Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly predicted a tough four quarters of football Friday night when undefeated Sterling came into town for a Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover game.
How about a tough four minutes?
After allowing Sterling (2-1) to march about 46 yards before the Golden Warriors' first possession stalled at the Kaneland 36-yard line, the Knights took over and never looked back in thrashing their foes 42-0.
It took Kaneland (3-0) all of two plays to get on the scoreboard after quarterback Drew David found receiver Brandon Bishop wide open going straight down the middle of the field for a 55-yard touchdown strike.
"That was a seam route right down the middle," David said of the quick scoring strike. "We saw some things on film that we thought we might be able to exploit, so that's what we tried to run coming into the game, and I guess it worked."
At that point, no one expected David to finish the night with only six completions on 10 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. But those completions moved the Knights down the field effectively, and Kaneland's rushing game piled up 227 yards and four touchdowns.
With Kaneland middle linebacker Gary Koehring turning up in the Sterling backfield on numerous occasions, the Knights' defense shut down the Golden Warriors to the tune of 78 yards of total offense, including a minus-1 yard in the second half when the running clock was in place because of the 42-0 lead.
"Coach (Fedderly) breaks down so much film and he just puts me in the right spots," said Koehring, who lined up at middle or outside linebacker, but always found himself near the ball.
"I read my keys and make the plays just like he wants me to," the junior standout said.
The Knights piled up three rushing touchdowns -- a 4-yard burst by Jesse Balluff, and 3-yard scampers by David and leading rusher Nate Dyer (8 carries, 70 yards) -- and another scoring toss from David to Bishop, this one a 7-yard screen pass, to build a 35-0 halftime lead.
Sterling's special teams allowed Kaneland excellent field position the entire half, as the Warriors punted three times, with two coming up fewer than 25 yards.
To make matters worse, the Golden Warriors had a snap fly over the head of punter Gaije Fowkes, who could not pick up the loose ball. Cole Carlson pounced on it, giving Kaneland the ball at the Sterling 13-yard line and setting up Bishop's second touchdown reception with 1:34 left in the half.
"We've come a long way from week one and I think part of it is that we have played really good opponents and the kids really took it to heart because they want to be a really good team," Fedderly said.
"We have a lot of respect for Sterling because they have won their side of the conference the last two years and we have won ours the last two years," Fedderly added. "This was a really big game for us to see how good we are."
If that's the case, the Knights can rightfully boast they are pretty good. In fact, any other conference assistant coaches scouting the game may have been downright frightened by witnessed in the second half.
Kaneland didn't throw a single pass in the second half. But the Knights opened the half by moving the ball downfield on a 12-play, 75-yard drive that gobbled up more than seven minutes off the clock and culminated in Dyer's 21-yard quick opener right through the middle of the line for the game's final touchdown.
"We wanted to be able to show we could run the ball," David said. "And we showed it tonight."
Sterling coach Jon Schlemmer knew his team ran into the proverbial buzzsaw.
"We knew how good of a team they were, this is one of the best teams in the state and they know how to play football," Schlemmer said of Kaneland.
"We felt we had a chance if we came out and executed, but we had to play a perfect game," he added.
In addition, Schlemmer admitted Koehring was too much for his offensive line to deal with.
"We couldn't stop their middle linebacker, he is just a great player," Schlemmer said.