Morris hands Kaneland 5th loss
Bad news came in droves for the Kaneland football team Friday night.
One play after suffering its sixth quarterback sack, the Knights' sixth fumble of the game proved disastrous.
The Kaneland punter recovered the dropped snap, only to have his punt carom off one of his own players as he was harassed under heavy pressure.
Morris scored two plays later to double its lead.
Connor Fedderly continued his game-long heroics on the ensuing drive to score his third touchdown of the game, but Morris recovered the last-minute Kaneland onside kick to salt away a 26-20 victory in the Northern Illinois Big XII East game in Maple Park.
With its fifth consecutive loss Kaneland (2-5, 0-4) was knocked out of playoff contention for the first time in seven years.
"Our kids have battled every single game until the last minute," Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. "It was a hard-fought battle, and it came down to the last drive."
Morris (3-4. 1-2) stopped the Knights on downs as Kaneland had its 12-play drive stall in its attempt to increase its 14-12 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Knights had not allowed Morris a single first down for the opening 16-plus minutes of the second half, forcing three consecutive three-and-outs in the process.
But Morris' fortunes changed dramatically when Nathan Guth hit Chase Hansen with a 32-yard reception on a wide-receiver pass.
Hansen then gave Morris the lead for good with his third-and-goal catch from 5 yards out with four minutes and 19 seconds to play.
"We got in that third-and-goal because of our defense," said Morris quarterback Griffin Sobol, who delivered the go-ahead pass. "I am just grateful for the way the line blocked."
Kaneland quarterback Jake Marczuk tried to rally the Knights for a potential game-winning drive, but Morris' sixth sack followed back-to-back incompletions.
"I'll have to look at that," Fedderly said of the Knights' pass protection.
"We told (our defense) that if (Marczuk) had time to throw they would pick us apart," Morris coach Alan Thorson said.
Marczuk finished 19-for-29 with all three scores going to Fedderly, who caught 8 passes for 142 yards.
The two collaborated on a 37-yard connection on the first series of the game, but Kaneland proceeded to lose fumbles on its next three possessions.
"We just have to hang onto the ball," said coach Fedderly.
"(The fumbles) were huge, especially the first one when they were getting ready to score," Thorson said. "It was a huge win for us to keep our playoff hopes alive."
Fedderly scored on a 7-yard reception on the Knights' first drive of the second half to reverse Morris' 12-7 halftime lead.