Photo: The Knights Dylan Nauert carries the ball during the first quarter. Photo by Erik Anderson
Knights beat Elmhurst-based namesake in week 2 affair
KANELAND—Friday night’s first drive set the tone.
Facing an all-new non-conference opponent in Elmhurst’s IC Catholic Prep, Kaneland could have relied on the air game, but instead went to the rushing attack spurred on by workhorses Jesse Balluff, Dylan Nauert and Nate Dyer.
The first drive of the contest lasted nine plays and went 75 yards, ending with a 20-yard touchdown run around left end for Balluff with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter, setting the stage for an eventual 45-14 domination of the visitors.
“We just love running this year,” Balluff said. “We have a huge line that’s just dominant, and anybody can run behind them and get a touchdown, seriously.”
For Kaneland football, it’s the 30th consecutive regular season win in a row. The Knights haven’t lost a non-conference regular season matchup in four years, last dropping a 2009 matchup to Huntley.
It was a departure for the Knights crew, who last played someone other than Marmion Academy or Huntley in the season’s second game back in 2004, in a 34-0 win over Ridgewood High School.
Quarterback Drew David went 10-for-17 for 165 yards on the night, while Balluff went 185 yards on 16 carries.
On the next KHS drive, the Knights executed a 10-play drive with a concentration on ball-control. Matt Rodriguez booted a 38-yard field goal to give the hosts a 10-0 lead with 1:05 remaining in the quarter.
The ICC (1-1) drive that followed was stopped in its tracks after one play after a rush on the quarterback by Isaac Swithers resulted in a fumble recovery by Andrew Kray.
A touchdown pass to John Pruett was called back due to a penalty, but Balluff took charge with a 35-yard touchdown scamper on the next play for a 17-0 edge with 15 ticks left in the frame.
The opposing Knights finally got on the board with 8:13 left in the second on a six-yard touchdown run to close within 17-7.
Balluff had three carries on the next drive for Kaneland and scored his third touchdown of the game, with a 1-yarder up the middle for a 24-7 edge with 5:59 remaining in the half.
Kaneland’s defense took over on the next ICC drive, with Ryan Bower emerging with a sack. Four plays later, linebacker Cole Carlson picked off a pass and went 51-yards down the sideline for a touchdown and a 31-7 lead with 2:41 to go in the half.
The third quarter officially put the game on ice, despite a fourth-quarter score by ICC. Nauert ran the ball in from the 10 with 7:32 remaining in the third for a 38-7 lead, and a three-yard touchdown with 2:43 to go in the third for a 45-7 lead.
A running clock scenario was almost set into motion, but a punt return TD by Nauert was flagged for an illegal block at the tail-end of the third quarter.
KHS coach Tom Fedderly was pleased to see the early gameplan come to fruition.
“We thought we had the advantage up front,” Fedderly said. “We were going to keep running the ball until they stopped it.”