HUNTLEY – This time around, the Kaneland football team found itself on the other side a frantic, late rally.
Kaneland, which had to rally late to win its season opener, marched down the field in impressive fashion early and often Friday night but had to hold off a furious second-half comeback by Huntley in a 52-35 nonconference road win.
“I was really happy with our first half,” Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. “Coming out in the third quarter, I just think [Huntley] showed a lot of guts coming back. They didn’t quit and made it game. But we showed some character, too.”
Junior quarterback Drew David and the Knights’ offense set a strong tone early by hitting on five of his first six pass attempts – including two scoring strikes – and running in another touchdown as the visitors raced out to a 21-7 advantage in the first quarter.
David completed 15-for-21 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns through the air in the first half. He also rushed for 85 yards and a score on eight carries.
Kaneland (2-0) built a seemingly insurmountable 35-7 lead when senior wideout Zack Martinelli made a juggling 11-yard touchdown catch with 2:07 left in the half. Martinelli, who caught six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, added a 6-yard scoring grab and a 10-yard TD catch.
The standout receiver finished with seven receptions for 96 yards and three scores against the Raiders.
“We were firing all first half,” Martinelli said.
But Huntley finally gave its big home crowd something to get loud about in the second half. The Raiders’ defense blitzed and attacked David (23-for-40, 338 yards, 4 TDs), picking him off three times in the second half.
Huntley (0-2) managed to close the deficit to 35-28 on a 22-yard touchdown catch from Kameron Sallee to Bryce Beschorner with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
“I thought they did a terrific job coming in with a game plan, and I didn’t do a very good job coming in with a game plan,” Huntley coach John Hart said. “And I thought our defense reacted exactly the way I wanted them to. We got tired at the end, and they made some plays. I thought our defense in the second half outplayed their offense.”
It was the Knights’ defense that answered the call in crunch time with three interceptions on Sallee in the fourth quarter. Kaneland junior running back Nate Dyer powered in two late scores to seal the victory.
“Our defense stepped up when they needed to and closed out the game,” Martinelli said. “And Dyer did a phenomenal job taking five guys into the end zone with him.”