with a 21-7 win.

Kaneland drops to 4-2 (3-1 Western Sun Conference), while Glenbard South improved to 4-2 (3-1 Western Sun Conference).

This marked the third straight victory for the Raiders over Kaneland. The Knights had not beaten the Raiders sincer 2006. The game marked the last outing between the two football programs for the foreseeable future, due to the dismantling of the WSC, effective at the end of the school year.

The Knights amassed just 125 yards of total offense and succumbed to Glenbard South’s 353 total yards. GS quarterback Trace Wanless passed for just 83 yards, but had a touchdown pass and rushed for 148 himself with a touchdown.

“He’s a special player and a great athlete,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said about the Raiders signal-caller.

Joe Camaliere was 9-for-18 for 92 yards and a touchdown. Ryley Bailey had two catches for 48 yards.

The scoring started on Glenbard South’s third drive, when on the fourth play, Wanless completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Nick Slezak in the flat for a touchdown. Glenbard South’s score gave them a 7-0 lead with :28 left in the frame.

Kaneland fought back with its first drive of the second quarter, with a 7-play, 64-yard drive. Bailey caught a screen and followed his blockers for a 42-yard touchdown that came with 8:13 remaining in the half to tie the score.

Kaneland’s offense struggled thereafter, coming up empty on five second-half drives.

Meanwhile, Glenbard South took the lead (14-7) for good on a 10-yard TD run by fullback John Hentges, capping an eight-play, 60-yard drive with 7:33 left in the third.

After the Knights punted away, Wanless called his own number on the second-play of the next drive and scored on a 52-yard run with 4:46 to go in the third for a 21-7 lead.

The Knights players and coaching staff look to rebound against DeKalb on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10.

DeKalb comes into the contest at 1-5 (0-4) on a five-game losing streak, and got trounced 55-0 on Friday at Geneva.

“We told them next week’s the biggest game of the season, and we want to see how they respond and prove themselves every week and get better,” Fedderly said.

Photo: Knight Joe Camaliere (12) tries to evade Glenbard South tacklers for a positive gain during Friday’s 21-7 loss. The Homecoming night contest marks the last conference outing between the two programs. Photo by Ben Draper

Kaneland uses two late scores in 21-17 win

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—What a note to go out on for the Kaneland-Batavia rivalry.

As Kaneland and Batavia football go out to greener pastures, namely the Northern Illinois Big 12 and the Upstate Eight, the Knights put on one to remember, coming back to beat the Bulldogs on Friday in Maple Park, 21-17.

With the win, the Knights improve to 4-1 and keep pace with Western Sun Conference-leader Geneva at 3-0.

Batavia, in danger of being skipped over for the postseason, fell to 1-4 with an 0-3 mark in WSC play.

Kaneland won the first down battle, 16-10, and outgained the Bulldogs 229-204.

“We didn’t really make any adjustments, we just executed,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We just kept our heads and didn’t panic. They really showed their maturity.”

In a game played under wet conditions, Joe Camaliere, who had difficulty with many snaps in the first half, went 14-of-21 for 183 yards and a touchdown. The junior found the end zone on two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to key the win.

Senior Ryley Bailey, who caught the first touchdown pass, snared six balls for 105 yards.

Batavia’s Danny Seiton rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries.

Kaneland struck first on a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended in a 46-yard touchdown pass to Bailey with 8:46 to go in the first. Bailey reversed his field and avoided tacklers on his way to the end zone. The extra point attempted was botched and kept the score at 6-0.

With five errant snaps having to be recovered, the Knights offense spun its wheels, allowing the Bulldogs to crawl back into the game.

A 12-play, 93-yard drive ended in a 24-yard touchdown run by Seiton and gave Batavia a 7-6 lead with 2:27 remaining in the half.

Batavia pounced again, thanks to a Braden Hartmann score from the 1 with 2:10 to go in the third quarter. That sent Kaneland to a 14-6 deficit.

A 13-play drive that continued into the fourth quarter for the Knights was keyed by Blake Serpa, who got nine touches. On first-and-10 from the Bulldogs’ 11, Camaliere ran to the right side of the end zone and went in for the score with 9:23 to go. The QB then found Taylor Andrews in the middle of the end zone for a two-point conversion to tie matters at 14.

Batavia came right back with an 11-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a 32-yard field goal by Mike Clopton to give BHS a 17-14 lead with 3:41 remaining.

Starting from its own 35, Kaneland got an Andrews catch on second down. Bailey caught a 15-yard pass play at the 30 and had the ball stripped, but the officials ruled his forward progress stopped.

Four plays later, Camaliere recovered from a broken play at the line to score from the three with 2:07 left, putting the Knights up to stay.

Batavia failed to convert on fourth down, and QB Noel Gaspari was stopped by Serpa.

“We could just keep going,” Blake Serpa said. “Offensively, we knew it was going to come. Defensively, we knew we had to stop them.”

In sophomore action, Kaneland lost to Batavia 14-7. Batavia beat KHS in the freshman contest on Monday, 17-14.

Kaneland hooks up with 3-2 Glenbard South at Peterson Field on Friday, Oct. 2.

Glenbard South defeated Kaneland on Oct. 3, 2008, 47-31.

Photo: Kaneland’s win was made possible on both sides of the ball, but things really got going in the fourth quarter. No. 32 Brock Dyer stopped Bulldogs RB Edmund Kabba on a third-and-2 from the Knights 26. Dyer set up shop in a hole made by blocking and won the duel. Batavia settled for a field goal, but KHS came back with a winning TD. Photo by Ben Draper

Knights grab key victory at Sycamore, 21-14

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Breaking hearts are commonplace in high school, most notably at school dances or over text messages.

But on the football field?

Such was the case this past Friday night in Sycamore, where the Knights ripped a 21-14 win away from a hard-charging Spartans squad.

With the win, the Knights improved to 3-1, with a 2-0 record in Western Sun Conference play, and keeping pace with undefeated Geneva. Sycamore suffered its first loss after a blazing start and fell to 3-1 (1-1 WSC).

“It’s our oldest rivalry, and it was a very good team. We have a lot of respect for Sycamore and what they do,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said after the victory.

Head-to-head action saw KHS win the first down battle with 17 compared to 13 for Sycamore. Kaneland had 374 total yards on the night, compared to 241 for the Spartans.

The two squads have had their share of the spectrum, with 2007 seeing Sycamore trouncing Kaneland 37-7, and Knight Chris Ott kicking a field goal at the end of regulation for a 38-35 win in 2008.

Kaneland quarterback Joe Camaliere had a productive night, going 18-for-22 for 294 yards and three touchdown throws. Sophomore Quinn Buschbacher caught three passes for 114 yards in the contest.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Knights capitalized on a missed Sycamore field goal and went 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. The 33-yard scoring catch by Buschbacher came on a leaping effort into the end zone 16 seconds into the second quarter.

Sycamore QB Ryan Bartels evened things up in the third quarter on an 11-yard touchdown run with 10:05 to go in the frame. After a Spartan drive went nowhere, the Knights set up shop at their own 32, where Camaliere found Buschbacher again on a 68-yard touchdown bomb with 6:08 remaining in the third for a 14-7 lead.

The score remained the same until the fourth quarter, when Bartels capped a drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 9:22 to go, deadlocking the score at 14.

Wasting no time, the Knights balanced Camaliere runs with a pass to Blake Serpa, and Kaneland was on the board again after a 23-yard touchdown pass to Serpa with 6:33 to go for a 21-14 lead.

With Sycamore finding no luck, Kaneland looked to drive the ball in order to wind the clock down, and succeeded in cinching the game on an acrobatic catch by Bailey with just over a minute to go in Spartan territory.

“We just trust our offense and trust our quarterback making decisions out there,” said Bailey. “Everyone made plays tonight. We knew we could do it.”

The Knights now host Batavia on Friday, Sept. 25, and hope to catch the 1-3 Bulldogs reeling.

Lower level activity had the Knight sophomores lose a 21-0 game, while the freshmen took home a 26-6 win.

	While Kaneland was looking for breathing room with the clock winding down on Friday, everyone in Sycamore held their breath. 	Ryley Bailey kept his composure near the sideline late in the fourth quarter with the Knights needing another first down to put the game away. 	A pass by Camaliere was tipped by a Spartan defender, but caught by Bailey with one minute to go, preserving the win with a 26-yard gain. Photos by Ryan Wells
While Kaneland was looking for breathing room with the clock winding down on Friday, everyone in Sycamore held their breath. Ryley Bailey kept his composure near the sideline late in the fourth quarter with the Knights needing another first down to put the game away. A pass by Camaliere was tipped by a Spartan defender, but caught by Bailey with one minute to go, preserving the win with a 26-yard gain. Photos by Ryan Wells

Knights unleash offense in 33-12 win at Rochelle

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—On Friday in Rochelle, it wasn’t the Knights who were left in a purple haze.

Despite spotting the host Hubs the first touchdown, Kaneland High School football kept its composure in a 33-12 victory to improve to 2-1 (1-0 Western Sun Conference).

The Knights slipped past the Hubs in Maple Park a year ago, 16-12, and have now split the last six meetings with the school.

“Our kids were real mature over the week,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “They worked hard. If you play steady, good things can happen.”

On Friday, Kaneland won the first down battle 21-16.

Despite losing the rushing battle by a 169-127 count, the Knights outgained the Hubs throughout the night, 389-210.

The offensive road to success went through quarterback Joe Camaliere. No. 12 went 21-for-31 for 262 yards with three touchdown throws and no interceptions. The signal-caller also carried the ball 11 times for 87 yards. Rochelle’s Josh Bernardin ran for 101 yards on 25 carries.

Knight Ryley Bailey caught nine passes for 89 yards, while Blake Serpa caught five balls for 95 yards.

Rochelle began the contest with its run-based offense working like clockwork. An 11-play, 71-yard drive ended with an eight-yard touchdown run off tackle by Evan Tracy. The score with 5:57 remaining in the first made it 6-0.

Kaneland stormed back with some key runs by Camaliere and a pass to Serpa. The Knights made Rochelle jump offsides on two consecutive plays before Camaliere evaded Hubs defenders on the way to a 12-yard scoring run. The extra point by Kevin Szatkowski made it 7-6 for the Knights with 3:41 left.

The Knights defense stifled Rochelle in the second quarter and even got sacks from Alex Barron and Tyler Callaghan on consecutive plays.

With the first half about to close, Kaneland got to work at the Rochelle 39. Passes to Quinn Buschbacher and Taylor Andrews set up shop at the 27, where a Camaliere pass to Bailey resulted in Bailey lateralling the ball to running back Eric Tattoni for a 27-yard touchdown. The “hook-and-ladder” play came on a pivotal third-and-15 and gave the Knights a 14-6 lead with 12 seconds left in the half.

“That was a big momentum shifter,” Fedderly said. “We’d tried it last week and it got batted down, but Ryley made an unbelievable toss.”

“We just wanted to see if something would work,” Camaliere said. “Ryley just executed it great.”

In the third, Rochelle fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Bailey. Thus began a nine-play, 99-yard drive that ended with a 39-yard scamper by Camaliere for a 20-6 lead with :40 left in the third quarter.

Rochelle scored on a Gabe Montes five-yard touchdown run with five seconds left in the game, but not before Kaneland got a 15-yard scoring pass to Bailey with 8:00 left to go up 27-6, and a 42-yard touchdown pass to Serpa with 4:49 to go made it 33-6.

In sophomore action, Rochelle handled Kaneland 28-13. The freshmen won over the Hubs 44-6 on Monday.

Kaneland travels to Sycamore on Friday, Sept. 18. The Spartans are coming off a win vs. DeKalb at Huskie Stadium.

Play of the Knight
While it was the offense that gave Rochelle headaches for most of Friday night, it was the defense that might make Hubs QB Brett Metzger feel after-effects.
Two consecutive sacks by the Knights in the second quarter had the Hubs’ struggling offense come up empty once again. The first one by Alex Barron (93) resulted in a six-yard loss.

Knights fall short to Huntley

Costly turnovers harm KHS chances in 17-14 loss
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—It almost had the makings of a classic final-drive victory for Kaneland football on Friday night at Peterson Field.

But like many other chances during Friday’s 17-14 loss at the hands of the Huntley Red Raiders, the potential game-winning drive ended in an interception.

“I’m really proud of our team and how we hung in there,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “Some things didn’t go our way. But we were a good enough team to hang in until the last play.”

For their first meeting with Huntley since the 1960s, Kaneland was led by quarterback Joe Camaliere, who went 23-for-36 with 306 yards. The junior threw two touchdowns and three picks.

The Knights also lost two fumbles, making a total of five turnovers on the night.

Camaliere also led the ground crew with 68 yards, including a 34-yard scamper.

Ryley Bailey toughed out a seven-catch evening for 129 yards.

Kaneland was edged in the first down category, 18-17, while the Knights won the total yards contest, 412-349.

The scoring started by the visiting Red Raiders thanks to an option keeper by QB Timothy Lycos. The 12-yard touchdown with 7:34 left in the first quarter made it 7-0.

Camaliere lost a fumble at the Red Raiders’ 17-yard line, but on the next drive found Bailey on a diving catch for an 18-yard touchdown. The score, with one second left in the quarter, tied the game at 7-7.

Tor Larkin of Huntley caught a 26-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds to go in the first half to give KHS a 14-7 deficit.

The Knights had a chance to get on the board before the half ended, but a pass intended for Tyler Callaghan in the end zone was tipped out of reach as the half ended.

Huntley missed a 31-yard field goal attempt on its first drive of the second half. After another Knights fumble stalled a drive at its own 46, Huntley later converted on a 25-yard field goal with 1:29 to go in the third for a 17-7 lead.

Huntley managed an interception off of a tipped pass on the next drive, stalling the Knights yet again.

Kaneland’s defense came through in the fourth quarter, stopping Huntley on a fourth-and-13 from the Knights’ 16. Starting with the ball at its’ own four, Kaneland used a 77-yard completion to Taylor Andrews to set up a goal to go situation. Three plays later, Bailey caught another touchdown pass from the nine on third and goal to make it 17-14 with 7:16 remaining.

	Knights WR Taylor Andrews almost propelled his side to an amazing victory. 	While Kaneland ended up on the wrong side of a 17-14 loss to Huntley on Friday, the Kaneland wideout’s 77-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter set up Ryley Bailey’s touchdown catch that brought the Knights within three points.
Knights WR Taylor Andrews almost propelled his side to an amazing victory. While Kaneland ended up on the wrong side of a 17-14 loss to Huntley on Friday, the Kaneland wideout’s 77-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter set up Ryley Bailey’s touchdown catch that brought the Knights within three points.

Kaneland found another drive end in an interception, but stopped Huntley’s offense on its own one-yard line with 1:38 to go in regulation.

Camaliere found a hole on fourth-and-one that took Kaneland to its own 45, before a pass to Andrews was picked off with seconds remaining.

“We had a couple fumbles and a couple interceptions. A couple of them were on tipped balls. The bounces didn’t go our way tonight,” Fedderly said.

Kaneland sophomores went over Huntley in the night’s first game, 28-24.

Kaneland’s next project is going to Rochelle on Friday, Sept. 11. The Knights have taken two of the last three meetings.

Photo: Knight Brock Dyer (32) finds himself in the middle of a Red Raider jam during Friday night’s 17-14 losing effort against visiting Huntley.
Photo by Ryan Wells

Year 3 of Fedderly era begins with 35-0 win over BC

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—It seemed like old times on Friday night at Peterson Field.

For the visiting Burlington Central Rockets, it got old in a hurry.

For the host Kaneland Knights, they hope it never gets old.

For the fifth straight season, the Kaneland Knights took it to the Rockets in the opening contest of the football season by a 35-0 final.

Offense was highlighted by quarterback Joe Camaliere’s 13-for-27, 321 yard night with three touchdown passes. The junior also ran for two scores and passed for a two-point conversion.

Receiving stars included running back Brock Dyer, who caught three passes for 122 yards, including the opening score of the 2009 season on a 54-yard touchdown pass.

Kaneland receiver Ryley Bailey takes  to the air during the second quarter of Friday’s  35-0 win over Burlington Central. The Knights’ next challenge is Huntley at Peterson Field on Friday. Photo by Ben Draper
Kaneland receiver Ryley Bailey takes to the air during the second quarter of Friday’s 35-0 win over Burlington Central. The Knights’ next challenge is Huntley at Peterson Field on Friday. Photo by Ben Draper

Ryley Bailey caught five balls for 106 yards.

On defense, Derek Bus picked off a pass and recovered a fumble.

The Knights had 16 first downs throughout the evening, and won the total yards battle by a total of 411-106.

“It sure makes a big difference when we get a lot of kids back with experience,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

The party started early on the fourth play from scrimmage, when Camaliere found Dyer on a swing pass. With exceptional blocking by the BC sideline, Dyer hit the endzone on the touchdown pass 65 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.

	Knights DB Derek Bus saw his share of action on Friday night.  	While Burlington Central had a frustrating night defensively, the feeling spread to the offensive end as Bus recovered a Tre Llenas fumble at the Rockets’ 33-yard line in the third frame.  	The play eventually led to a Ryley Bailey TD catch to close the scoring.
Knights DB Derek Bus saw his share of action on Friday night. While Burlington Central had a frustrating night defensively, the feeling spread to the offensive end as Bus recovered a Tre Llenas fumble at the Rockets’ 33-yard line in the third frame. The play eventually led to a Ryley Bailey TD catch to close the scoring.

The scoring resumed in the second quarter when a seven-play drive ended on a one-yard run up the middle by Camaliere. Tyler Callaghan caught the two-point try to go up 15-0 with 9:57 to go in the first half.

After the Rockets fell on downs, Kaneland got back to work on a seven-play scoring drive, ending with Taylor Andrews dashing up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown pass after a short throw.

The score made it 21-0 with 2:32 left, and seemed to break the game open for good.

“I got open down the middle and Joe found me; it felt good to win tonight,” Andrews said.

With 22 ticks left in the second quarter, Camaliere failed to find an open target and took it in himself after a scramble. The six-yard score made it 28-0 going into the half.

The lone score of the second half came on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ryley Bailey with 8:32 remaining in the third for a 35-0 edge.

Fedderly credited the offensive line, which came through in the trenches.

“We got everything tonight, and you can’t say enough about the offensive line. We told them that they determine how the game goes,” Fedderly said.

Lower-class action had the freshmen shutting BC down by a final of 16-0 on Monday, while the sophomores also got a win over the Rockets in a 27-21 affair.

The Knights gear up for the Huntley Red Raiders on Friday, Sept. 4, in Maple Park. Kaneland and Huntley were conference mates as recently as the 1960s, as part of the Little Eight Conference.

Huntley, currently residing in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division, is coming off of a 28-23 win over Wauconda on Friday.

Fall sports preview: Loaded with talent, ready to unload on opponents

Kaneland football looks to return to playoffs in ‘09
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Watch out, Knights football fans.

The Kaneland Knights football roster got a taste of playoff action a year ago after being absent in 2007, and liked what they had.

Even losing a close battle to Sterling in the Class 5A first round last November in a 23-21 affair, there is still much to build on.

“It was huge, the intensity of the playoffs is something you have to experience to see what its like,” said third-year coach Tom Fedderly.

Despite losing offensive weapons like Hayden Johnson and Tyler Suerth and defensive assets Steve Tosaw and Will King, the Knights return players that have impressed with dedication to the craft.

It begins with returning quarterback Joe Camaliere.

“You can definitely tell we have experience coming back at the position, if you look at last year to this year. We just picked up right where we left off,” Fedderly said.

Brock Dyer and Eric Tattoni will get carries in the backfield.

Catching passes at wide receiver will be the returning Ryley Bailey, Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan, all who spent time in the end zone a year ago.

The offensive line features Eric Dratnol and Brett Ketza, with competition still going strong eight days from the opener for the other slots.

On the defensive side, Jimmy Boyle tows the line and Bailey features prominently in the secondary. Dratnol brings experience to the line, with competition still hammering itself out on the linebacking corps.

Fedderly eyed Boyle as someone who’s putting himself in a noteworthy spot through hard work.

“He’s just a gym rat, working out all the time, and doing the extra stuff to make himself better,” Fedderly said.

Taylor Andrews also looks to hit the secondary, as well.

Following the much-talked about kicking of graduate Chris Ott, Fedderly hopes it can happen again.

“It’s big, every time you get a point on the board that way, it’s huge. We have a number of kids looking to try it after they saw Ott,” Fedderly said.

With all the talent coming back, Kaneland looks to get further in determining what a successful season brings.

“Always making the playoffs means you had a good season, especially in this conference, but you want to contend for a conference championship. We’d like to get a home playoff game. Those are some goals we’ve set,” Fedderly said.

The festivities begin on Friday, Aug. 28, vs. Burlington Central, and the Knights host Huntley for the first time ever on Friday, Sept. 4.

The WSC slate begins on Friday, Sept. 11, at Rochelle, and the regular season ends on Friday, Oct. 23, at Yorkville.

KHS honor roll 2009

High Honor Roll
9th grade
Upashruti Agrawal, Lauren Allen, Abby Bend, Brianna Brehm, Taylor Buri, Lauren Companiott, Brian Edwards, Eric Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Tyler Fabrizius, Jacob Ginther, Kristen Glover, Noelle Goodine, Kelsey Gould, Adam Grams, Malory Groen, Courtnie Holland, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Thomas King, Benjamin Kovalick, Stelios Lekkas, Austin McElderry, Anna Novotny, Athanasios Pesmajoglou, Drew Peters, Alexa Reger, Nathan Rehkopf, Karyn Ribbens, Kayla Rivera, Nicholas Rodriguez, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Maria Rossi, Margaret Ruppel, Alejandra Salinas, Connor Sandquist, Melissa Schmidt, Dana Schultz, Ashley Shearer, Kylie Siebert, Ashlyn Slamans, Molly Speckman, Anthony Sperando, Brandon Stahl, Trevor Storck, Katherine Taylor, Mackenzie Theisen, Valerie Tockstein, Catherine Tolan, Kalani Tovar, Delani Vest, Marissa Villafuerte, Mercedes Walper, Nicholas Wielgos, Isaac Williams, Anders Winquist-Bailey, Elliot Witt
10th grade
Priscilla Aguilar, Grant Alef, Taylor Andrews, Stephanie Breen, Jocelyn Cabral, Elaine Cannell, Cory Clausen, Jessica Corbett, Emily Darrow, Lacey Eberle, Caitlin Ellefsen, Collin Ellingwood, Ariana Espino, Amy Fabrizius, Brock Feece, Drew French, Danielle Frost, Allison Grossmann, Emily Heimerdinger, Amanda Helfers, Guillermo Hernandez, Andrew Hladilek, Lindsay Jurcenko, Joseph Kenkel, Jordan Krawczyk, Amanda Lamp, Corey Landers, Alexandra Leonhard, Christian Limbo, Jessica Lubic, Bernice Marsala, Katie Meuer, Danielle Micek, Abby Michels, Richard Miller, Sarah Morgan, Brian Olson, Nicole Ott, Keara Palpant, Brooke Patterson, Karissa Pitstick, Amber Platt, Alyson Rehr, Mackenzie Rich, Alicia Robinson, Linnea Scherer, Joshua Schuberg, Hannah Schuppner, Elizabeth Smith, Andrea Strang, Danielle Thomas, Holly Thomas, Brooke Thompson, Samantha Vazquez, Samantha Wantuch, Breanna White, Amanda Whiteside, Thomas Whittaker, Michael Wille, Caitlyn Young, Cara Zagel
11th grade
Jenna Bartel, Andrea Bruce, Danilo Bruno, Scott Burgholzer, Derek Bus, Emily Butts, Kristyn Chapman, Megan Cline, Stephen Colombe, Lindsey Dodis, Eric Dratnol, David Dudzinski, Joseph Garlinsky, Lily Garrison, Megan Gil, Trever Grimoldby, Tara Groen, Rebecca Hauge, Kevhlub Her, Joseph Herzer, Kevin Hodge, Katlin Howard, Angela Humphrey, Amy Husk, Haley Johnson, Samantha Johnson, Elizabeth Kennedy, Brett Ketza, Kevin Krasinski, Taylor Krause, Micaela Lane, Kelsey Lenhardt, Logan Markuson, Melanie Mazuc, Vincent Micek, Alexandra Morefield, Brianne Myers, Joss Nicholson, Zachary Nolte, Alyse Olson, Tara Olson, Kasey Ostarello, Kylen Pattermann, Justin Phillips, Lisa Roberson, Chelsea Roberts, Michelle Rodgers, Danielle Rose, Paula Ross, Patrick Ruffolo, Kelly Shaw, Nikki Smith, George Spirakis, Natalie Swieca, Kevin Szatkowski, Edgardo Valle, Elizabeth Webb
12th grade
Angelica Acosta, Emma Anderson, Kimberly Anderson, Daniel Arnold, Jessica Arnold, Lindsay Bartel, Kathryn Bergman, Ryan Blake, Emily Curran, Kelly Davies, Stacey Davis, Margaret Dawe, Lindsay Douglas, Samantha Eichelberger, Matthew Galica, Ashley Girard, Lauren Gould, Caitlin Haag, Matthew Haffner, Erica Hankes, Erin Hanold, Sarah Harant, Samantha Hauser, Devin Mae Heath, Jordan Herra, Alexa Hill, Rebecca Holloman, Michael Jenny, Hayden Johnson, Leina Kameyama, Emily Kenkel, Casey Komel, Kathleen Kuhar, Angeline Tracy Limbo, Anna Limbrick, Curtis Lubic, Chassidy Mangers, Briana Minogue, Kathleen Moravcik, Evan Olson, Madeline Osman, Christopher Ott, Sarah Otterness, Perren Palpant, Kelaine Patterson, Jordan Pinkston, Emiliano Ponce, Michael Pritchard, Nicole Prusinski, Jacqueline Ream, Bryan Renaud, Brody Root, Anna Rossi, John Rotella, Kristen Rusnok, Kristen Sanecki, William Schaid, Meghan Schiber, Christine Schieve, Jeffrey Smith, Daniel Spence, Emily Tockstein, Zachary Tolan, Santiago Tovar, Cristofer Vargas, Yasintorn Wongwoottisaroch, Victoria Yurachek, Joanna Zielinski, Jennifer Zmrhal

Honor Roll
9th grade
Erin Arndt, Rebecca Arnold, Dhurata Azemi, Raymond Barry, Madison Bluml, Jordyn Boley, Zachary Brown, Acalia Cleaver, Andrew Correll, Ashley Cottier, Ashley Diddell, Alex Dorado, Zachary Douglas, Katelyn Dudzinski, Mitchell Gemini, Ariel Geraghty, Ryan Goodenough, John Goodrich, Matthew Grimm, Samantha Hansen, Samantha Heinle, Austin Henkelman, LaQuanda Hood, Seleana Isaacs, Jordan Jones, Sarah Kitz, Denitza Kolev, Ryan Kolk, Kelly Kovacic, Alec Krueger, Amber-Rose Lano, Cesar Lazcano, Ashton MacKenzie, Aracelli Magana, Jacob Mazuc, Nicholas McCarney, Kayley McPhee, Julianne Miller, Brendan Morgan, Amelia Napiorkowski, Diana Nuno, Konstantin Paraskevov, Austin Paulson, Sierra Perteete, Jordan Phillips, Edker Pope, Jari Ramos-Orbe, Sawyer Rego, Courtney Reiss, Josias Rodriguez, Angela Schramer, Grace Snyder, Erica Sorensen, Meggen Southern, Dalton Stewart, Michael Tattoni, Carolina Tovar, Amber Urich, Bryan Van Bogaert, Savannah Webb, Taylor White, Joshua Williams, Jordyn Withey, Maverick Wojciechowski, Erin Woodill
10th grade
Athina Ajazi, Yesenia Ayala, Kristina Bowen, Taylor Bradbury, Patrick Bratschun, Kayla Burns, Tyler Callaghan, Josiah Camiliere, Shaela Collins, Lauren Crites, Jonathon Delgado, Cali Dickerson, Andrea Dimmig Potts, Brian Dixon, Nicholas Dodis, Michelle Dugan, Tyler Esposito, Zachary Ganz, Angelica Garza, Damien Gilbert, Hayley Guyton , Michael Hammermeister, Megan Hanlon, Anna Henrichs, Elizabeth Hylland, Kelsey James, Kellie Johnson, Morgan Johnson, Allison Jones, Pamela Katsigiannis, Dylan Keith, Maria Kernychny, Skyler King, John Kintz, Kristen Krajewski, Nathan Krauz, Cameron LeBlanc, Mark Merfeld, Kaitlin Munyon, Joshua Nahley, Derek Nordine, Angela Parillo, Angelica Perez, Jimmy Ramirez, Stewart Ream, Kendall Renaud, Keith Runde, Colleen Ryan, Nicole Rymarz, Curtis Secrest, Briana Stark, Charlene Steininger, Bethany Swartz, Robert Thorson, Erich Turk, Alexander Vallejo, Logan Vines, Christian Williams, Ryan Wozniak, Robert Zachara, Kelsey Zollinger
11th grade
Danielle Anderson, Randi Bader, Ryley Bailey, Brittany Bauer, Robert Bergstrom, Chloe Bluml, Dennis Brettman, Edgar Celaya, Jaclyn Diehl, Scott Dienst, Brock Dyer, Andrew Eberle, Olivia Fabrizius, Angela Filippin, Kalina Flamand, Sabrina Gabriele, Lauren Gallucci, Colleen Gebauer, Jeffrey Gillett, Dylan Good, Tyler Hamer, Aaron Hayman, Matthew Ikemire, Jaclyn Isham, Lindsay Kahl, Tessa Kuipers, Caitlin Larson, Brandie Mattice, Jessica McHenry, Donald McLennan, Thomas Orr, Sean Paulick, Brenda Petersen, Izatmar Quiroz, Jordan Rego, Matthew Reusche, Connor Risch, Erin Rocha, Erin Rodway, John Scholl, Alyssa Snyder, Bradley Staker, Daniel Steinmiller, Cody Stults, James Tarchala, Benjamin Tennant, Kayla Thompson, Jacob Tickle, Xavier Torres-Valdovinos, Abigayle VanDerHeyden, Katie Walton, Nicholas Zimmer
12th grade
Cecelia Anderson, Jacob Astin, Garrett Austin, Kathryn Banbury, Joshua Bloome, John Brennan, Michael Chavez, Paul Davies, Laney Deligianis, Samantha Dixon, Alycia Donais, Kevin Durrenberger, Kelsey Fletcher, Alyssa Galvan, Eric Geiger, Lindsay Gierke, Mallory Gigl, Sally Gorenz, Kristen Hamer, Laura Hansen, Kathryn Hatch, Adrian Hernandez, Erin Heyob, Amanda Hilton, Mallory Huml, Brianna Hurst, Sonja Isaacs, Jenna Ivkovich, Krista Johnson, Lydia King, William King, Christopher Kovacic, Meghan Krajewski, Robert Kuti, Nathan Lewis, Robert Locke, Dylan Luse, Grant Mooney, Brittany Nelson, Michael Nguyen, Alexandra Olson, Daniela Parra, Benjamin Paulus, Troy Pritchard, Scott Proctor, Frank Reyes, Leah Richards, Paige Rogers, Sara Rose, Luis Ruiz, Joseph Ruppel, Samantha Sills, Kyle Slamans, Joseph Spitzzeri, Zachary Stavinsky, Jessica Stebbins, Kyle Stryczek, Annelise Weiss, Rick White, Lauren Whittaker, Cassandra Wilson, Mariella Zavala, Dana Zimmer

Knights edged by rival Vikings on court

The Knights dropped a close affair to rival Geneva on Friday night at KHS by a 39-38 clip.

The Vikings swept the season series, the first loss being at the United Center in Chicago on Dec. 31, 2008.

Kaneland’s record dropped to 13-11 (5-8 Western Sun Conference).

The loss stopped Kaneland’s five-game win streak.

Mike Pritchard scored a game-high 15 points, the first time he found himself at the top of the list this season. Dave Dudzinski had 10. The Knights were 8-for-12 from the foul line.

Kaneland led 9-6 after one quarter, but fell behind the Vikings by a 22-17 margin at the halftime buzzer. While Kaneland closed within 30-26 after three quarters, Geneva won on two free throws by Christian Frederking with 1.5 seconds left. Dudzinski’s free throws with 15.8 ticks left gave Kaneland a one-point lead that failed to hold up.

Sophomore action had Geneva beating the Knights 47-37. Zach Ringhouse had 11 points to lead KHS.

For Kaneland, the final regular season game is Friday, Feb. 27, against the Batavia Bulldogs. Batavia comes into the contest at 17-7.

After the end of the regular season, Kaneland starts prepping for the IHSA Class 3A playoffs.
Wednesday, March 4, has KHS (second seed) face Hampshire (3) at 7:30 p.m. The winner will face Wheaton Academy, Sycamore or Burlington Central in the regional title game in Burlington on Friday, March 6.

Photo: Ryley Bailey tries to avoid the traffic of Sycamore’s defense during the Knights’ victory on Feb. 13. The Knights look to end their regular season on a high note and host Batavia on Friday, Feb. 27. Photo by John DiDonna

Knight boys make good on road trip; now 13-10

by Mike Slodki
Suddenly, the Knight boys basketball team is not one opposing teams want to face.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

With a 57-45 non-conference win at Marmion Academy in Aurora on Saturday, and a 63-54 Western Sun Conference win at Sycamore, coach Dennis Hansen’s Knights are now 13-10, having won five in a row.
KHS is now 5-7 in conference play.

Sycamore fell to 8-13.

Against the Cadets, center weapon Dave Dudzinski scored 20 points, Brody Root added 14 and Ryley Bailey had 12 of his own.

The Knights trailed 8-7 after one quarter, but had a monster second quarter and outscored the Cadets 21-14 for a 28-22 halftime lead.

Kaneland increased its lead to 42-32 after three before closing it out.

Against the Spartans, Dudzinski had 26 points, which matched the game-high of Sycamore’s Michael Buckner. Christian Dillon added 14 of his own.

“We’re playing really well and just trying to get the ball to Christian and Dave,” Mike Pritchard said. “If they’re double-teamed, we’re making a lot of outside shots.”

Up 9-8 in the first quarter, Ryan Blake hit a three pointer with 1:05 remaining for a four-point edge. After the Spartans hit a bucket with 51.2 remaining, Root came back with the final basket of the frame with 38.3 to go for a 14-10 lead.

When Root hit another jumper 59 seconds into the second quarter for a 16-10 lead, Sycamore went on a 7-1 run to tie the score at 17 with 4:46 remaining. Dudzinski hit a shot in the lane and Curtis Lubic soon followed with a bucket to retake the lead at 21-17 with 3:47 to go. After Buckner hit a free throw with 1:53 to go, Dudzinski hit two more shots, the last with 6.1 seconds to go for a 25-18 halftime edge.

Two buckets by Dillon and one by Dudzinski increased the lead to 31-20 with 6:14 to go. With two baskets by Root, Kaneland earned its biggest lead of the night at 39-26 with 2:56 to go.

Dillon’s bucket with 1:26 to go in the frame made it 43-31 before Will Strack’s three-point play and a Buckner free throw closed the third-quarter scoring at 43-35.

Sycamore continued to fight back on its home floor, even cutting the deficit to 49-43 on a Strack three with 3:39 to go. Kaneland tempered the attack with a Dudzinski field goal and a Blake shot to add some breathing room at 53-43 with 2:53 to go.

Dillon, Root and Dudzinski all saw time at the foul line to add to the total before the final buzzer.

“We’re all pointing toward regionals right now,” Hansen said. “We just have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing. Tonight we played all man-to-man. It worked so well that we stayed with it.”

Only two more regular season contests are in the way before the Class 3A regionals start at Burlington Central, with Hampshire the Knights’ opponents.

KHS goes up against Geneva in Maple Park on Friday, Feb. 20.

Photo: Mike Pritchard directs a pass during Friday’s nine-point win at Sycamore. Photo by John DiDonna

Knight boys work over foes for 3 straight wins

by Mike Slodki
When the Knights basketball squad struggles, according to coach Dennis Hansen, they really struggle.

The same could be said when they stack wins, case in point this past week.

Kaneland saw its mark improve to 11-10 with a 4-7 record in Western Sun Conference play; this after taking care of host Yorkville on Friday in a 53-35 affair, and stumped Sycamore 68-50 at home on Saturday before hammering visiting Marengo on Tuesday 56-34.

“Our mental state was kind of bad before we started winning, but we started stepping up and executing a lot better,” Hansen said.

Against the Foxes, Dave Dudzinski had 15 points and Christian Dillon added nine. Kaneland’s victory came despite the Knights going just 13-for-27 from the free throw line.

Kaneland outscored YHS 12-7 in the first and maintained a 19-14 lead at the half. Kaneland ran roughshod on Yorkville in the third and led 32-17 at the end of the frame.

Dudzinski had a pivotal game vs. the Spartans as he poured in 28 points from the floor, while teammate Ryan Blake added 14.

KHS led 18-15 after the first quarter but trailed 29-26 at the half before turning it on the third quarter to go up 42-41. The Knights’ 26-9 fourth quarter sealed the deal.

Kaneland’s night against the visiting Indians started out with a flurry of baskets by Mike Pritchard and Dudzinski to go up 9-0 four minutes, 24 seconds into the contest.

The host offense found more paydirt with a basket from Dillon, two foul shots by Dudzinski and a three-pointer by Blake for a 16-2 lead with 1:48 remaining. The Knights led 16-6 after one quarter. Another trey by Blake increased the lead to 19-6 just 53 seconds into the next frame. Ryley Bailey’s three-point shot gave Kaneland its biggest lead of the half at 28-9 with 1:44 to go before the margin reached 30-12 at the end of the half.

Up 39-20 in the third quarter, Pritchard got a putback, Steve Colombe hit a three and Pritchard nailed the back-end of a trip to the foul line to go up 45-20 with 1:17 left in the third. KHS led 45-22 after the buzzer. The Knights went scoreless from 1:17 in the third until 3:52 in the fourth when Dudzinski hit a foul shot.

“I think we did what we had to do and played good, solid defense and just held onto it the whole game,” Hansen said on Tuesday.

While Dudzinski had a solid 15 points, he played just a little over half the game, allowing for needed rest, and passed the ball when needed after constant double-and-triple teaming.

“If they’re going to do that, I have confidence in these guys. We did what we had to do, spread the ball around and make shots,” Dudzinski said.

Eleven Knights reached the scoring column against the Indians.

The sophomores also defeated Marengo 44-37.

The Knights have their next challenge on Friday, Feb. 13, at Sycamore, and also travel to Aurora on Valentine’s Day to face Marmion Academy.

Loss to DeKalb drops boys hoops to .500

by Mike Slodki
DeKalb boys basketball is surging lately, and not even Kaneland could stand in their way on Friday night.

Kaneland fell victim to DeKalb’s defense and struggled to find its own offensive groove in the 50-37 loss.

DeKalb has gone on a tear after starting out 0-4 this season. They have now won nine contests in a row to improve to 11-6 (6-1 Western Sun Conference). Kaneland fell to 8-8 with a 2-5 mark in the Western Sun Conference.

For Kaneland, Dave Dudzinski had 13 points and Mike Pritchard added seven. Dudzinski’s post nemesis Jordan Threloff had a game-high 20.

“We took poor shots and didn’t make shots,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said. “For the most part, we played pretty good defense, but then we got behind and we had to force the issue. DeKalb’s quick, and we needed to contain them.”

Kaneland’s evening began with seven of its first nine shots missing, but did gather four steals to keep DeKalb from extending its 8-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

A three-pointer by Ryan Blake and a baseline jumper by Chaon Denlinger closed to within 10-9 with 6:20 to go.

As the defensive battle continued, Dudzinski hit a jumper with 5:01 to go in the half to close within 15-11. Dudzinski’s three-point play and two foul shots by Pritchard chiseled into the Barbs’ lead at halftime, 19-16.

The third quarter went all Barbs as they outscored KHS 16-9 while setting the tone with their defense. DeKalb scored the first seven points of the quarter before Pritchard’s three with 5:11 left made it 26-19.

Kaneland fell behind 33-21 before Dudzinski’s two free throws with 59 seconds to go closed within 10. DeKalb led after three 35-25.

Ryley Bailey’s three-pointer with 5:26 to go made a game of it again at 35-31, but DeKalb’s 13-3 run, which concluded with a Threloff pair of foul shots with 1:02 left, cinched matters.

“When you struggle putting the ball in the basket and score 37 points, you can’t win,” Hansen said. Kaneland is now 0-8 when scoring under 50 points.

In sophomore action, the Knights dropped a 57-42 result to visiting DeKalb on Thursday.

Taylor Andrews had 11 points, and Omarr Maldonado and Zach Ringhouse had 10 each.

The Knights host Rochelle in a WSC clash on Friday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. and visit Hampshire at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31.

Photo: Christian Dillon tries driving past DeKalb force Jordan Threloff during Friday’s home loss to DeKalb. Photo by John DiDonna

No Bull–Kaneland boys clash with Geneva at UC

Special setting fails to provide help in 58-39 loss vs. Vikings

by Mike Slodki

Add Dennis Hansen to the list of coaches that have patrolled the United Center sideline along with Phil Jackson and Vinny Del Negro.

Add Dave Dudzinski, Ryley Bailey, Ryan Blake and company to the list of players who have launched shots on the home floor of the Bulls.

Such was the case on New Year’s Eve on Madison St. as Kaneland and Geneva tipped off at 8:50 a.m. after introductions by p.a. announcer Tommy Edwards.

Unfortunately, the Knights fell short in the contest on an National Basketball Association floor, 58-39.

Kaneland got back on the winning track on Friday with a 61-48 win over visiting Yorkville, to raise its record to 6-5 and 1-3 in the Western Sun Conference.

Geneva was helped by Jeremy D’Amico’s 32 points, while Dudzinski had a team-high 15 points and 12 rebounds. Bailey had nine points.

Kaneland was behind 10-4 in the first quarter before a three pointer by Joe Spitzzeri with 20.5 ticks left to make it 10-7. D’Amico answered back with a trey of his own to go up 13-7 with 7.9 seconds left.

D’Amico hit three more long-range bombs to hurt the Knights, but Kaneland wouldn’t back away, as Dudzinski found more of a presence inside. He hit two baskets and a pair of foul shots to send Kaneland into the locker room down 31-19 at halftime.

Down 33-19 in the initial stage of the third frame, Kaneland charged back thanks to a basket and two free throws by Bailey, an offensive putback and a foul shot by Dudzinski and a shot by Brody Root. The flurry closed to within 34-30 with 2:21 to go, but Geneva used a trifecta and a steal to close the third on a 7-0 run and lead 41-30 after three.

“We made a few shots, got a few steals,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said concerning the mini-run. “We made a run, but we missed a couple easy shots.”

Geneva then went on a 10-5 run to go up 51-35 with 4:13 to cinch it.

Geneva’s biggest lead was 21 which occurred with half a minute remaining.

It’s a unique experience for any player to play at the home of the Bulls, and Kaneland seemed to be no exception.

“Yeah, they had their eyes wide open sometimes after taking a look at the court, but we didn’t play as well as we could have or should have,” Hansen said. “But the kids were excited about the opportunity to come here.”

In sophomore action against Geneva on Tuesday, the Knights lost 72-32, despite 16 points by Taylor Andrews.

Against the Foxes on Saturday, KHS went out to a 15-5 lead and a 31-17 lead at halftime. Yorkville closed the deficit to 41-33 after three, but KHS held firm.

Dudzinski led the Knight attack with 14 points, while Bailey had 12 thanks to three treys. Mike Pritchard added 11.

In sophomore action, Yorkville took the prize, 50-41.