Kaneland muscles past Rich Central for 3-0 start

Updated 9/7/2018 11:06 PM

Kaneland played keep away and take-away with Rich Central in a 34-6 win Friday night at Peterson Field.

The Knights recovered two fumbles and intercepted two passes in the first half, finishing with 4 turnovers from a defense that still hasn't allowed a point except for the final two minutes of a game.

They also kept the ball away from the Olympians' skill position threats, converting 9 of 17 third downs and all three of their fourth down tries.

Jonathan Alstott did much of that work, carrying 43 times for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. He ran behind his offensive line of Drew Hahn, Jackson Clark, Sam Pryor, Alex Slou, Jonathan Davis and tight end Luke Brost.

"Alstott is like all of our little brother on the offensive line," Pryor said. "We have to protect him, keep him clean and help him get some yards."

Alstott carried 23 times for 115 yards in the first half as the Knights (3-0) built a 15-0 halftime lead.

Kaneland drove the ball 55 yards on 13 plays on its opening possession. All 13 plays were runs capped by Alstott's 1-yard touchdown plunge.

"We wanted to be a little more balanced coming into the game but we were just running the ball so well and keeping possession," Kaneland coach Pat Ryan said. "We figured we might as well keep doing it. They had seven or eight guys in the box and we were still able to run the ball and eat up a lot of clock."

Rich Central (1-2) fumbled on its third play from scrimmage, and Kaneland's Wilson Giffney recoverd. The Knights' drive stalled, but Alstott was able to pin Rich Central at its own 1-yard line with a 38-yard punt, and on the next play Hahn tackled Sean Tyler in the end zone for a safety and 8-0 lead.

Bryce Cohoon also recovered a fumble and Kyle Angelotti and Pryor both intercepted passes in the first half. Pryor's pick came on a 4th down play ending one of Rich Central's few chances to score.

While Kaneland kept converting third and fourth downs, Rich Central was 0 for 6 on third down and 0 for 3 on fourth.

"The quarterback rolled out and I went down field with the quarterback and the next thing I knew the ball was in my face," Pyror said. "I just grabbed it.

"Defense is playing lights out defense all the time. One hundred percent every play. Eleven hats to the ball. That's Kaneland defense."

After Chaz Shaw scored on a 3-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, the Knights opened the second half like they did the first with a long drive on the ground. Their 14-play, 62-yard march ended with Shaw's 1-yard score and a 21-0 lead.

Victor Matthews recovered an onside kick and the Knights again went to work. Alstott's 3-yard touchdown run made it 28-0 after three quarters as Kaneland held the ball all but 70 seconds in the third quarter.

"They do a great job," Alstott said of Kaneland's line. "They are my big brothers, they protect me. I couldn't ask for a better game from them. They just keep progressing."

Alstott found the end zone one more time in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard run before Rich Central avoided the shutout with a 17-yard pass from Vincent Brown to Dionlashon Washington with 1:05 remaining.

Brown completed his first 5 passes but finished just 9 of 22 for 149 yards as Kaneland outgained Rich Central 382-185. Kaneland quarterback Joe Smith was 8 for 15 for 101 yards.

"We spend a lot of time in practice talking about turnovers and taking the ball away and going after the ball and good things will happen," Ryan said. "It does. We've been taking the ball away. Our defense is playing phenomenal."

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