Despite losing seven starters to graduation, including Class 2A state champion Danny Goress, the Kaneland wrestling team was off to an impressive start.
The Knights defeated perennial Northern Illinois Big XII East power Sycamore in a thrilling dual meet at Northern Illinois' Convocation Center last week.
But DeKalb has its own storied pedigree in the sport.
The Barbs came into Maple Park Thursday night and took command from the start, capturing 11 of the 14 matches to cruise to a 44-18 victory.
The Knights' lone wins all came on falls.
"We didn't come out fired up," said Kaneland coach Monty Jahns, who rescinded his retirement at the end of last year to return for another season. "You have to come out fired up against DeKalb at home."
Kaneland (9-4, 1-1) forfeited the opening match, and it portended in the wrong direction.
After Kaneland heavyweight Justin Diddell dropped a simple decision at 285 pounds, the Barbs' appeared in early control, especially as the 106-pound match developed.
In a vulnerable position, not to mention behind on the scoreboard, Nick Mish seemed to breathe new life into Kaneland with a startling third-period fall.
"I didn't want to stop," the freshman said. "I wanted to keep coming. (Being down) wanted me to work harder and get something out of it."
"It's a devastating move," Jahns said of the maneuver Mish applied. "I can't explain (its dynamics). (Mish) never gave up."
But the Knights' momentum was quickly reversed as DeKalb (5-1, 2-0) won the next four matches, including a technical fall and 30-second pin.
The 17 unanswered points translated into a 26-6 cushion.
"(My Kaneland opponent at 126 pounds) was slower than me," DeKalb sophomore Parker Stratton said of his half-minute pin. "I was able to react quicker and get the pin."
Dane Goodenough, though, decided to follow the Mish playbook.
The Kaneland 138-pounder also trailed in the third period, only to catch his DeKalb foe in a move and apply a stunning pin.
"We are a team that will keep going," said Goodenough, one of the most experienced Kaneland varsity wrestlers. "Nobody (from other programs) expected us to start the way we did."
But it would be one of the final highlights for Kaneland; the Barbs captured five of the last six matches.
Dylan Farrell had a simple decision at 160 pounds to clinch the night for DeKalb.
Tom Price notched the last of the Knights' three falls at 170 pounds to account for their final win.
DeKalb had the last of its maximum-point wins at 182 pounds.
"They have a very solid lineup up and down," Jahns said of DeKalb, along with Yorkville the only schools in the conference to compete in Class 3A.