Familiarity can make for a difficult playoff matchup.
Kaneland and Rochelle will hold few secrets squaring off in their 1 p.m. Saturday Class 5A quarterfinal football game in Rochelle.
"It's always tough when you play a conference opponent more than one time," said Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly.
"They do such a good job of coaching and preparing their kids. They've got all of our film. We're not going to trick anybody. It's just going to come down to execution."
Kaneland (11-0), a No. 1 seed which advanced by a whisker, 31-28 over rallying St. Francis last week at Peterson Field, has a short playoff history against coach Kevin Crandall's Hubs.
When the teams were in separate conferences, No. 13 Rochelle (8-3) beat Kaneland twice in the postseason, in consecutive 2003 and 2004 first-rounders when the Knights were directed by Joe Thorgesen.
After Rochelle and Kaneland joined the Western Sun Conference in 2006, Kaneland won three of four regular-season meetings against the Hubs. The Knights kept it up with victories in 2010 and again this season in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East.
"They're on a great run," Crandall said. "They have excellent coaching and are on a great run of talent. Tom does a great job, they have good schemes and their players execute.
"We had the same kind of run back in the late '90s, early 2000s. Sometimes you get on one of those and you've got to ride it."
Speaking of run, that's Rochelle's bread and butter. It runs a wing-T set that, on a good rushing day, will see quarterback Nick Moore need to throw no passes.
He will run, though, such as on his 94-yard touchdown run in Rochelle's 21-16 second-round victory over another conference foe, Sycamore. The Hubs' main backs are Kane Rodriguez, who has run for 910 yards and 11 touchdowns; and two-year starting fullback Will Metzger, who leads Rochelle with 1,445 yards and 21 touchdowns.
"I think for us to be successful we've got to be able to consistently move the ball and take time off the clock and hopefully limit the number of possessions they get," said Crandall, a 27-year head coach who on defense offers Roman Martinez, a linebacker with a team-high 79 tackles.
The trouble with a team that employs a methodical, ground-based offense is when it falls behind it's hard to make up ground.
Kaneland displayed the difficulty in the Knights' Week 5 NIB12 opener, a 35-14 victory to deal Rochelle its first loss when, at the time, Kaneland was ranked No. 9 in The Associated Press Class 6A poll while Rochelle was No. 5 in 5A. Kaneland finished the regular season No. 3 in 5A.
Kaneland scored within 2 minutes on Quinn Buschbacher's end-around run. That preceded quarterback Drew David passing for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns to Sean Carter and another to Buschbacher, in a first half the Knights led 28-7.
Of course, they've never let up. David has gone on to pass for 3,010 yards, 38 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Buschbacher has now caught 53 passes for 981 yards and 15 touchdowns. Carter has 43 receptions for 826 yards and 12 touchdowns.
In Kaneland's second-round win over St. Francis, though, it was David's sophomore classmate, Jesse Balluff, who really stepped up.
The running back ran for 92 yards and caught 8 passes for 177 yards and touchdowns of 77 and 39 yards.
What became a major scare, though, was St. Francis quarterback Nick Donati running for touchdowns of 51 and 70 yards then throwing an 11-yard TD strike in a game the Spartans nearly won, had a penalty not nullified an apparent game-winning catch.
"We knew they were going to be a good team and obviously we did some things wrong and they did some things right," Fedderly said.
Crandall has seen enough of Kaneland's stable of athletes to believe his Hubs must do a lot of things right and Kaneland, well, not much at all.
"You're just between a rock and a hard spot," said Crandall, who last visited the quarterfinals in 2002. "I think you've just got to hope they don't have a good day. They play their best and we play our best, that's not going to turn out well for us, I don't think."