Knight football wins 10th-straight opener
Photo: Senior Connor Fedderly had six catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights on Saturday. Photo by Mary Paulson
24-hour delay, tough beginning leads to 30-8 win over Brooks
KANELAND—Kaneland faithful and fans of decent weather probably hope Kaneland stops meeting Brooks Prep of Chicago like this.
For the second consecutive year, the Knights and Eagles were delayed due to stormy weather, postponing football’s season opener by 24 hours. After a leg injury to running back Isaac Swithers on his first carry, and three fumbles on Kaneland’s first three drives, the defense came up with key stops. After QB Jake Marczuk’s initial TD pass to Tyler Paulson in the first quarter, things settled down en route to a 30-8 win.
KHS has won 10 consecutive season openers, and four straight against the Eagles. The delay was the third such occurrence in eight seasons for KHS football, also happening before the 2007 season opener. It marked the third straight Saturday meeting between Kaneland and Brooks.
Kaneland has gone undefeated in regular season home encounters since an overtime loss to Geneva in Week 8 of 2009. The last home loss at Peterson Field was on Oct. 31, 2009, in a first-round loss to Sycamore.
Marczuk went 11-for-22 for 176 yards and four touchdowns in his first varsity action. Connor Fedderly caught six passes for 67 yards, while Paulson caught two passes, both TD’s for 65 yards. Kaneland was actually outgained by Brooks in total yards, 265-228.
“They had some really good kids rushing the passer, and we had to make our adjustments up front,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “But, we have kids that can make plays and we used the spread offense, where one play looks bad and then the next is a 70-yard touchdown.”
On Kaneland’s second play from scrimmage after Brooks botched a field goal attempt, Swithers coughed up the ball and sustained an injury, only to return to action in the fourth quarter. Brooks went four-and-out, leading to Kaneland’s Alec Aurelio fumbling on Kaneland’s next drive. After Brooks couldn’t convert on fourth down, Marczuk would cough up the ball on the third play of the next drive.
Brooks was forced to punt, and an errant snap was corralled by the punter, only to be swarmed by Mitch Groen. With KHS setting up shop at the 12-yard line, Marczuk found Paulson in the end zone for a TD pass with 4:16 remaining in the first quarter.
After a Brandon Kigyos pick, Kaneland’s drive ended in a three-yard scoring pass to Fedderly for a 13-0 edge with 9:49 remaining in the second quarter.
Austin Vickery pounced on a fumble giving possession back to Kaneland, and Marczuk found Fedderly on a fade for a 10-yard touchdown pass just 23 seconds after the last score for a 20-0 edge.
Eric Matthews called his own number for Brooks for an eight-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point try to make it 20-8 with 6:05 remaining in the second quarter.
Later, Drew Franklin’s first varsity field goal try from 25 yards out was good with 1:38 left in the half for a 23-8 lead before the break.
After a scoreless third frame, the Knights cinched Saturday night on a bomb to Paulsen for a 53-yard scoring strike as he outran the Brooks secondary to make it 30-8 just 20 seconds into fourth quarter play.
Paulson was glad to leave Peterson Field with a victory which he contributed heavily.
“Being my first varsity game, I was pretty nervous to hit the field, but after I caught a couple balls I felt pretty good,” Paulson said. “After the fumbles, we needed to change our mindset, and we knew what we had to do to continue to succeed.”
Kaneland hosts Chicago’s Marshall High School for the two schools’ first-ever meeting on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.. KHS hosted IC Catholic in the second game of 2013.