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Football Insider: Sycamore banged up heading into playoffs

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 8:12 a.m. CST
Caption
(Kyle Bursaw – kbursaw@shawmedia.com)
Marengo running back Kyle Easterline reaches for extra yards as Genoa-Kingston linebacker Logan Bankson brings him down in the first quarter Friday at Genoa-Kingston High School. Genoa-Kingston defeated Marengo, 14-0. The Cogs finished the season 3-6.

Not much went wrong for Sycamore during its 44-0 victory over Yorkville in Week 9. But going into the postseason, a couple of key Spartans are a little banged up.

Senior wide receiver David Compher left Friday’s game during the first half with a head injury. Compher was dinged up after making his only catch of the game, a 35-yard completion from junior QB Devin Mottet.

“We wanted to be cautious and take him out,” said Sycamore coach Joe Ryan after Friday’s win. “We’ll have to see. I don’t know where we’re at with him right now.”

Mottet didn’t play the second half after throwing three touchdowns in the opening 24 minutes.

The junior signal-caller tweaked his ankle and was replaced by Nick Feuerbach, who played the entire second half. Feuerbach also saw extensive action against DeKalb in Week 3.

Playoff times, dates announced: The IHSA announced times and dates for Sycamore and Kaneland’s first-round football games in the Class 5A playoffs.

Sycamore will host Chicago King at 7 p.m. Saturday while Kaneland will play Belvidere at home 7 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets to the Sycamore-King game are $5.00. Season ticket holders may purchase tickets today in the Sycamore athletic office from 1 to 4 p.m.

General admission seats will be sold during the day from Wednesday through Friday. General admission tickets may also be purchased online at www.syc427.org.

Gates will open Saturday at 6 p.m.

Barbs hurt by turnovers: DeKalb has struggled with turnovers all season, and two fumbles on kickoff returns in the first half killed its chances in a 44-31 loss Friday to Rochelle.

“If you erase those turnovers, it’s a lot closer,” coach Todd Hallaron said. “I think the talent levels, it’s a lot closer than what the scoreboard says.”

The Hubs were able to score touchdowns soon after each fumble, and the score was 22-7 at halftime.

A touchdown by DeKalb running back Dre Brown cut the Rochelle lead to seven late in the third quarter, but the deficit was ultimately too much to overcome.

“Especially when we turn over the ball on our half, it’s tough to give them a short field on a ball-control team and they get three, four, five yards a pop, it’s a very difficult thing to do, and we can’t do that,” Hallaron said. “I don’t think it’s unique to us, it’s unique to every team. You can’t turn the ball over in situations we’re turning it over.”

Hiawatha airs it out: Give Hiawatha coach Sean Donnelly credit for being open to change this season.

The Hawks started the season with an offense built predominantly around the running game with Dakotah Quimby and Nick Doolittle. But Hiawatha started to rely more on the passing game, and it peaked in Week 9 against Luther North.

Junior QB Mike Mercado threw 42 times, completing 18 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

Mercado ended the season with 215 pass attempts, more than any other QB in the area.

• Anthony Zilis contributed to this report.

VIEWS: No playoff berth doesn’t define season as a failure

DeKalb, Genoa-Kingston and Hiawatha will all say they are disappointed to be watching instead of playing in Week 10.

And to an extent, the possibility was there for all three to make the postseason.

The Barbs (2-7) lost two close nonconference home games to start the season, putting them in too big of a hole to climb out of. If the Hampshire and Galesburg games go DeKalb’s way, the Barbs go into Week 9 at 4-4, fighting for a playoff spot.

Close calls were a common theme for G-K (3-6) as well.

The Cogs lost by 1 point in their season opener and fell, 21-14, to North Boone at home in Week 7. Add in the tough 26-14 defeat to Burlington Central, and G-K wasn’t too far off from being a playoff team.

A 5-4 season wasn’t out of the equation for Hiawatha (3-6). The Hawks lost, 14-12, to Rockford Christian Life in Week 4, and couldn’t pull the upset over North Shore Country Day, Mooseheart or Luther North.

But the lack of a playoff berth for these three schools doesn’t automatically define the season as a failure.

The Cogs improved from 1-8 in 2011 to a 3-6 record in 2012. They went on the road and defeated Richmond-Burton, 24-20, in Week 3. R-B, the defending Class 4A state runner-ups then won five games in a row and finished as a playoff team.

DeKalb went from 4-5 to 2-7, but spent most of the season still trying to adjust to first-year head coach Todd Hallaron’s system. Junior QB Jack Sauter developed into one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the Northern Illinois Big 12 and should be even better as a senior.

Hiawatha snapped a 13-game losing streak in dramatic fashion. Senior kicker Marek Mlodzianowski hit a game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter to give the Hawks a 14-13 victory over Chicago Hope in Week 2. Hiawatha won three games this season, more than the two previous seasons combined.

For these three teams, there may not be any more games to look forward to this season, but there is still plenty of good to look back on.

• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. Contact him by email at rjacobson@daily-chronicle.com.

SPOTLIGHT ON ...

DREW DAVID
Kaneland, quarterback, junior

David played through a wrist injury and led the Knights to a comeback win over Morris to cap the Knights’ undefeated regular season.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Belvidere at Kaneland, 7 p.m., Saturday Kaneland got all it could handle in its first-round game against Belvidere in 2011.

Chicago King at Sycamore, 7 p.m., Saturday Sycamore’s run defense will be challenged by Chicago King’s talented backfield.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Kaneland (9-0) Another undefeated regular season. Another Northern Illinois Big 12 East title. Another finish as the area’s top team in the power rankings.

2. Sycamore (6-3) The Spartans’ win over Yorkville gave them a home playoff game in the first round against King.

3. Genoa-Kingston (3-6) G-K ended the season on a high note, winning with sophomore Griffin McNeil at quarterback in Week 9.

4. Hiawatha (3-6) The Hawks ended the year with three wins, more than the two previous seasons combined. 

5. DeKalb (2-7) DeKalb’s loss to Rochelle was a microcosm of a turbulent 2012 season for the Barbs.

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