The Kaneland football team was looking to play four competitive quarters while Tyler Callaghan was seeking his first touchdown of the season.
They both got what they were hoping for during Friday night's Northern Illinois Big 12 East division game at Yorkville.
The Knights had to overcome a pair of turnovers and a resilient Yorkville team in the first half, but responded with a tremendous effort in the second half to win their seventh consecutive game of the season, 34-13.
"I've got to tip my hat to Yorkville, they came out and played hard, they played a good game and that's what we expected, Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. "We were hoping for a four-quarter game. We need this going into next week (undefeated Sycamore) and I thought we played a very good second half.
Kaneland (7-0, 3-0) only led 14-6 at halftime but orchestrated a 15-play drive to open the second half that consumed 7 minutes and 49 seconds of the third quarter clock.
The drive featured only three pass plays, but did include a 29-yard reception by Quinn Buschbacher from quarterback Joe Camiliere. Blake Serpa was the go-to guy of the drive, rushing eight times, including a 2-yard touchdown run which put the Knights ahead 21-6.
"We put that drive together and that was something we were talking about for awhile, Fedderly said. "Being able to run the ball and drive like that and put some plays together to score.
Yorkville (3-4, 1-2) didn't runaway and hide though, at least not immediately. A 45-yard kickoff return by Steven Adler gave the Foxes the ball near midfield, but after a couple short gains, sandwiched between a pair of false start penalties, Buschbacher intercepted a pass, which he nearly returned for a touchdown, only for it to be brought back to midfield because of a tripping penalty.
The Knights then extended their lead to 28-6, using seven plays to do so. Camiliere connected with Callaghan on a 9-yard strike at the 10:09 mark of the fourth quarter to give the 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior his first touchdown of the fall.
"They (teammates) asked me again before the game if tonight was going to be the night that I would score one, Callaghan said. "I guess tonight was the night, but it doesn't matter to me. Whoever scores, scores, I just want to go out and win.
Less than a minute after sampling the end zone, Callaghan set up the Knights on their final scoring play when he leapt high in the air to intercept a Brant Corwin pass. Buschbacher followed Callaghan's defense gem with a 13-yard touchdown run to blow the game open.
"It was nice to go into a game and have to play four quarters, even if we didn't play how we wanted to in the first half, Callaghan said. "Now we know we can make adjustments for the second half and show what we're capable of doing.
The game could not have started any better for the Knights. The Foxes fumbled the on the opening play from scrimmage and the Knights needed just two plays before Serpa took it into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run.
But the Knights ran into some difficulties on their next three drives. Camiliere threw an interception, just his second of the season, they fumbled away another possession and they were unable to convert a fourth-down play on a 9-play drive.
Still, they were able to turn things around quickly thanks to their defense, and the big-play ability of the offense. Camiliere connected with Sean Carter on a beautiful 70-yard touchdown as Carter made the catch in stride and sprinted down the middle of the field with 3:09 remaining in the first half. Meanwhile, the defense held the Foxes to a pair of first half field goals. Omarr Maldonado made a great diving tackle to help Yorkville coach Jim Still opt for the first field goal and the defensive line rushed Corwin into throwing an incomplete pass on a 3rd-and-5 on the second one.
"Bend and don't break, Fedderly said. "If we're the good team that we think we are then we'll be able to overcome some things and we saw that tonight.