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ESPN might have the award-winning documentary series by the same name, but Kaneland had its own version of "30 for 30" that was just as big of a hit to its fans in Maple Park Friday night.
Senior running back Jesse Balluff, No. 30 for the Knights, carried 16 times for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns, providing all the offense Kaneland would need in a 45-14 victory over IC Catholic Prep — the Knights' 30th straight regular season win.
Kaneland (2-0), ranked No. 4 in the state's Class 4A poll, wasted no time in using its advantage in the trenches against ICCP (1-1). The Knights ran the ball all eight times on their opening possession, capping the 75-play drive on Balluff's 20-yard touchdown run.
"We just love running it," said Balluff, a three-year starter. "We have huge linemen, very skilled linemen, we just love running it. Our defense is amazing, best I've seen in three years, same with our line, best I've seen in three years."
While the Knights opened up their playbook after the first drive — quarterback Drew David hit 10 of 16 passes for 158 yards and no turnovers — ICCP never really slowed down Kaneland's ground game. The Knights finished with 261 rushing yards.
"We knew that was going to happen because of the quality of what they have up front," ICCP coach Bill Krefft said. "They are a playoff team up front. We knew that (all running plays) was what they might come at us with."
A week after a 5-turnover game against Brooks, Kaneland cleaned up its offense significantly, the only miscue coming late in the first half on a muffed punt return. Kaneland still took a 31-7 lead at halftime, its defense holding ICCP to zero net rushing yards in the first half.
"I felt last week we played a really good first half and then didn't come out prepared in the second half," Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. "That was something we were stressing all during the week was playing a complete game and not making the same mistakes."
After a Matt Rodriguez 37-yard field goal put Kaneland up 10-0, Jake Gomes forced a fumble that Sam Bower recovered setting up Balluff's second TD run and a 17-0 lead after one quarter.
James Janowski, who scored both touchdowns for ICCP, cut Kaneland's lead to 17-7 with a 5-yard score. Balluff answered with a 1-yard TD plunge, then Cole Carlson helped Kaneland break the game open with a 51-yard interception return for a score and a 31-7 lead.
"He just threw it my direction and I saw it and grabbed it," Carlson said. "Everybody is playing really well together. Team effort. It was a lot different without (linebacker) Gary (Koehring) out there, Gary is a big part of the defense. We all filled in together."
Despite missing Koehring (knee), Kaneland's defense turned in its second straight dominating effort. A good chunk of ICCP's yardage and half of its points came after Kaneland took its starters out.
"Man, those guys have fun playing," Fedderly said. "Those kids just fly around the ball. They play good sound team defense, they communicate together and they hustle."
Dylan Nauert joined in the fun in the second half with touchdown runs of 9 and 3 yards to open up a 45-7 lead. Nauert appeared to turn it into a running clock game with a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown moments later, but a penalty brought the play back.
Nauert also nearly had a 95-yard kick return in the fourth quarter but stepped out of bounds. Earlier, a David touchdown pass to John Pruett and a Bower interception were both called back by penalties.
Fedderly pulled David on the final series of the third quarter, and Kaneland got backup quarterbacks Tyler Carlson and Owen Korpela (a combined 4 for 4) experience in the final quarter.
Janowski led ICCP with 65 yards on 9 carries.
"I'm proud of our kids," Krefft said. "That's a great football team we just played and we played them for four quarters as hard as we could. I'm happy with the way we went after them."
Follow John Lemon on Twitter @jlemonDH