Prep football insider: Kaneland defense standing tall

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 5:32 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Kaneland's Jake Gomes (68) sacks IC Catholic Prep quarterback Jack Copher during their game Friday night in Maple Park.

NOTEWORTHY: Kaneland’s offense has long been among the best in the area, but the Knights’ program has risen to another level in recent seasons as the defense has caught up.

The Knights, winners of 30 straight regular season games, appear to have the caliber of defense that will keep the great times rolling in Maple Park.

The Knights allowed only seven points to Brooks in their season opener before yielding only two touchdowns on Friday against IC Catholic Prep, the second of which coming in the fourth quarter, when Kaneland’s defense was loaded with reserves.

Making the IC Catholic Prep performance all the more impressive, Kaneland played without standout middle linebacker Gary Koehring, who is hobbled with a minor injury.

“You can’t replace Gary but (Sam) Bower is a starter and he played that as a sophomore, so he knows that position,” Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. “And then we had (Tyler) Slamans come in, and he’s played that spot before.

“So we’re just really lucky having that depth of having guys with experience come in and be able to take that spot. But hopefully we have Gary [for Sterling this week].”

In addition to holding IC Catholic to negative rushing yardage in the first half Friday, Kaneland’s defense generated points of its own, as linebacker Cole Carlson returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown.

Schedule not Friday-friendly for Aurora Christian

Aurora Christian won’t play its first Friday night game until Week 4, much to the Eagles’ chagrin.

Aurora Christian was supposed to play two Friday night games already but after lightning postponed the Eagles’ season opener against DuSable all the way to the following Tuesday, the IHSA stepped in and asked Aurora Christian to move its Week 2 game against Chicago Urban Prep from Friday to Saturday to allow for more recuperation time. The Eagles (2-0) cruised, 55-0.

“No kids like to play Saturday afternoons,” Eagles coach Don Beebe said. “It’s Friday night football for America now, ever since that movie [“Friday Night Lights”] came out, I guess. They were really down. They wanted to play Friday night.”

The Eagles’ game this week – at Walther Lutheran – is a regularly scheduled Saturday game, meaning the team’s Friday night debut is now set for Sept. 20 against visiting Wheaton Academy.

The scheduling quirks were also frustrating for Beebe on a personal level. The former NFL standout was designated to carry a flag onto the field as one of his old teams, the Buffalo Bills, took the field for Sunday’s home game against New England, but moving the Eagles’ Chicago Urban Prep game to Saturday forced Beebe to change his travel plans and catch a Saturday night flight to New York.

Any given week

Aurora Central Catholic coach Brian Casey quipped that football fans like to go “goo-goo and ga-ga” over 100-plus yard rushers, but said the Chargers’ offense is designed to have multiple backs share the success.

That’s why Saturday’s 42-7 win against Bogan was vintage football for the Chargers, as three backs (Julian Rios, Brian Bohr and Matt Schaefer) ran for more than 50 yards, though none reached the 100-yard plateau.

Rios was ACC’s drive-finisher du jour, accounting for four touchdowns on the afternoon.

“He was just the guy that we had everything set up the way we wanted it, and it worked,” Casey said. “That’s the nice thing with our offense. There’s really no red zone back, if you will. [Saturday] it was Julian, tomorrow it’ll be Brian and the next day it will be Matt Schaefer, and that’s just the first three.”

– Jay Schwab, jschwab@shawmedia.com

IN THE GROOVE

Evan Kurtz

St. Charles North, Sr., RB/LB

What he did: Kurtz rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns – three coming in the second quarter – in Friday’s 49-0 win against Plainfield Central.

Julian Rios

Aurora Central Catholic, Sr., RB/DB

What he did: Rios matched Kurtz in accounting for four TDs – three on the ground, one through the air – in Saturday’s 42-7 win against host Chicago Bogan. 

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK

St. Charles East knows how to flip the script.

After scuffling in the fourth quarter of its season opening win at South Elgin, the Saints showed on Friday they can also be a second half team, scoring all of their points in the second half of their 41-26 win against Jacobs.

WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD

Who has bragging rights in the Tri-Cities’ most celebrated rivalries.

Batavia tries to shake off its first regular season loss since 2010 on Friday at archival Geneva, while St. Charles East looks to improve to 3-0 in a home matchup against St. Charles North.

COACH SLY SAYS

You know the best thing about Batavia/Geneva and East/North this week? Both of these games could be pretty doggone football games.

Batavia fans might dispute it, but Batavia-Geneva has the potential to be a pretty close game, the way the Vikings have moved the football and especially with the game at Burgess Field. If the Bulldogs can bounce back from the Richards loss and win comfortably at Geneva, the Richards ‘L’ will soon feel like a blip on the radar.

East and North both look like formidable teams, and both St. Charles teams are coming off impressive Week 2 wins.

There is lots of season left for all teams involved, but Friday night offers each of these teams the chance to make a loud, early statement in the conference race to go with the coveted rivalry bragging rights.

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