Kaneland scores quickly, often; Borden impacting Geneva's D

  • Kai Paz, pictured running the ball for South Elgin, also is doing an excellent job kicking off for the Storm's special teams.

    Kai Paz, pictured running the ball for South Elgin, also is doing an excellent job kicking off for the Storm's special teams. Mark Black / Shaw Media Illinois

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/21/2021 8:16 AM

On the surface, the stats don't quite add up when looking at the Kaneland football team's 56-21 win over Woodstock North in Week 4.

North ran 26 more plays than the Knights and held a massive 34:20 to 13:40 time of possession edge.


But here's what does add up. Kaneland scored touchdowns on 6 plays that went 29 or more yards to pay dirt, including four of 40 or more yards. Kaneland put up 28 points in the first quarter and 21 more in the second. Specifically, it was Club Med for Kaneland's offense -- just 29 plays needed to be run from scrimmage.

Sam Gagne caught 5 passes for 143 yards (28.6 yards per grab). He came into the game averaging about 17 yards per catch. Quarterback Troyer Carlson completed 10 of 14 passes for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns against North.

Another key for Kaneland so far this year has been AJ Macaluso. "AJ starts at center for us and also stepped in at outside linebacker due to some injuries and did a really nice job," Kaneland coach Pat Ryan said.

Watch No. 10:

Geneva coach Boone Thorgesen likes what he is seeing from Graham Borden on defense.

"Graham plays with such a motor, you find yourself saying, "just watch the effort No. 10 gives this play," Thorgesen said. "He's what you want in a football player."

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More DuKane:

Batavia coach Dennis Piron continues to be impressed with the play of Jalen Buckley and senior Vince Solano.

"Jalen on offense is helping us develop an identity and set up much of what we want to do," he said. "With our defense, our team 'D' and balance and sharing tackles has made things tough for opponents, but I am very happy with how Vince Solano has come through. He's a very smart, tough and focused player. He has worked very hard to develop like he has."

A quick stat dump on the Bulldogs: Senior wideout Eric Newberry had 4 catches for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns in the team's win over Lake Park. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Boe was 13 of 16 for 291 yards and threw 4 touchdowns, plus ran another one in. "He has arrived," Piron said of Boe. "This kid is special."

Junior linebacker Brody Osborne had 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and 7 tackles in the Lake Park win, while junior linebacker Jack Sadowsky had 9 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Batavia has held opponents to 2.4 rushing yards per carry, while its offense has racked up 685 yards through the air and a yard more on the ground. "A good balance," Piron said.

More two-way magic:

Elgin coach Anthony Mason highlighted Will Zamecnik, who plays on the Maroons' offensive and defensive lines.

"Will is a senior who has been doing everything we ask of him," Mason said. "Now, we want to see him make some big plays out there on the field and really showcase his talent."


Mason likes the progress his club continues to make. "We are young, improving and staying anchored in our culture," he said. "Every day is a new opportunity to be the best version of ourselves so our past doesn't define us and our future is uncertain. Do everything in your power to win the day. This is our team."

Star in the middle:

One contributor to South Elgin's 4-0 start is Axel Bernal.

"Axel is playing incredible football at middle linebacker right now," Storm coach Dragan Teonic said. "All checks, adjustments and calls go through him. He's playing well."

Some stat sheet jumpers from the Storm's win against Larkin: South Elgin pounded the ball 60 times on the ground for 384 yards and 7 rushing scores (6.4 yards per carry). Anthony Marshall led the way with 23 rushes for 119 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Let's check in again with South Elgin kicker Kai Paz, who averaged 40.8 yards per kickoff against Larkin, had 1 touchback, put 3 off the tee inside the 25 and also was 2 of 3 on onside kick attempts. He also got to keep 142 of his 204 kickoff yards thanks to strong special teams coverage.

Royal scoop:

Junior linebacker Hector Flores was averaging 10 tackles a game through Larkin's first 3 games.

"Hector is playing very good right now on defense and we hope that continues," Larkin coach Grant Dietz said.

Flores also is the team's kicker, where he hit 15 of its first 16 point-after tries.

"As a junior, he is showing veteran leadership and we expect good things from him," Dietz said.

In terms of Larkin's overall development: "We have made strides in a positive direction," Dietz said. "Questions that we had at the start of the season are being answered. We still have a long way to go, but I am very proud of where we are at right now. The staff is doing a great job. The seniors are taking on leadership and mentoring roles to younger guys. There is evidence on the field of their hard work proving to be beneficial for us as a program. I tell the players often, 'don't be afraid of success,' and meet challenges head on."

Kicking it into high gear:

Burlington Central coach Brian Melvin said one under-the-radar player on his team is kicker Griffin Kollhoff (who also plays soccer).

In his second year of football, Kollhoff comes into Week 5 perfect on point-after attempts (9-for-9), had a made field goal (his other miss was blocked) and 7 of his 16 kickoffs have not been taken out of the end zone.

Melvin noted after 1 touchback last season, "Griffin is kicking it through the end zone 40 percent of the time," he said. "College coaches really need to take a look at him. He is only going to get better."

From Central's Week 4 game against Huntley, Gavin Sarvis ran the ball 12 times for 78 yards and hauled in 4 catches for 127 yards and a score. On defense, he added 7.5 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, one pass breakup, and returned a pick 32 yards. Shawn Adkerson had 6 completions for 136 yards and 1 touchdown and also ran the ball 19 times for 68 yards. Sarvis has piled up 444 yards of total offense on 52 touches through 4 weeks.

No yellow flags:

Penalties stung Crystal Lake South during the first third of its regular season. "Not the kind of stat you want to see in the newspaper," Gators coach Rob Fontana said. "We are getting close to double-digit penalties each game (through 3 week) and it's putting our offense and defense in the bind."

On the flip side, one stat Fontana has been super-impressed with is the wealth-spreading of its receiver group.

"The other stat that jumps off the page is how many receivers we get into the stat line each week," he said. "It seems like each week we have a different guy leading us in receptions and that's a great sign of team football. It takes all 11 guys on the offense to do their job in order for some of those things to happen, and when you play selflessly, good things happen to your team."

Fontana also played the recent play of Michael Prokos.

"Michael is another guy who never comes off the field," he said. "We call his number on offense a lot, and he jumps right over to defense and has to play fast and physical. Michael's a gamer. He loves the spotlight and he loves playing the game."

Cadet defense:

Marmion's defense has been on point this season. The Cadets hold a 1,297-677 edge in total offense through 4 games, including a 901-467 advantage on the ground (6.48 yards per carry compared to 3.09 YPC allowed). The Cadets also have 15 more first downs than their opponents.

As a team, Marmion's defense has registered 28 tackles for loss and forced 8 fumbles (all recovered by the Cadets). Ivan Erickson has 8 tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback sacks.

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