MAPLE PARK – Kaneland’s defense held the Hampshire football team scoreless for the first time this season, blanking the Whip-Purs, 35-0, Friday night in the opening round of the IHSA Class 5A playoffs.
The Knights held Hampshire (6-4) to less than 100 yards in total offense, three first downs and intercepted two Nick Mohlman passes.
The only downside for the Knights was an injury to Brandon Bishop in the third quarter. The senior did not get up after colliding with a Hampshire defender while recovering a punt. He was taken to an local hospital by the paramedics.
“They owned the line of scrimmage,” said Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh. “They held (Nick) Kielbasa down (the team’s leading rusher), they held our receivers down. They dared us to run the ball and we couldn’t get anything.”
Kaneland (9-1) scored its first touchdown of the night near the end of the first quarter. A 4-yard run by Isaac Swithers with 2:56 left in the frame capped an 81-yard, six-play drive.
Swithers also scored the team’s second touchdown four minutes into the second quarter on a 1-yard run.
The Knights increased their lead to 21-0 on a 6-yard pass from Drew David to Conner Fedderly with 1:57 left in the half.
Hampshire had a hard time getting its offense going in the first half. Kaneland limited the Whip-Purs to nine plays in the first quarter.
It appeared that Hampshire might get the first touchdown of the game when David’s first pass of the evening was intercepted at the Knights’ 15-yard line. The Whip-Purs were not able take advantage as they turned the ball back to Kaneland on a fumble.
Hampshire, stymied by penalties in the second quarter, finally got a drive going after Kaneland’s third touchdown at the end of the half.
Mohlman connected on his first two completions of the night to get the Whip-Purs to the Knights’ 24-yard line, but Hampshire was not able to cross the goal line before time expired.
The Knights added two more touchdowns in the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Nate Dyer and 14-yard pass from David to Tyler Slamans.
The Knights will take on the winner of today’s contest between Joliet Catholic (8-1) and Chicago Urban Prep (6-3) next weekend.