Kaneland Football 2000


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Round 2 Season Ends:
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 24 Kaneland 16

Email received from Cyclone fan Joe Schweska (JSchweska@cwlp.com)

my nephew, patrick, played offensive guard for the griffin football team in saturdays game against kaneland, pat has been the starting guard for the past 2 seasons and has played against a lot of good teams. pat tells me that kaneland was the toughtest, hardest hittting team that he has ever faced. i was at the game an really enjoyed the game, it was one of the best football games i have seen.

i try to attend all the games here in springfield, not only griffin's but the other 3 high schools here in springfield, i have maybe missed about 10 games since 1975, i've seen a lot of teams come through springfield in that time but besides bishop mcnammara and taylorville ,kaneland had to be one of the best fundelmental teams that i have ever seen, good solid blocking good tackling and no give up. i really enjoy high school football and the reason is teams like kaneland that leave it all on the field.

my hats off to you, you were a great team to watch, i am sure we will be seeing you again.

This year, Kaneland's football program graduated to the next size. And the Knights surely proved themselves worthy of residence in Class 4A. But the Knights' season ended in the second round Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, as unbeaten Sacred Heart-Griffin scored just enough early to hang on for a 24-16 victory.

The Cyclones (11-0) earned a berth into the 4A quarterfinals where vaunted Joliet Catholic awaits.

In a game Kaneland felt it could win, and rightfully so, Sacred Heart-Griffin caught the slow-starting Knights by surprise in building a 17-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. Kaneland had the same problem last week in spotting Morton a 14-0 lead. This time, the Knights couldn't quite persevere, but the comeback did not lack guts.

"We weren't going to go down that easy," Knights quarterback David Issel said. "We were going to come out fighting."

Griffin running back Kenni Burns racked up 177 first-half yards on only 10 carries. The super sophomore's average was padded by an 81-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game and a 64-yard scoring burst later in the first half.

"If you don't touch him, he's going to run on you," Coach Joe Thorgesen said of Burns. Burns finished with 211 yards, but was not a factor in the second half, as six of his carries resulted in zero or minus yardage.

"We've been pretty fast out of the blocks this year," Burns said. "(Kaneland) came out pumped in the second quarter. They had a little more life. They hit harder."

The Knights trimmed Griffin's lead to 17-7 when Ryan Schrader finished a 12-play drive on a 5-yard touchdown run with 7:58 left in the second quarter.

"Toward the end of the first half," Issel said, "our defense started to step up and our offense kicked in."

The teams exchanged punts before Kaneland recovered a Griffin fumble at the Cyclones' 30 with 41.3 seconds left before half. Issel misfired on three straight passes, then found Wayne Shaw on fourth-and-10 on a middle screen for a 13-yard gain. The Knights moved the ball to the 10 with 1 second left, but Nate Hill's 26-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

Hill earned redemption with a 22-yarder early in the third quarter that cut Griffin's lead to 17-10. Shaw returned the second-half kickoff 79 yards to Griffin's 11 where Schrader ran the first play into the end zone, but Kaneland was whistled for a clipping call and eventually had to settle for the field goal.

Kaneland's defense, finally revved and ready to pounce on anything in its path, forced another Griffin punt. Kaneland set up at Griffin's 41 and scored seven plays later when Schrader (18 carries, 83 yards) took a quick-hitter up the gut from seven yards out. Hill shanked the PAT, but Kaneland seized momentum, trailing 17-16 with 4:07 left in the third quarter.

The Cyclones, however, needed just three plays to go 64 yards on the ensuing possession, as Brad Selinger hit Matt Brewer on a 9-yard slant pattern. The PAT moved the score to 24-16.

Kaneland was still in reach with a touchdown and 2-point conversion with 15 minutes left in the game. On its final two possessions, Kaneland reached the Griffin 21, but two sacks resulted in a punt, and also moved to the Cyclones' 18 where Issel threw an interception.

Griffin milked the last 5:21 off the clock and benefited when Kaneland roughed the Cyclones' punter with 3:18 left to play. Griffin made three first downs and Kaneland had used its final two timeouts. The game ended when Selinger dropped to a knee on Kaneland's 9 yard line.

"Woulda, coulda and shoulda is not what this football team is about," Thorgesen said. "We really believed that we could win this game. We just ran out of time. Two great football teams played today. No regrets."

Round 1 Good Start:
Kaneland 35 Morton 27

Next up: Round two at Springfield (Sacred Heart-Griffin) (10-0)

Morton came to Kaneland with 30.1 scoring average and Kaneland entered the game with 30.8 scoring average. Morton fell just short with 27 points while Kaneland was slightly over with 35 points to win the game and advance to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs (Click here for Class 4A bracket), in this wild and wooly football game that was exciting at every turn.

This was a game of contrasting styles. The Potters would strike quickly with to long touchdown runs, of 77-yards, 34-yards, 81-yards, and 49-yards. While Kaneland would make long slow drives. As a result the Knights ran 61 offensive plays vs. Morton's 44. But Morton had more total yards 320 to 260.

The game started with an 11-play Kaneland drive that didn't score. Morton then surprised the Knights on their third play of the game with a sweep by Jeff Loree for a 77-yard touchdown. Justin Wolbers blocked the extra point attempt to keep the score at 6-0.

Then on the fifth play of the second quarter Morton Struck again, right up the middle of the Kaneland defense for a 34-yard TD. This time they went for 2-points on the conversion and made it.

14-0 Morton.

But the Knights in a workman like manner marched 56-yards downfield to score themselves, using 15 plays and 6 and a half minutes. Dave Issel hit Wolbers in the end zone on a slant from 5-yards out to cap the drive. Nate Hill kicked the point and the Knights were back in it, down 14-7.

Next time the Potters got the ball they almost scored again on a 41-yard draw, but it was called back with a holding penalty. Then with 1:47 to play in the half, on 4th and 2 from mid-field, Morton went for the first down. The Knights stopped them for no gain and went on the attack to try and tie the game.

Then with only 17.7 seconds left in the half, Issel hit Robbie Biertz in the counter of the endzone and just like that the game was tied 14-14 going into the second half.

On the first play from scrimmage to start the second half Morton's Troy Graves burst through the middle of the Kaneland defense and in a straight line went 81-yards for Morton's third touchdown. The kick was good and with just 20 seconds off the clock Morton led 21-14.

But 2-minutes later the Knights came right back to tie it when Ryan Schrader swung outside for a 10-yard run.

But this exciting game was long from over as the Potters scored again the next time they had the ball. It took just 5 plays for Loree to break loose again. This time on a counter for 49-yards. However, the extra point was missed and Kaneland trailed by just 6, 27-21.

Boom - right away the Knights came right back. Well not right away - it took them 15-plays to move methodically down field. But they did finally score on a 3-yard Schrader run. Nate Hill became the man-of-hour as he hit yet another extra point and with just a minute to play in the third quarter the Knights led for the first time in the game 28-27.

In the fourth quarter Morton got 5 chances to score, three of them of interceptions. But defensive coach Rich Kearny played all 11 Kaneland defenders in "the box", challenging Morton the throw the ball. (Something the Potters didn't well with only one completed pass all night). As a result the Knights shut-down the Morton offense allowing them only 1 first down in five tries.

"Playoff football is all about who makes the plays when the game's on the line," said coach Joe Thorgesen. "The defense made huge plays toward the end. They just did their assignments."

Then with just a minute and a half left in the game the Knights put the game on ice with their fifth touchdown. Matt Schiff intercepted a deflected Potter pass and scampered 80-yards for the score. Hill became 5-for-5 on kicks as the Knights went up 35-27, and finally the game belonged to Kaneland.

Matt Schiff led the Knights in tackles with 10 while 4 players had 7 each - Ryan Schrader, Joe Heyob, Adam Schultz, and Wayne Shaw.

Schrader run the ball a whopping 26 times with Ben Rogers out with a bum ankle. He gained 117-yards on the ground, plus 20 in the air. Issel ran 14 times for and impressive 75 yards. He was also 9-for-21 passing with 3 interceptions. Bieritz led all receiver in catches with 4 but Wolbers 2 catches netted him a whopping 58 yards.

Next up: Round two at Springfield (Sacred Heart-Griffin) (10-0), 2:00 Saturday. Click here for Class 4A bracket

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Game time Friday 7:30 at Kaneland
Morton is 6-3 and never played Kaneland before
Morton is from the Mid-Illini conference
Morton enrollment is 1,020 vs. Kaneland 749
Morton averaged 30.1 points a game vs Kaneland 30.7
Morton gave up an avg. 22.0 points a game vs Kaneland 5.6
Morton has made the playoffs 8 times vs Kaneland's 6
Morton Playoff record is 3-7 vs Kaneland's 12-3!

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Regular Season

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"The Game"
Game 9: Kaneland vs. Riverside Brookfield

This was billed as the game of the year and IT WAS the game of the year. It was a beautiful warm fall night with not a seat to be found. Fans ringed the field in able to see this one. And both teams didn't disappoint as they showed off their fire power as well as their impressive and quick-to-react defenses.

The Riverside-Brookfield air show put the ball up 47 times in their effort to win while Kaneland went up top 27 times. As a result this became the longest game of the year.

The difference was the Bulldogs completed 20 of their tosses and the Knights where only able to pull down 8. And there you have the heart of this story as the Knights lost for the first time this year, by a strange score of 18-13.

R-B finished the season undefeated and conference champs. Kaneland finished the regular season 8-1 for second place in the SPC white conference.

It was easy to see the importance of this game as both teams came out tight. In their first two series each team ended up turning the ball over on interceptions and only managing two first downs to start out the game. But 2/3's of the way through the first quarter the Knights fumbled the ball on their own 26.5 yard line and that opened the door for R-B to draw first blood.

Two passing plays and R-B was knocking at the Knights door just 2 yards away from pay dirt. A pair of 1-yard runs by the Bulldog's only part time running back Brad Herbst and scoreless part of the game was over. The extra point kick went wide and is was 6-zip, Bulldogs.

That was the way the first quarter ended with both teams having 4 attempts at the ball and just one score.

Just three plays into the second quarter R-B struck again, scoring in 7 plays from 63 yards out. The 2-point conversion failed and it was 12-zip.

But when R-B got the ball again it was their turn to fumble a punt snap and Knights finally had the ball in good field position - R-B's 33.

The Knights weren't going to lose this opportunity as a healthy Ryan Schrader brock a half a dozen tackles running right into the strength of the Bulldog defense for 14 up-the-middle-hard-yards and Kaneland's first TD of the night. Nate Hill did his thing as the Knights reeled the game back in 12-7.

But the joy of moment was short lived as the Bulldogs took the kick off and marched 69-yards down field on pass after pass to score again with just 2:47 to play in the half. As good as R-B was passing their 2-point conversions ended up on the ground. As a result the Knights only needed two scores to win going into the locker room at halftime facing the downhill side of a 18-7 score.

Considering Kaneland's defense had given up only 32 points all season R-B's 18 in just the first half was over that total. Also the offense was held to just one TD in the half - the lowest total all year.

"We had a good game plan," said Kaneland head coach Joe Thorgesen. We just had a lot of breakdowns in crucial areas."

In the third quarter both teams beat on each other like two heavy weight fights, neither giving a inch. But going into the fourth quarter the clock was beginning to become the friend of the team in blue and white.

With just 7-minutes to play the Knights punted to R-B's 41 yard line. A holding penalty, a sack, a motion penalty, put the Bulldogs back on their own 11-yard line with a third and 35! Just one play away from giving Kaneland great field position. But QB Tim Brasic throw a 53-yard bomb to Tom Guardi and BOOM - the Bulldogs were out of a hole and had the ball in Kaneland country.

However, 4-plays later a cocky R-B team took a chance to put the game on ice with a 4th and 14 play at Kaneland's 35-yard line. They failed. The pass was incomplete and with 3 1/2 minutes to play the Knights had the ball and were still alive.

A couple of plays later and Dave Issel then hit Shawn Fuller with a 42-yard bomb at the R-B 5-yard line with 2:30 left in the game.

Two plays later Issel ran in for Kaneland's second score and with 2-minutes to play the Knights where only down 18-13, as the 2-point conversion failed.

Kaneland then tried an on-sides kick but R-B fell on the ball and that unfortunately that was that, as the Knights had only 1 time out left.

Passing as expected was the difference. R-B gained 222 yards in the air while Kaneland just 88. Both teams gained 64 yards on the ground, with R-B's QB Brasic getting half of them.

The Knights ground game fluttered, as Schrader gained 40-yards on 10 tries, Issell 21-yards on 10 tries and Rogers a season low of just 2-yards.

More Facts:

The lost was the first home loss for the Knights in nearly 5 years, when they lost to Yorkville in 1996.

R-B QB Tim Brasic finished the season with 2,442 yards passing the second best in the Chicagoland area.

Going into the game the Knights had allowed the fewest points in the Chicagoland area.

Kaneland has never beaten Riverside-Brookfield in football - but then this was the first time they played each other.

It was R-B's first undefeated season.

64-yards was the lowest rushing total of any Kaneland game since this web site was created 6 years ago.

This game was so big it was on the front cover of the sports section of the Chicago Sun Times.

"They were outstanding," said Thorgesen.

So now the regular season is over for the Knights and they move into phase II (the playoffs). Maybe the real fun is just about to begin.

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Game of the Year

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Unless you have been in livin' in a cave you have to know this Friday night is going to be something special. It is the game of two powers, as the Kaneland Knights and the Riverside-Brookfield Bulldogs will do football battle.

The winner finishes the season undefeated, gets a good seed for the playoffs, wins the conference title and gets a huge momentum push going into the playoffs. Moreover this will be the first time these two teams have ever meet to play football.

This is "The Game of the Year".

Both teams have sailed through the season. Kaneland has scored 263 points and R-B has scored 267. No other team in conference is even close to 200 total points. The Knights have allowed 32 points. R-B 67. The next best team in the conference is double that.

These are two powerhouses that will going toe to toe at Peterson Field. And you better get there early if you want to get a seat. Any seat.

It is interesting to note that these two teams have had five common opponents, with a lot of the scores pretty much the same. Kaneland beat Yorkville 38-0 and RB beat them 42-13. Elmwood park lost to Kaneland 48-7 then to RB 49-7. Kaneland beat Evergreen Park 41-6 at home and then RB beat them 21-7.

However, twice the scores weren't that similar and in both cases RB had the bigger edge.

Kaneland 14 - Ridgewood 13
R-B 20 - Ridgewood 0

Kaneland 12 - Herscher 0
R-B 42 - Herscher 12

The Bulldogs will bring a very unique team to the cornfields of Kaneland. They run an empty backfield offense with only the quarterback in the backfield. Having 5 receivers the Bulldogs will pass 4 out of 5 times with #16 Tim Brasic a junior quarterback the only one who runs with the ball. But Brasic's pin point passing to no special receiver is what makes this team go.

But R-B is different in other ways too. They even wear different colored helmets. We'll let you try to figure out why. They have the most unique kickoff formation ever seen, as they have two gunners near each sideline while the other 9 players stand in a circle in the middle of the field. Even the kick is different.

But the easiest thing to predict about this team is it's unpredictably. Like Byron, R-B is full of trick plays. So be ready for anything as we are sure coach Otto Zeman will have a sleeve full of tricks for Kaneland. As will Kaneland.

This will be a fun one. A wide open game with plenty of unexpected plays. This is one game you won't want to visit the concession stand, in fear of missing something.

This one is for all the Marbles.

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Current IHSA rankings by the Associated Press

1. Joliet Catholic
2. Metamora
3. Pontiac
4. Geneseo
5. Sacred Heart-Griffin
6. Riverside-Brookfield
7. Chatham Glenwood
8. Jerseyville
9. Kaneland
10. Dixon

All teams are 8-0 except Chatham Glenwood and Dixon at 7-1.

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Game 8: Kaneland 41 Westmont 0

The only real question in this one was what the final score would be and would the Kaneland defense pitch another shutout. They did and now the stage is set for "The Game of the Year".

It was a beautiful fall day for football. It is just unfortunate that Westmont which is the smallest school in conference has had such a hard time winning football games. Only two in the last three years. But still the Knights had a job to do and without fanfare just went out and got the job done.

For the Knights it was their second shutout in a row and their third in their last three games. Moreover, Westmont couldn't even complete a pass against the tough Kaneland defense. Fourteen attempts and no receptions.

Westmont was really not a whole lot better running the ball for just 44 yards on 19 carries. Throw in a pair of Kaneland interceptions and the Sentinels had little to cheer about.

Kaneland meanwhile gained 455 yards, with David Issell connecting on 12 of 18 passes for 200 yards. Robbie Bieritz caught 8 of those for 150 yards. Ben Rogers added 87 yards on the gournd in 12 carries.

Bieritz scored two touchdowns. One on a 34 yard pass play play and another on a 9 yard pass. Issell ran for two TD's also, from 4 and 44 yards away. Rogers ran for a 2-yard TD and Brent Harner scored from 20 yards out. Nate Hill kicked all the extra points except for one miss.

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Robbie Bieritz was named Defensive player of the week by the Daily Herarld

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Game 7: Kaneland 12 Herscher 0

It was an awful cool Homecoming, with temperatures in the 30's. But the Knights defense kept the home fans warm as they shut down the Herscher offense to keep the Knights at a perfect 7-0 for the year, beating the visiting Tigers 12-0.

It was an interesting game as the outcome was in question until midway through the final quarter. And the outcome could have been entirely different if three plays had worked out the other way.

The first deciding play happen in the with 2 minutes to play in the first quarter when Tiger running back Pat West broke free on a draw play at the Kaneland 45 and dashed for a touchdown. However, Dan Aspengren didn't give up pursuit and caught West from behind at the 5 yard line to save a touchdown.

"I just turned my head," said Kaneland head coach Joe Thorgesen about West's break away. "I figured it was a touchdown, but then they told me he was tackled".

Two plays later Rob Bieritz deflected a Tiger pass in the end zone just before the Tiger receiver could get to it for the second big play of quarter and save a touchdown.

Then on the next play Tiger quarterback Josh Wakey missed a wide open Ben Stephens in the end zone on fourth down that would have given his team an early lead. However, because of these three plays the game remained scoreless after one quarter and deflated the high flying Tigers.

The next time the tigers got the ball they couldn't move up field at all and had to punt from their 29. Wayne Shaw fielded the punt on his own 40 and headed right, but Ben Rogers going left got the ball from Shaw and headed left. The surprised Tigers where caught off guard and Rogers had only one guy to beat. Smack! A smashing Shawn Fuller block broke Rogers free and he scampered up the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown.

Nate Hill's extra point kick missed the uprights, but that was OK as the Knights were ahead 6-0.

Next time the Knights got the ball they marched 72-yards down field to score again with just a minute-14 left on the clock before halftime. Dave Issel hit Shaw in the end zone from 23 yards out for the score for the offense's lone score of the night. The two point conversion failed as Issel's pass over the middle feel to the ground.

Up 12-0 at half time the Knight headed to locker room. But the real fun was on the field with great shows put on by the Kaneland band, the pon poms capped by a 10-minute fireworks display.

But that fireworks marked the end of the fireworks on the field as the rest of the game was played between the 20's.

With many of the Knights sick with the flu and big play maker Justin Wolbers in the hospital while playing a very tough and stubborn Herscher team the Knights were in fact lucky to come away with a victory.

"Herscher is a very well coached football team and we were really running on empty," added Thorgesen. "We got hit by the flu bug, a couple of kids out and with Herscher pressing us and we started wearing down. I was really concerned in the second half with some of our kids out there. We have to give Herscher a lot of credit. But our kids found a way and any time you play great defense, you have a chance to win."

Moreover, catch this sport fans:

The stats on this one are a bit unnerving for Kaneland fans as the Tigers out gained the Knights 277 total yards to 244. Moreover, Kaneland's passing game was raising the white flag as only 4 out of 18 passes were caught by Kaneland players and 2 were caught by Tiger players.

Wayne Shaw who was celebrating his 18th birthday with a touchdown and a win said, "This is a real big win for us. This gives us a big boost going into Westmont. Then we can go for Riverside. It feels good to win on my birthday."

On more thing to note. QB Dave Issel had more yards running than the rest of the Kaneland runners combined. With Riverside-Brookfield game only two weeks away the Knights better start polishing their offense a little. Because these kinds of offensive stats against RB (who's coaches have been in the stands for the last two games), will keep the Knights from their goal of going undefeated for the season and becoming conference champs!

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News Flash

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Looks like Kaneland will be back to playing Morris, as Morris coach Charlie Horsefeather is saying, " It looks pretty official for 2001, Morris will be playing in the SPC White".

Here's what we're hearing - RB moves to the Red division and the White will look like:

Elmwood Park
Evergreen Park

If they decide that the White will be just to 8 schools, Sycamore and Lemont will jump to the SPC Red.

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Mid-Season Commentary

It is clear to the regular Kaneland football fan that this year's team is the real deal and that with every game they play they get better and better.

The Kaneland coaching staff made a couple of adjustments at the mid-season mark to really make this a complete team, that should be able to go deep into the playoffs despite the fact they will move up to 4A.

The first change was letting middle linebacker Matt Shiff focus on defense and move the running back duties he started the season with to Robert McGinnis. As a result Shiff is more active on the defensive side of the ball as he stays fresh.

McGinnis did the opposite as he moved from his outside linebacker role to running back. This has been a tremendous success and Robert has gained 115 yards in first start and backed that up with even a stronger performance against Elmwood Park the following week with 156 yards. McGinnis is also taking a lot of the ball carrying load off Ben Rogers who is yet another two way player. This frees up Rogers for more swing passes and pitches where he can use his quickness.

Taking MeGinnis's spot at outside LB is Brett Harner who not only plays a solid defense, but is a big play man and tenacious pass rusher on the blitz.

With McGinnis, Shiff and Justin Wolbers the Knights linebacking which as the heart of any defense makes the team a solid there it counts. Although they may not be the Three-Amigos of a couple of years ago the do deserve their own identity.

Got any ideas on what they ought to be called?

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Game 6: Kaneland 48 Elmwood Park 7

It was a beautiful fall night for football. It was the best sports facility in the conference. And the Knights played near perfect. The Result: A fun night for Kaneland fans except the long drive home as the number 10 ranked knights breezed to a 48-7 victory of host Elmwood Park.

The Knights never punted in this one as they scored on every possession but two, when they stopped themselves with fumbles. The Tigers couldn't even slow down the Knights running game as Kaneland gained large chunks of ground on nearly every play.

Also of note is that Kaneland fans don't have to be concerned about the defense allowing a touchdown. It happen with just 2-minutes left in a game that was already decided and the Knights first string defense resting on the sidelines.

Kaneland's first possession lead to a quick touchdown largely do to Robert McGinnis who ran for 42-yards (in 5 tries) in a 10-play 69-yard drive. McGinnis capped the drive scoring from 5 yards out.

Next time the Knights got the ball they scored again. This time Dave Issel did a QB keeper from 3.5 yards out to cap a 91-yard 11-play drive and it was 14-0 after the first quarter.

The Knights scored twice more in the second quarter. Matt Nelson caught a 9-yard pass over the middle for his first career touchdown. And then just before half-time Ben Rogers who is nursing an injured wheel scampered in from 10-yards out.

28-0 at half time and the Tigers had only 29 total yards to show for their effort and just one first down.

In the second half the Knights took the opening Kick and McGinnis went to work for his own 35. He had runs of: 24, 16, and 14. Then Issel finished off the 4-play drive with his own 10 yard run for his second TD.

McGinnis also scored his second TD next time the Knights got the ball running in from 8 yards out. So with 5:25 left in the third quarter the game was over as the running clock kicked in - 41-0.

"We just came out here ready to play", summed up QB Dave Issel.

Ben Flanders lead the Knights second team to one more TD on a 50-yard drive late in the game to add one more score. Matt Schiff finished the scoring drive for the Knights with a 21-yard end-around.

Nate Hill was was 6-for-7 kicking extra points.

Wow, Kaneland had 413 yards rushing! And 558 total yards! Compare that with the Tiger's 80 yards on the ground (or 1/5th of the Knights) and 121 total yards. Moreover, the Knights had a whopping 18 first downs (that was with a running clock for the last quarter and a half), to EP's 4. Half of EP's first downs came when Kaneland's first string defense was off the field.. Kaneland also lead in turnovers 3 (fumbles) to 2 for the Tigers.

"They're good no doubt about it," said EP coach Pete Binder. "They're fast, they put pressure on you. I told my kids they're stronger and faster than us and because of that they won".

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Robert McGinnis was named Offensive player of the week by the Kane County Chronicle

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Game 5: Kaneland 38 Yorkville 0

Well, if there was ever any doubt that this Kaneland football team is for real, there was no question after this one, as the Knights totally dominated rival Yorkville 38-0. And it really wasn't that close.

It was a wet night as thunderstorms surrounded Peterson field all day and night. In fact the Sophomore game was cancelled because of lighting and will be played Monday night instead. But outside of some slipping and sliding the wetness didn't deter the Knights.

The Defense was more than impressive as the Knights held the Foxes to just 8 plays over 4 yards. Yorkville ran a total of 53 plays from scrimmage and 41 of those gained less than 3 yards. Moreover the Foxes had only 5 first downs.

Meanwhile the Knights offense was moving up and down the field at will. After the first two possessions the Knights scored each time they had the ball, except twice, while the first team offense on the field. And punted only twice in the game.

Kaneland scores came from a Matt Shiff 6-yard run, a Shawn Fuller 35-yard catch and run (with a bone crushing block by Wayne Shaw), a 7-yard pitch to Ben Rogers and a field goal and 3 extra points by Nate Hill. And that was just the first half.

In the second half Brent Harner scored his second touchdown in as many weeks from 4-yards out and Tim Morris made a nifty 55 yard break-away run for Kanelands final score.

The Foxes came into the game fresh from a 36-7 win over Westmont last week. Quarterback Christopher Duncan threw a pair of touchdowns as he moved the Foxes into a position to challenge for the conference Championship.

Yorkville was 2-0 in the conference and 3-1 overall, with their only lose to undefeated Spring Valley Hall. However, against the Knights Duncan was only 1-of-15 passing and whole team could manage only 86 total yards. Kaneland meanwhile had 441 total yards - three quarters of that coming on the ground.

Robert McGinnis carried the ball 13 times for 115 yards and seniors Dave Issel and Ben Rogers had another 100 yards on the ground between them.

But not only is Kaneland wining going away but coach Joe Thorgesen is working underclassman into the lineup allowing them to get precious playing time. At times he had an all underclassmen full house running back backfield. Juniors Matt Shiff had 5 carries for 16 yards and Tim Morris 58 yards in 5 tries. Sophomore Brent Harner added another 30 yards in 6 attempts.

So while Yorkville fans go home looking forward to next year when they can get even with the Knights. The Knights might be even more ready next time around.

But for this season the Knights are now 5-0 as they move into the second half of the season with a full head of steam.

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Game 4: Kaneland 14 Ridgewood 13

It happened again. For the fourth time in their last five meetings the Rebels from Ridgewood and Knights from Kaneland played 48 minutes of football and it all came down to the last play. But also following history the Knights squeaked out another win, nipping the Rebels by one 14-13.

Coach Joe Thorgesen always has a bad feeling when he visits Ridgewood. "We always seem to have a hard time on their field," he said.

With the Knights averaging almost 37 points per game the Rebels gave Kaneland their toughest contest to date as the Knights scored just twice in this one.

But was it that the Knights didn't play well or was Ridgewood that tough? "Whether we played good or not, we got the win," said Thorgesen. "We're just happy to have survived."

Quarterback Dave Issel who came into the game throwing for 441 yards and 6-TD's, was 8-of-16 passing for the Knights for 180 yards. Two of those passes accounted for Kaneland's only scores.

Kaneland's first TD came mid-way through the second quarter when Issel hit Ben Rogers on a little swing pass. Rogers broke two tackles near mid-field then out ran all other defenders 66-yards to the endzone for the first score of the game.

Kaneland's second TD came in the late in the third quarter on a 5-yard strike to sophomore Brent Harner.

We just released Harner into the flat, and he out ran their linebacker, said Thorgesen.

Thank goodness for Nate Hill as he hit both extra points which proved the margin of victory.

Interesting point in the game happened early in the third period when Ridgewood scored their second touchdown. It was the first time the season the Knights had trailed in the second half of a game and the first time a Kaneland opponent has scored two touchdowns.

Moreover, the Rebels 13-points where more points scored against the Knights in all there previous games -12.

This the second game in a row the Knights did not have the services of hard running tailback and safety Ryan Schrader. As the knights move through what appears to be the weakest part of schedule, Schrader will continue to heal and expects to return near season's end and be near full strength for the playoffs.

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Adam Schultz was named Defensive player of the week by the Kane County Chronicle

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Game 3: Kaneland 41 Evergreen Park 6

We got a train comin' here and leaves every Friday from the Kaneland High School boys locker room. This year's team is for real and everyone in it's path better get out of the way or the this train will run you over.

A 41-6 shellacking of the always tough EP Mustangs has officially stamped this team as another Kaneland powerhouse. But before you start checking your calendar for when the State Championship game is, there are still more test to come with ranked Ridgewood next week and Yorkville to follow.

But in game 3 - EP came to Kaneland Country ready play, as all Coach Brett Nelson teams do. They even took the lead on the powerful running of fullback Mark Sizemore who lit up the scoreboard with a 61 yard touchdown run 8-minutes and 45-seconds into the game.

But Kaneland on their next possession marched 63 yards down field to score on the second play of the second quarter when Dave Issel threw a rainbow pass to Justin Wolbers 24-yards out. Touchdown! Nate Hill's kick game Kaneland a 7-6 lead and they never looked back

Next time the Knights had the ball they drove 82 yards to score a second time. Again it was an Issel rainbow, but this time it was to Robbie Bieritz. Hill's kick and boom - Kaneland was up 14-6 at halftime.

To start the second half coach Joe Thorgesen wanted to put some distance between the two teams and called for Issel the throw his third rainbow pass on the first play. Bieritz broke loose of his defender and caught up with Issel's toss to score a back-breaking 69-yard touchdown. It was 21-6 just 19 seconds into the second half.

That's when EP fell apart. On their next series, they went -2, -1 and then a Joe Heyob Interception. The I-N-T was caused because of quarterback pressure applied by Brent Harner and Rudy Milo.

Kaneland then scored at will. Issel sneaked in from a yard out for score number 4. Matt Schiff made a nifty run after grabbing a screen pass 34 yards from pay dirt for score number 5. And Ben Rogers wrapped up the evening scoring on a 5-yard pitch for score number 6. Hill was 5-for-6 in extra point kicks.

EP who was totally unable to pass was 2-of-11 for just 8 yards in the air. Kaneland on the other hand had 260 yards with Issel going 12-of-19. EP did out run the Knights as Sizemore racked up 126 of the Mustangs 205 yards. The Knights gained 106 yards lead by Issel with 50 in 11 attempts.

Next Friday the train pulls out for Ridgewood. Tickets are only $3, which is a heck of a deal for a ride like this.

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Game 2: Kaneland 28 Sycamore 0

Wow, if this was to be the game that told us how good this years team is, then the results told us volumes. A 28-0 shellacking of a team that beat Dekalb 27-0 last week reeks of another super season ahead for the Kaneland Knights.

Look out SPC White - here comes the Knights again!

This was a very one sided affair as the Spartans couldn't get any closer than 39 yards from the Knights end zone. But Rich Kearney's defense was even more impressive as we look at other stats.

The Spartans had only first down first down in first half. It was on their possession which gained 13 yards. After that the Knights held Sycamore to just 1 yard the rest of the half!

As a matter of fact the Spartans last 19 plays of the half had only two that netted positive yardage. Moreover, Sycamore was 0-for-10 passing in the half. The home team averaged less than .67 yards per attempt.

In the third quarter the Spartans did a little better gaining 43 yards all on the ground. But netted just 12 yards in final quarter.

"Our defense put the challenge to them", said Knights coach Joe Thorgesen. "The question marks we had going into this season was how well we would play against a physical team. We showed that tonight".

And this was against a team that despite a air attach that will be grounded most of the season is really quite a good team.

"Give credit where credit is due," said Sycamore coach Daryl Graves. "We couldn't get anything going on offense and in turn that hurt our defense. Kaneland's a good football team. They're solid, fast and played hard-nosed football".

Offensively the Knights looked almost as good as the defense if it wasn't for 4 fumbles which kept the Knights from getting their goal of 40 points. Running backs Ben Rogers, Ryan Schrader and Matt Schiff tore up the turf. The trio also go some added ground mileage from QB Dave Issel.

Kaneland's passing game however, was not a whole lot better than the team in black as Issel was just 2-of-8 in the first half. He was 1-for-2 in the second half as the Knights didn't need to go up top with their awesome ground game.

The Knights scored one touchdown in the first quarter, two in second, one more in third and coasted in the fourth.

Matt shiff scored the first TD from 7 yards out, Issel got the next one 12 from yards away. Issel then hit Robbie Bieritz in the end zone just before half time for a 14-yard TD and Ryan Schrader topped of a 7-play 82 yard third quarter scoring drive from 16-yards out. Nate Hill was a perfect 4-for-4 on the extra point kicks.

Schrader had 108 rushing yards in 14 attempts. Rogers had 62 yards on 7 carries. Schiff gained 40 yards out of 5 tries and Issel added 49 more yards on 10 trips.

Also joining in on ground game was Wayne shaw with 19 yards on a pair of counters, Tim Morris 12 yards and Robert McGinnis 30 yards. For the game the Knights had 320 yards rushing compared to Sycamore's 41. The Knights had 401 total yards, 6 and 1/2 times more than their opponent.

Kaneland had 20 first downs to just 4 for the home team. However the knights lost the ball three times on their four fumbles The ONLY stat to tarnish the shining Knights.

So, now the Knights have raised the bar for the season and the fun begins to see if they will keep it up there. The impressive defensive line, strong secondary with a solid linebacking crew "will only get better", as coach Kearney says. But most surprising might be the dept of the defense, like Brent Harner coming off the bench to get back-to-back sacks while playing with one hand. Stay tuned.

Next victim? Tough Evergreen Park at home

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Game 1: Kaneland 41 Marengo 6

A year ago the Knights played their first game of the season against Marengo and won 40-0. This year the Knights repeated that feat beating the Indians 41-0 until the last play of the game when the team in maroon and white finally broke the plane of the end zone with a 21 yard pass as time ran out to break 8 quarters of scoreless football against the team in black and silver.

The Knights looked awesome again as they keep the Indians from crossing mid-field expect in two occurrences. The first came in the second quarter when they got to the Knights 15 yard line before the drive died on a 4th down incomplete pass. The second time was the final drive of the game after the Knights had fumbled.

The Knights not only looked sharp to start the season, but Marengo keep shooting themselves in the foot with penalty after penalty. In all the Indians had over a 100 yards in penalties while the Knights had just one penalty for 5 yards.

The game started like a prize fight as both teams went through a feeling out process with the first quarter ending scoreless. But on the first play of the second half Wayne Shaw caught a 4th down Dave Issel pass and scampered into the end zone to break the ice. The extra point attempt was fumbled resulting in a 6-0 Kaneland lead.

Next possession Ben Rogers ran the ball three times in a row. First for 1 yard, then 18 yards and then 1 yard for the Knights second TD. This time the two-point conversion failed. 12-zip - Knights.

Next series the Knights took just one play as Issel hit a wide open Justin Wolbers with a rainbow the went 62 yards for TD # 3. This the two-point conversion worked as Ryan Schrader took a pitch outside and went in untouched. 20-zip.

The next time the Knights got the ball they quickly scored again as Issel ran an end-around to break loose and then faked out the last two defenders with some nifty moves to score from 71 yards out. Nate Hill kicked the extra point and the Knights lead 27-0 at half time.

The offence line which was reconstructed this season with three new starters looked solid anchored by returning seniors Matt Nelson at center and Rudy Milo at guard. Nelson and Milo are surrounded by sophomore Russell Flanders and senior Justin Oas at tackles. Senior Corey Carver completes the line at the other guard position.

(Interesting note is that there are no juniors on the offensive line. In fact the Knights offense is made up of all seniors with just two exceptions. Flanders is a sophomore in the line and Matt Schiff is the lone offensive starting junior. Moreover Schiff shares a lot of playing time with senior Ryan Schrader.)

The second half the Knights locomotive slowed down a little. After scoring on four straight drives the offense was stopped the first time they got the ball. But on the next two possessions they found pay dirt again.

The next score came when Rogers broke outside and thanks to a great block by Wolbers found his way for his second score. This time 34 yards out.

Kaneland's final score can when Schrader ran the ball three times in a row. The first for 9 yards, the second for 36 yards and the third for 10 yards. Both scores in the second half had Hill splitting the uprights for the extra points.

And that was that! With 2:27 left on the clock the Knights lead 41-0 and the "running clock" started.

Outside of a fourth quarter fumble by the second team, a lone penalty, and a last second pass catch by a terrific receiver from Marengo named Ryan Habbley the Knights played flawless football.

So now bring on Sycamore and lets find out how good this team really is.

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For other games of interest see Weekly scores.

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