Washington rallies from 15 down, stuns Kaneland

Washington came up with big plays when it needed them most to stun Kaneland, 33-27 on Friday night at Petersen Field.

The Panthers rallied from a 27-12 deficit with 2:42 left in the third quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points in the season opener and first meeting between the two schools.

It was also the first game for Kaneland's new head coach Mike Thorgesen.

"It was a great game that went right to the wire, which is what we thought would happen," he said. "We kind of let them off the hook there in the third quarter. I thought we had the momentum, and they made that big long run at the 20 and that kind of was it. We make that play and maybe things would've been different, but hat's off to them. That's a very good team."

Kaneland (0-1) had the momentum thanks to the tremendous effort from senior quarterback Troyer Carlson.

After throwing a pair of touchdowns in the first half to give Kaneland a 13-12 lead, he scored on a 17-yard run to open the second half during a clock-eating drive that consumed more than six minutes. Samuel Bruno's PAT gave the Knights a 20-12 lead.

After Kaneland forced a three-and-out, Carlson made it 27-12 with a 16-yard strike to senior Aric Johnson. The play was set up thanks to Carlson's elusiveness, as he avoided a handful of Panthers and while on the run found senior Dominick DeBlasio for a 41-yard gain.

In the first half, Carlson connected with Johnson for a 77-yard touchdown. Later he'd find DeBlasio slashing toward the middle for a 22-yard touchdown.

"Troyer is a warrior and we're going to win a lot of games with him," Thorgesen said. "He put the game on his shoulders in the second half and we just came up a little short."

Washington (0-1) was in dire need of a big play when senior running back Kainon McQueary literally reversed the direction this game was headed in Maple Park.

McQueary collected 55 yards on his reverse on third down at the Washington 20-yard line. A few plays later and junior quarterback Tyler Humphrey barreled into the end zone as time expired. McQueary then ran in the two-point try and it was 27-20.

Washington tied the game after recovering a Kaneland fumble, which proved to be the only turnover of the game, but costly.

The Panthers recovered at the Kaneland 38-yard line, but once again needed a huge play and got one from senior Brayson Barth, whose first catch of the night resulted in a 17-yard gain and a first down. It helped set up McQueary for a 3-yard touchdown run with 6:11 left that tied the game after senior Garrett Cox's PAT kick.

The Knights saw their final drive stall and punted away. But, again the Knights were bitten by the big play. And, once again McQueary was the one doing the damage. First, he broke away for a 26-yard run to get the Panthers across midfield. Then, he broke Kaneland's collective heart with a 34-yard touchdown run down the sideline with 50 seconds remaining.

"He had that same play earlier going the other way," Washington coach Darrell Crouch said. "He's a tough kid and played both ways like some of their kids. They'll say they made some mistakes that cost them and we made some mistakes that we were lucky to get away with. Either way, the people who came tonight on both sides got their money's worth."

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