Kaneland hammers Rochelle
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Any coaches who get a chance to start the game with the ball against Kaneland might want to do just that.
Rochelle decided to defer after winning the coin toss Friday night. It took the Knights all of a minute and 40 seconds to drive 68 yards in 5 plays for their first touchdown, the start of a 35-14 victory in a showdown of unbeaten, state-ranked teams that quickly became another one-sided night for the Knights.
"We always want the ball to see if we can score," said Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly, whose team is ranked No. 9 in Class 6A and has outscored its opponents 214-51.
Pounding the No. 5 ranked team in Class 5A by 21 points doesn't do justice to the show Kaneland (5-0, 1-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) put on for its homecoming crowd.
The Knights led 14-0 after one quarter and 28-7 at halftime. Sophomore quarterback Drew David continued his steady progress completing 15 of 24 passes for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns.
All three of those touchdowns and 260 of the yards came in the first half. He was on pace for a 500-yard night until Fedderly showed mercy on a Hubs secondary that had no answer for Sean Carter (5 catches, 100 yards, 2 TDs) over the middle or Quinn Buschbacher (5-97, 2 total TDs) on bubble screens and other routes. Receivers Zack Martinelli and Kyle Pollastrini also chipped in with a pair of catches.
"They ran a lot of four vertical and when you had three-on-four it's hard to guard four guys," Rochelle defensive back Derek White said. "They are all real fast, there's nothing you can do."
The Hubs (4-1, 0-1) had that helpless feeling early when Buschbacher capped the opening drive with a 27-yard end around run for the first of his three touchdowns.
Carter hauled in a 12-yard TD strike from David with 56 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 14-0.
After Rochelle got on the scoreboard in the second quarter, it took Kaneland 57 seconds to match the Hubs touchdown on a 4-play, 64-yard drive. Carter capped it with a 22-yard touchdown catch on the same pattern as his first score.
"We thought they were going to blitz more but they didn't so we kind of did our basic passes," Carter said. "Drew threw some good balls, got on a roll. I thought it was spread pretty evenly. There were some routes that were really working so we kept doing them. We do what we do which is score a lot."
Just before halftime David showed his mobility, scrambling long enough for Buschbacher to break free in the end zone and haul in a 23-yard pass to make it 28-7.
Kaneland turned to another sophomore, running back Jesse Balluff, to carry the load much of the second half. He finished with 102 yards rushing on 13 carries and scored the Knights' only second-half points on a 5-yard run to open the fourth quarter.
"We have to keep the defense guessing, mix in the runs," Buschbacher said. "Jesse is a workhorse. The more tired he gets the harder he runs."
Defensively, Carter, playing his first two-way game, forced a fumble. Tyler Fabrizius recovered a pair of fumbles. The Knights held the Hubs to 233 yards of offense — all but 8 of those on the ground.
"Rochelle is a tough team, we have a lot of respect for them," Fedderly said. "Always a hard-hitting game. That was a good test and we're happy to get out of here with a win."
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