Kaneland battles their neighbors from the south

Ever try to grab a greased watermelon floating in a lake? That must have been what the ball felt like to the Kaneland Knights Friday night as they dropped the ball nine times enabling the Yorkville Foxes to drop them 14-7.

The lose left the Knights at 3-2. After Playing a very intense Morris the week before, the Knights lacked that same intensity in the first half. Even coach Joe Thorgeson said " That's the story of the game. (In) a Yorkville- Kaneland game, we needed a lot more intensity than we showed in the first half.

The game itself started innocent enough, as Kaneland moved to ball to the Fox's 44 yard line, where they failed to make a 4th and inches. After 3 downs and punt for the Foxes, Kaneland came back to move the down marker 3 times before Eric Delaney had a pass picked off 18 yards short of pay dirt. Yorkville's no huddle offense could only muster one first down before punting again. This time Kaneland was unable to move the ball and kicked for the first time leaving the first quarter scoreless.

The second quarter was a Knightmare for the home team, as Yorkville QB Joe McElroy took charge passing for 19 yards, followed by runs of 12 and 13. Yorkville marched 64 yards down the field eventually crossing the goal line from 2 yards out. With the kick good Kaneland faced a 7-0 deficit.

Then on the first play from scrimmage the Knights fumbled on their own 20. However, on a Yorkville 4th and 16 play, Paul Aspengren intercepted a pass to get the ball back. It took only 3 plays and a punt, and Yorkville started again, this time from their own 25. In 3 plays they had moved to the Kaneland 40. From there McElroy connected with Frank Sterioti for their second TD, with 6:18 left in the half. With the kick good, Kaneland had spotted their opponent a 14-0 lead for the second week in a row.

On the next series of downs the Knights fumbled three times. They were able to recover the first two, but the Foxes landed on the third one ending a long 53 yard drive just 11 yards short of end zone. After an exchange of punts, the half ended 14-0.

In the second half the Knights defense stopped the Foxes cold, allowing the team from Yorkville just two first downs in the entire half. However, Kaneland's normally high octane offense sputtered like a '58 Chevy, missing three spark plugs. On their first play from scrimmage they fumbled for a -3 yards. Unable to move the ball, both teams exchanged punts. Trying to run the ball on the first play of their second possession, Kaneland fumbled again, losing it at mid-field.

Thanks to a stubborn Kaneland defense the Knights kept getting the ball back. Finally in the opening moments of the fourth quarter the Knights moved the ball to the 1 yard line where they had third and goal. First Delaney tried to punch it in, then Ryan West gave it a go, but neither could cross the thick white line. A hush fell over the Kaneland side of the field, like someone had let the air out of the stadium.

But the Knights didn't quit, as they stopped the Foxes on three downs and got the ball back again, this time on their own 30. Luke Peterson caught a 25 yard pass to 5 yard line. And the excitement begun to build again. But, on the next play - puff - Yorkville pounced on yet another Kaneland fumble.

Again the Knights held and again they got the ball back on the 30. This time Junior Aaron Siebens entered the game at QB, and on a critical 3rd and 4, throw a 23 yard pass to P.J. Fleck at the one yard line. Then Dan Kenny finally got Kaneland into the end zone with 4:20 left in the game. Matt Gladd kicked the extra point to cut the lead to 14-7.

Then Kaneland's stingy defense did what it had to and forced the Foxes to punt getting the ball back on their own 44 yard line with 3:09 left. After two incomplete passes and a short run, the Knights faced a 4th and 9. Ryan West caught a swing pass in the flat, but could only fight his way for seven yards, as the Knights turned the ball back over to the Foxes.

With the clock running down the Knights held the Foxes yet again and got the ball back with 4 seconds on the clock. Time for one last play. Guess what it was? A fumble!

Reprinted with permission of the Elburn Herald

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