Day impressive as Antioch blanks Woodstock North
Even Athan Kaliakmanis was impressed.
Kaliakmanis didn't practice all week and missed most of the first half of Antioch's 26-0 nonconference victory over Woodstock North Friday night in the Sequoits' home opener.
He fell awkwardly on his back after a hit in the loss to Lake Forest a week ago and has had minimal activity since for precaution.
So in stepped junior signal-caller Evan Day for his first varsity start.
"(Evan) did an awesome job. He put us in great situations and gave me a 13-0 lead," said Kaliakmanis, a Minnesota commit who ended up playing most of the second half.
Day orchestrated the offense to perfection with most of the plays coming via the ground.
After a three-and-out by Woodstock North to open the game, Day led the Sequoits on an 11-play, 53-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard plunge by senior running back Brandon Reynolds.
"This was everything I imagined, from the crowd and fans to everyone coming up to me all week in practice," said Day of his first start. "I was really comfortable out there and just trying to give us the best chance to score."
With Antioch (1-1) ahead 13-0 and the waning seconds of the first half ticking down, Kaliakmanis came in to try for the end zone but was picked off by the Thunder's Colton Dunn. Dunn ended up with two picks on the night for Woodstock North (1-1).
"No reason. We brought Athan in to pass and try to punch another score in," said Sequoits coach Brian Glashagel, whose team starts a string of three straight road games by visiting Grayslake North next week.
As for Kaliakmanis, that long run he spoke of came with 5:33 left in the third to put the hosts ahead 19-0.
"I couldn't walk a week ago, so it was really nice to get back out there and that run (65-yard score) felt great," he said.
Kaliakmanis ended up with 93 yards rushing on 5 carries. He also completed 1 of 3 passes for 14 yards.
"We ran the ball very nicely tonight," added Glashagel of the Sequoits, who finished with 232 rushing on the night.
"But give Woodstock North credit. They play really hard."
Antioch outgained the Thunder 246-161 in yardage.
The Sequoits added an insurance score with 9:21 left in the fourth when junior running back Gavin Calabrese dashed in from 3 yards out and a 26-0 advantage.
On the ensuing possession, Woodstock North put together a nice drive starting from its own 17.
The Thunder marched down to Antioch's red zone only to come up short when it was fourth-and-3.
"We called timeout and made some adjustments before that fourth down play," added Glashagel. "We really wanted to preserve the shutout and we did it."
A plethora of Sequoits stopped senior running back Bryce Nolan short of the first down and Antioch's "Crazies" went nuts.
"It was so good to be home and get a victory (after last week)," said Glashagel. "We played a much cleaner game tonight."
While Kaliakmanis led the rushing charge, Reynolds ended up with 62 yards on 19 carries and the two scores, while Calabrese finished with 35 yards on 10 carries.
Junior running back Andrew Pena led the Thunder offense with 50 yards on 12 carries.