Genoa-Kingston is off to a quick start at 5-1 and two freshmen midfielders have helped the Cogs early on. Tommy Hansen and Juan Lechuga are two key contributors.
One of Hansen’s best games came against Winnebago on Aug. 29, when he scored the game-tying goal midway through the second half and then assisted on Cris Camargo’s game-winner about 10 minutes later.
“We had him starting out on the outside [midfield] and we moved him inside because of the height,” G-K coach Randy Tate said. “He makes a good target for corner kicks. He handles the ball in the air really well, and he’s good with his height.”
Tate also mentioned that Hansen is a good complement to his play-making forwards up front. He has four goals on the season.
Lechuga is seeing time as an outside midfielder and occasionally playing as a forward. With Camargo and Devon Tijerina set to graduate after this season, Tate sees Lechuga as one of the Cogs’ forwards of the future.
“He’s definitely one of the fastest players on the team,” Tate said. “We’re working on him taking over some of the scoring responsibilities next year.”
Knights work on corner kicks
For the two games before Kaneland’s matchup against Hinckley-Big Rock, coach Scott Parillo noted that Knights’ corner kick execution wasn’t very good.
That changed in the matter of a minute against H-BR as the Knights scored on back-to-back corner kicks in their 2-1 victory Friday.
“They were put in a good spot and our guys were able to make their run in there and knock them to the correct spot,” Parillo said. “We’ve been working [on corners] a lot.”
Kaneland isn’t an especially tall team as Anthony Parillo and Ivan Bohorquez, both shorter than six feet tall, scored on the two corner kicks. Asrim Azemi assisted on both goals.
Overall, Parillo said it’s been an OK start to the season for Kaneland (3-1-2), which started conference play Tuesday against DeKalb.
“We’ve had flashes of brilliances and flashes of not so brilliance,” Parillo said. “We’re tinkering with the system and the lineups and putting people in different spots and that’s what the beginning of the year is for.”
Dilemma for Timberwolves
Indian Creek coach Eric Schrader described Aaron Bolton as his team’s goalie, fielder and forward. The do-it-all senior has been doing a little bit of everything for Indian Creek, and it poses some big lineup decisions for the Timberwolves.
“More or less we want him in goal as much as possible,” Schrader said. “The reason we do play him in the field or start him on the field is sometimes he’ll have a nagging injury with a finger or a shoulder.”
Last week Bolton played the entire game on the field against Newark, scoring two goals and assisting on another in Indian Creek’s 6-2 victory. The Timberwolves’ scoring outburst has made Schrader rethink his options a little bit.
“I honestly can’t tell you when we play Genoa-Kingston on Thursday if he’s going to be in goal or on the field,” Schrader said.
If Bolton isn’t in net, the Timberwolves will likely turn to junior Jeremy Potter, their main backup goalie. Potter got some experience last year, starting five or six games when Bolton was injured.
Bernie Conley, Hinckley-Big Rock, senior forward
Conley recorded three goals and two assists in H-BR's win against Sandwich.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR...
Genoa-Kingston at Indian Creek, 4:30 p.m., Thursday
Indian Creek will have more than a week of rest before hosting the Cogs. It's the first of back-to-back games for the Timberwolves, who will also play at Hinckley-Big Rock on Friday.
Hiawatha at Somonauk, 4:30 p.m., Thursday
The Hawks get another tough road test when they take on the Bobcats, who are 4-2-1. Their young defense will certainly be tested.
1. Kaneland (3-1-2)
The Knights got a nice win over Hinckley-Big Rock, but coach Scott Parillo says the Northern Illinois Big 12 should be very competitive this season.
2. Hinckley-Big Rock (6-2)
After tough losses to Somonauk and Kaneland, the Royals got back on track with a blowout victory at Sandwich.
3. Genoa-Kingston (5-1)
G-K's offense is dynamic, and the Cogs won their conference opener against North Boone on Tuesday.
4. Hiawatha (2-1)
The Hawks go on the road to Somonauk on Thursday before hosting Newark on Monday, their first home game in a couple weeks.
5. DeKalb (2-1-2)
The Barbs have lost to Moline and Hononegah after going undefeated and winning the Barb Cup tournament
6. Indian Creek (4-2)
Indian Creek hasn't played a game in more than a week, but will face off against Genoa-Kingston on Thursday at home.
7. Sycamore (1-5)
A young Sycamore team will get much-needed practice this week before playing Geneva on Saturday.