SPOTLIGHT ON ...
Kaneland, junior., quarterback
Filling in for starting quarterback Drew David, Carlson ran for more than 100 yards and had two touchdowns in the Knights' 30-7 win over Sycamore.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Morris at Kaneland, 7:30 p.m., Friday
Kaneland goes for its third consecutive undefeated regular season with a win over Morris.
DeKalb at Rochelle, 7 p.m., Friday
The Barbs look for their first winning streak of the season and face a Rochelle team that has lost three of its last four games.
1. Kaneland (8-0)
Missing their starting quarterback, the Knights made it look easy against Sycamore in a 30-7 win.
2. Sycamore (5-3)
The Spartans had a 7-0 lead, but couldn't get much going offensively against Kaneland.
3. Hiawatha (3-5)
Hiawatha got its third victory of the season by defeating winless Christian Liberty.
4. DeKalb (2-6)
DeKalb rolled over Yorkville, 47-0, on Senior Night.
5. Genoa-Kingston (2-6)
G-K's road woes continued with a loss at Harvard.
NOTEBOOK: Davis injury hurts Spartans
For maybe the first time all season, Sycamore's offensive and defensive lines were outmatched. Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said part of the reason was an in-game injury to senior lineman Jake Davis.
Kaneland rushed for more than 300 yards and quarterback Tyler Carlson had ample time in the pocket on his eight pass attempts.
"It makes a big difference when Jake Davis goes out," Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. "He went out and it made a big difference. He makes a lot of things go inside for us."
After Sycamore's initial touchdown drive in the first quarter, the Spartans were held to less than 75 yards of offense for the rest of the game. RB Austin Culton didn't have a lot of running room and QB Devin Mottet was sacked once. Kaneland also picked up a safety in the first quarter, stuffing Sycamore's Dion Hooker for a four-yard loss.
"Our defensive line you've got [Jaumaureo Phillips], [Justin Diddell], [Bradley Johnson], those guys are huge," Kaneland junior running back Jesse Balluff said. "They played awesome [Friday]."
DeKalb's offense couldn't do much wrong during Friday's 47-0 win over Yorkville. Players like Dre Brown and Dylan Hottsmith ran the ball well while quarterback jack Sauter completed his first 11 passes.
␌Brown stood out early. He had room to run, and when he got into the open field, he was gone. The Foxes' defense looked like it had no shot of catching Brown on his 52-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The sophomore running back finished with 116 yards rushing, even though he sat out the second half.
Brown is recovering from a shoulder injury and Barbs coach Todd Hallaron didn't want to risk anything in a blowout game.
"When he's in and he's playing and he's in the flow of the game, he's a really tough running back. And when [Brown's] got room to run, he's hard to catch," Hallaron said. "He's very elusive, he's very difficult to catch. And I think that first half, it was one of his best games that I think he's played. He's played a couple of really good games."
David to play in Week 9
Kaneland junior quarterback Drew David will play in Friday's showdown with fellow unbeaten Morris for the Northern Illinois Big 12 East crown, Knights coach Tom Fedderly confirmed Monday.
Fedderly said David was held out of the Knights' Week 8 victory against Sycamore as a precaution from a practice injury. David "could have played if needed," Fedderly said, but Kaneland didn't have to press the issue as junior backup Tyler Carlson and a strong defense helped the team to a 30-7 victory.
Steve Nitz and Kevin Druley contributed to this report.
VIEWS: Kaneland junior quarterback steps up
If you watched Kaneland for the first time Friday night, you would have had no clue the Knights typically feature an up-tempo passing offense.
Instead, the Knights, without starting quarterback Drew David, looked like your typical Northern Illinois Big 12 offense, playing physical up front and using a grind-it-out running attack.
Junior quarterback Tyler Carlson stepped into the starting role and Kaneland’s offense didn’t miss a beat, putting up 30 points in a dominating win over Sycamore.
Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly told Shaw Media that David was ready to play Friday despite a practice injury earlier in the week, but Carlson was preparing all week to be the starter.
“He prepared so well this whole week,” Kaneland junior running back Jesse Balluff said. “He was watching film all the time and he was even practicing his snap count at home, he was telling me.”
Carlson played with poise, mixing up running plays with Balluff, often on direct snaps out of the shotgun. The quarterback ran for 103 yards on 16 carries, but also made a couple of key throws down field. After Sycamore’s Ben Niemann intercepted Carlson’s first pass attempt, Carlson completed four of his last five throws.
His biggest throw came on Third-and-8 late in the second quarter. With great pass protection, Carlson fired a strike to Brandon Bishop for 16 yards across the middle, and then Balluff scored on the next play, putting Kaneland up, 16-7.
It was a different feel to Kaneland’s offense that produced similar results.
“It’s cool, I’m a running back, so I like it,” Balluff said. “But Tyler Carlson did a great job out there, passing too, and setting up everything.”
David looks to be ready to play against Morris on Friday, but Kaneland seems to be in good hands no matter which quarterback is taking the snaps.