MAPLE PARK – A youth movement helped the Kaneland football team start its season with a win.
Sophomore linebacker Jake Gomes came up with key defensive stop in the fourth quarter to help preserve a 27-7 victory on Saturday against Brooks. Knights coach Tom Fedderly also was high on the play of defensive end and fellow sophomore Andrew Kray.
“The two sophomores were really good and we were wondering how they would react and we were really happy of what we saw with those two guys,” Fedderly said.
The Knights (1-0) were hungry to move beyond last year's loss to Lincoln-Way West in the second round of the playoffs, and Kaneland did so with an opening kickoff return of 65 yards by Dylan Nauert, which led to a 25-yard field goal at the 10:18 mark in the first quarter by Matt Rodriguez.
The Knights' offense was led by running back Jesse Balluff with 18 carries and 84 yards and two first half touchdowns, one from 5 yards and another from 4 yards.
Knights quarterback Drew David went 15 for 29 for 232 yards and three interceptions.
The Knights' defense continued to dominate throughout the first quarter, holding Brooks scoreless through the first half led by all-conference defensive tackle Justin Diddell, who had four tackles in the first half.
The defense continued with that intensity, recording two safeties in the third quarter. The game was played Saturday after lightning on Friday pushed it back a day. Next up for the Knights is another home non-conference game on Friday against IC Catholic.