Kaneland outlasts Morris for Big 12 East crown
By Rick Armstrong email@example.com October 20, 2012 1:56AM
Kaneland's Zack Martinelli runs away from the defenders and into the end zone for an 89-yard reception to end the first quarter against Morris on Friday. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:36AM
Kaneland went big, literally, early in the second half Friday to help change the momentum in its battle of Northern Illinois Big 12 East unbeatens with No. 5 Morris. Then the Knights held on for a wild ride to the finish in a 33-30 win.
Quarterback Drew David’s second touchdown pass of the game to Zack Martinelli, from five yards out with 27 seconds remaining, gave the Knights the win on the sixth and final lead change of the game.
“The kid’s a trouper. He’s a warrior out there playing with a hurt hand,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said of the 6-foot, 175-pound David who sat out Week 8 and played Friday with his right wrist and hand heavily taped. “We had to pressure him, and the times we didn’t pressure him, he hurt us. I don’t know if it was bad coverage or he made some great throws. Either way, give Kaneland credit for a great win.”
David completed 13-of-21 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns. The other TDs came on a 59-yarder to Martinelli to open the scoring late in the first quarter and a 13-yarder to Dylan Nauert in the fourth quarter.
Kaneland was limited to 137 total yards in the first half, Morris 102. The Redskins went to the break with a 10-7 lead.
Morris quarterback Zach Cinnamon answered the first Martinelli score with a 3-yard run to cap a 56-yard drive. With Kaneland in position for a score in the final minute of the second quarter, Nik Countryman tipped a David pass to fellow linebacker Josh Lincoln, who returned the interception 79 yards to the Knights 16. The Redskins called timeout with .6 of a second in the half, and Fernando DelToro made a 34-yard field goal for the lead.
Coming out of the locker room, Kaneland grabbed momentum with a particuarly beefy version of the Wildcat formation.
Coach Tom Fedderly put two linemen in as up backs and running back Jesse Balluff took a direct snap that led to a 53-yard scoring run to open the third quarter.
“We put our noseguard, Jaumaureo Phillips, who is 340, at tackle and had Justin Diddell, who is 280, at one back and Joe Komel was the little guy back there at 275,” Fedderly said. “We thought it could get us going and establish some rhythm.”
Thorson said his team was surprised by the move.
“We saw them run Wildcat with Balluff last week and practiced for it, but they didn’t have the big guys in the backfield, so that was a new wrinkle,” he said. “They got one TD off it before we stopped it.”
Cinnamon, who had thrown only 51 passes coming into the game, finished 7-of-13 for 131 yards and a 16-yard TD pass to Anthonee Monson.
Redskins wideout Jake Hogan had two receptions for 62 yards and set up a Reese Sobol 20-yard scoring run by returning a Kaneland kickoff 63 yards to the Knights 32. He had a 90-yard kickoff return for a score called back by a block in the back penalty in the first half.
Cinnamon’s 49-yard scoring run with 1:58 remaining gave Morris a short-lived 30-27 lead.
“There’s one of two direction we can go with this,” Thorson said. “We can let it affect us in a negative way, which I know is not going to happen, or we can get angry and take it out on everyone we play in the playoffs. Knowing this group and their character like I do, that’s what’s gonna happen.”