With a bunch of fresh faces, Kaneland didn't come out like the well-oiled machine of year's past, but eventually settled down to achieve the desired result.
The Knights overcame turnovers on their first three possessions and an early injury to starting tailback Isaac Swithers to collect a 30-8 nonconference victory over Brooks Saturday night in Maple Park.
"We have a lot of new players coming in, so we kind of knew this wasn't going to be a perfect game. We just had to keep our heads up and keep going," said Kaneland senior wide receiver Connor Fedderly.
When the Kaneland offense sputtered at the start, the defense came to the rescue, holding Brooks scoreless in two possessions inside the 10.
The Knights ended up forcing turnovers of their own, including interceptions from Brandon Kigyos, Kyle Diehl and Isaiah Baerenklau.
"I was really, really happy with our defense. Our offense put them in really bad situations to start that game," said Knights coach Tom Fedderly.
Making his first varsity start, junior quarterback Jake Marczuk stood tall in the face of heavy pressure and threw four touchdown passes -- two each to Fedderly and Tyler Paulson.
Paulson hauled in a 12-yard touchdown to open the scoring with 4:06 left in the opening quarter, then broke free down the middle for a 53-yard touchdown early in the fourth.
The sophomore also delivered nifty kickoff returns of 41 and 42 yards to the delight of the home crowd.
"Coach put me back there when Isaac went down, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen," Paulson said. "I just went with it and it ended up being good."
"Paulson had a night and that was awesome to see," Connor Fedderly said.
Swithers, who limped off after fumbling on his first carry, returned in the second half to play on both sides of the ball.
"We started him out on defense and worked him in a little on offense, so he's going (to be) fine," Tom Fedderly said.
With Swithers out, Marczuk handled the bulk of the running and finished 11-for-22 for 177 yards passing.
Marczuk hooked up with Fedderly for 3- and 10-yard touchdowns in the second quarter. Mitch Groen added two receptions for 39 yards.
"Jake's a great athlete and a tough kid. He's going to make a lot of plays with his feet," Tom Fedderly said.
Brooks quarterback Eric Matthews scored on a 9-yard run in the second quarter and completed 19 of 33 passes for 266 yards. Mickele Cobb had 8 receptions for 158 yards.