STERLING – The Kaneland football team were hitting on all cylinders from the start Friday night, and the Sterling Golden Warriors had no answer for it.
The Knights (3-0) scored touchdowns on their first three possessions, five of their six in the first half, and seven of their first eight through the middle of the third quarter. The end result was a 48-7 Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover blowout that saw the running clock for the final 16 minutes of the game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who always make big plays,” Kaneland quarterback Drew David said, “and we did a lot of good things tonight.”
David threw for 229 yards and two scores and ran for another touchdown, and Nate Dyer led the ground game with 97 yards rushing and three TDs. Kaneland outgained the Golden Warriors 369-80 in total offense, limiting Sterling to 27 yards on the ground.
“We were outmatched tonight,” Sterling coach Jon Schlemmer said. “They’re a very talented, multifaceted team, and they ran everything well.”
Kaneland’s first three drives ended with scores. David capped a nine-play, 81-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. The first seven plays in the drive were passes.
It was more of the same on the next possession. David completed all four passes for 32 yards, the final one an 18-yard scoring strike to Connor Fedderly after David scrambled away from pressure and kept the play alive.
“The line blocked well all night; there was no pressure at all, and there were holes open for the running backs,” David said. “We had a lot of guys step up and play great tonight.”
A short field set up the next score, as Dyer ran in from 10 yards out on the first play of the second quarter.
Sterling answered with Logan Wharff’s 60-yard kickoff return, then he caught a 38-yard TD pass from Bryant Lilly to get to within 20-7.
But after the Warriors defense stopped Kaneland’s next series with an interception, Isaac Smithers returned the favor. His 32-yard interception return set the Knights up at the Sterling 28, and after David’s 16-yard run, Dyer had back-to-back 6-yard sprints – the second for a score – for a 27-7 lead.
Dyer added a 4-yard run in the final minute of the first half. Dylan Nauert turned a jet sweep into a 19-yard TD run on Kaneland’s first drive of the third quarter, then David found Nauert at the goal line for a 3-yard TD pass to set the running clock in motion.