Big-time effort by Kaliakmanis, Antioch defense
A Big Ten football head coach in attendance at Wauconda provided a big boost of adrenaline.
And not only for Antioch quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis.
"I saw him and I was like, perfect chance (to play well)," Antioch senior linebacker Ryan Shaputis said of University of Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck. " 'C' gaps are my favorite. I always know that's a perfect chance to wrap that quarterback."
With Minnesota-commit Kaliakmanis rushing for 5 touchdowns in front of Fleck and Golden Gophers offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kirk Ciarrocca, and Antioch's defense notching 4 sacks, the visiting Sequoits rolled to a 41-7 win in Northern Lake County Conference action Friday night.
Antioch improved to 3-1 and 2-0 in the NLCC with its third win in a row, while also spoiling the homecoming for Wauconda (1-3, 1-0).
"Any time you face a Dave Proffitt defense, you're going to face something solid," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said of Antioch's defensive coordinator. "You go back to Week 1 here with (head coach) Mike Noll and what he's doing up at Richmond-Burton to Proffitt at Antioch to Cary-Grove a year ago. They all go to the same clinics. They all eat at the same table. They are defensive geniuses that put together game plans and stymie you. We saw that tonight."
Kaliakmanis gave Wauconda's defense fits. He busted off a 62-yard TD run, after faking a handoff, on Antioch's first play from scrimmage and added rushing scores from 6 and 29 yards before the end of the first quarter to put the Sequoits up 21-0.
Fleck, who got a verbal commitment from Kaliakmanis in the spring, had not seen the junior QB play in person before.
"I wasn't scared. I knew I had to perform tonight," Kaliakmanis said. "I just felt, 'If I can't play in front of Big Ten coaches, how am I going to play in front of 70,000 people?' I just had to take control of it."
Kaliakmanis added a TD run from 7 yards out in the second quarter, extending Antioch's lead to 28-0 by halftime, and sneaked in from the 1 with 2:53 left in the third to commence a running clock. He finished with 10 rushes for 133 yards and went 8-of-16 passing for 86 yards (no TDs, no turnovers).
Although the Sequoits missed achieving their third shutout in a row, they extended their streak of not allowing any points in a quarter to 11 straight. Wauconda scored midway through the fourth quarter on Nick Bulgarelli's 11-yard touchdown pass to Javerius McGuinn.
"It's a little bit of all of us," Shaputis said of the defense. "Our backfield, a lot of our guys really know what they're doing. We work on it every day. It's a lot of repetitiveness in practice. A lot of people hate it, but it's very useful for us. It's something we need to keep practicing."
Shaputis had a first-quarter sack and shared one with Lucas Bentley. Andrew DeBoer and Elkanah Gahima also registered sacks. Antioch limited Wauconda to 88 yards rushing.
"Our defense, every day this off-season, they weren't satisfied," Kaliakmanis said. "I'd see a lot of defensive guys in the weight room every day. Even (Shaputis), he was tiny, but now he's a grown man (5 feet 11, 180 pounds). They watch a lot of film with Coach Proffitt. They're all mental geeks. They're really prepared."
Antioch limited Bulgarelli to 113 passing yards (11 of 20).
"(Nos.) 16 (McGuinn) and 12 (JJ Jacobo) are the playmakers," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said of Wauconda's returning all-NLCC wide receivers. "We had to shut down the playmakers, and I thought we did a good job of that. And Bulgarelli, not just throwing the ball, he makes plays with his feet, like Athan. But our defense is so gosh darn fast."