New QB? No problem for high-powered Kaneland attack

Pick your favorite cliché, insert any you prefer.

As impressive as the halftime fireworks show was Friday night at Kaneland's Homecoming football game and that was some spectacular grand finale it was nothing to the fireworks sophomore quarterback Drew David and his high-flying offense provided in the first half.

The cliché could not possibly be more true.

So much for Kaneland going through some struggles offensively this year replacing last year's Daily Herald All-Area Captain Joe Camiliere, a 3-year starting quarterback who led the Knights to a 12-1 season and the Class 5A state semifinals.

David is making a seamless transition. His latest big night came Friday when he completed 15 of 24 passes for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over previously unbeaten Rochelle, the state's No. 5 ranked team in Class 5A.

David spread his 15 completions around to six receivers, just another positive sign for coach Tom Fedderly.

"It's telling us how mature Drew is becoming," Fedderly said. "He's improving every week. We are calling the plays, he's making the reads. He's throwing it to the open guy. That's telling me a lot about Drew."

In his first five games playing varsity football, David has completed 57 of 89 passes (64 percent) for 1,027 yards, 19 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

He had a couple factors working in his favor when he took over for Camiliere, none more than linemen like Ben Kovalick, Alex Snyder, Zach Theis, Tom King, Nick Sharp, Ryan Noel and Shane Jorgensen to block for him.

David also had a couple returning targets in Quinn Buschbacher and Sean Carter who said they knew their new QB had what it takes to keep Kaneland's prolific offense running smoothly.

"Not really that surprised," Buschbacher said. "Our offense is really complicated. A lot of teams have a hard time defending it. We've practiced since summer getting chemistry down, all the repetition. I feel he's progressing week after week just getting better. I knew he had this in him. I feel the entire team knew he had it in him. He had to get confidence in himself, and I feel like he's doing that now."

That complicated offense Buschbacher speaks of sure has caused problems to Kaneland's opponents to the west in the Northern Illinois Big 12. Last year the Knights won their five conference games 35-8, 42-7, 34-13, 30-13 and 47-7, and Friday's win over Rochelle wasn't as close as the 21-point final margin suggests.

Am I the only one who wishes we still could see Kaneland-Batavia and Kaneland-Geneva play each year?

These last two years since the Western Sun Conference broke up would have yielded some classic matchups between those schools which pretty much happened on a yearly basis when they did play. I'd venture to say that even a loss and Kaneland had not been losing much to Batavia when the series ended would help the Knights when the games really matter like last year's semifinal battle with Montini.

Alas, that era is over leaving secondaries like Rochelle's and cornerback Derek White to try to stop a passing attack the likes of which they don't often see.

"Their aerial attack, we knew they were going to pass the ball well," White said. "Their QB is only a sophomore, he threw the ball well, and he has good guys down the field."

Fedderly said when the staff decided to go with a sophomore to take Camiliere's place that it took time for David to feel comfortable with the offense. It would have been unfair to everyone to expect David to be able to do what Camiliere could as a third-year starter when he completed 194 of 299 passes for 2,995 yards last year with 36 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. Camiliere also ran for 687 yards and 9 touchdowns.

"This summer Drew had his growing pains," Fedderly said. "We had to go through some things. I think he's been progressing every week. He's been getting better, making some good decisions."

Carter and Fedderly were both quick to credit David's work ethic in the success he and the Knights offense has been enjoying on Friday nights.

"Having people from last year still here that helps out," said Carter, who caught a pair of touchdowns in Friday's game and now has 8 TD receptions in 5 games.

"It's one big group working together. He's put in a lot of work and really worked hard at it so I'm not surprised at all. I think he deserves it."

"As a sophomore trying to digest the whole offense we took our time with him," Fedderly said. "We knew this could happen obviously if we are going to bring the sophomore up. He's the kind of kid that just wants to keep getting better. No matter how well he plays he thinks he can do better. It shows. His hard work is paying off. He made some plays out of the pocket today which is something we are really excited about."

The Knights play at DeKalb next week before several key conference games with Yorkville, Sycamore and Morris. Their offense is humming in midseason form.

"We have our goals and we're working at it and we think we are on track to do what we want to do," Carter said.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.