Fall sports preview: Loaded with talent, ready to unload on opponents
Kaneland football looks to return to playoffs in â€˜09
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARKâ€”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.
â€œIt was huge, the intensity of the playoffs is something you have to experience to see what its like,â€ 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.
â€œYou 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,â€ 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 whoâ€™s putting himself in a noteworthy spot through hard work.
â€œHeâ€™s just a gym rat, working out all the time, and doing the extra stuff to make himself better,â€ 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.
â€œItâ€™s big, every time you get a point on the board that way, itâ€™s huge. We have a number of kids looking to try it after they saw Ott,â€ Fedderly said.
With all the talent coming back, Kaneland looks to get further in determining what a successful season brings.
â€œAlways making the playoffs means you had a good season, especially in this conference, but you want to contend for a conference championship. Weâ€™d like to get a home playoff game. Those are some goals weâ€™ve set,â€ 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.