Rochelle runs past Kaneland

 
By Russ Hodges
Shaw Media
Updated 10/9/2021 12:01 AM

Kaneland was able to strike quickly on offense Friday night, but the Knights had no answers for the Rochelle rushing attack, with the Hubs rumbling for 431 yards on the ground to roll over Kaneland 43-21 in an Interstate 8/Kishwaukee River Conference crossover matchup.

Sophomore quarterback Troyer Carlson put the Knights ahead early in the first quarter, firing an inside slant to wide receiver Sam Gagne for a 41-yard touchdown. Rochelle (5-2, 4-1 Interstate 8/Kishwaukee River Blue) countered with the first of tailback Garrett Gensler's five rushing touchdowns Friday night, with his first coming on a 1-yard run to even the game at 7-7.

 

"We were able to score pretty quickly, but we made some pretty big blunders," Kaneland head coach Pat Ryan said. "They capitalized on our mistakes and they put us in a bad spot. They controlled the clock all night and we allowed them to control the ball for too long tonight."

Kaneland (3-4, 2-2 Interstate 8/Kishwaukee River White) made its first notable blunder after the Rochelle touchdown, conceding an onside kick recovery to Hub tight end Ethan Wells, which resulted in another scoring drive capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run from Gensler. Trailing 14-7 entering the second quarter, Kaneland moved the ball into Hub territory, but a fumble by Gagne on a short pass from Carlson allowed Rochelle to take over possession once again.

The turnover led to a slow and methodical drive from the Hubs that erased over nine minutes from the game clock. Rochelle extended its lead when Gensler broke multiple Kaneland tackles for a 24-yard touchdown run that gave the Hubs a 21-7 lead before halftime. Rochelle received the opening kick in the third quarter, marching down the field and burning more time before scoring on Gensler's fourth rushing touchdown of the night, this time from 2 yards away.

"We have to continue working on our tacking," Ryan said. "It's been a problem for us all year. They beat us up on the line of scrimmage and we have to learn how to fight back as a defense. We have to learn to refuse to be blocked and we have to be able to make plays."

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Down 28-7 midway through the third quarter. Kaneland was forced to punt the ball away after a brief drive was stalled on a pair of incomplete passes. Rochelle wingback Trey Taft effectively put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, shedding tacklers and sprinting down the near sideline for a 43-yard touchdown. Taft finished with 196 yards on the ground for Rochelle.

The Knight offense finished strong despite the notable deficit, with Carlson tossing two fourth-quarter touchdowns including a 45-yarder to Johnny Spallasso and a 36-yarder to Gagne that was tipped by Rochelle free safety Josh Lloyd. Carlson ended the night with 217 passing yards and three touchdowns in the game, while running back Corey Phillips was limited to 19 yards.

"We have to finish strong," Ryan said. "I told our team that successful people often fail and they learn from those failures. We want to have a successful season, but we have to learn from this failure and we have to get better over the next two weeks if we want to play in Week 10."

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