DeKALB – Four minutes was all the time Sycamore needed to land the first punch against DeKalb.
And from then on, the Barbs couldn’t respond to a series of early Sycamore haymakers, resulting in a lopsided Spartan victory Friday night at Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium.
After DeKalb played Sycamore close the past two seasons, the Spartans reaffirmed their superiority in the rivalry series with a dominating 49-30 victory. Sycamore now has won 18 of the past 19 games against DeKalb, with its last loss coming in 2007.
Sycamore coach Joe Ryan warned his team at Wednesday’s practice that DeKalb might try something out of the ordinary to start Friday’s game. Coming in at 0-2 and having lost four consecutive games to the Spartans, DeKalb was a team in need of a boost.
Instead, Sycamore made the early statement. The Spartans converted two fourth downs in the first quarter, scored on its first four possessions and jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead, leaving little doubt as to the eventual outcome.
Friday’s rivalry game featured two teams that entered the season in similar positions. The Spartans and Barbs both had first-year junior quarterbacks surrounded by explosive playmakers. Now, the two are headed in completely opposite directions.
About the only thing that went wrong for the Spartans was a missed extra point. And even that was made up for with a two-point conversion. Sycamore QB Devin Mottet was perfect, literally, completing all 13 of his pass attempts for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
Despite an inexperienced defense and having to replace three-year starting QB Ryan Bartels, Sycamore is now 3-0 and looks headed for the playoffs, once again.
The Barbs are simply searching for an identity. DeKalb again was hurt by a series of untimely penalties and couldn’t come up with clutch plays in the big moments.
It certainly hasn’t been the best start to coach Todd Hallaron’s first year at DeKalb, yet the season isn’t completely gone.
But the Barbs need to go back to their proverbial corner and regroup, quickly. Or there could be more punches coming their way next week in Ottawa.
• Ross Jacobson is the Daily Chronicle sports editor. Reach him at email@example.com.