DeKalb drops Metea Valley in season opener
Forget a statement game. DeKalb quarterback Trenton Kyler said the Barbs are aiming bigger.
"This whole season is a statement season just to show DeKalb can play with 8A schools," the senior quarterback said after the Barbs' 58-21 win against Metea Valley on Saturday to open play in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Kyler finished 114 yards in the air with two scores, and another 52 on the ground with a rushing touchdown.
" ... They're darned good," Metea Valley coach John Parpet said of DeKalb. "They're quarterback might be the best player in our league. We knew it was going to have to be a shootout for us to win. Didn't expect it to be that extreme against us, but I tell you I thought our kids continued to compete."
The Barbs (1-0, 1-0) scored on every possession except their final one on which time expired.
Down 14-0, the Mustangs (0-1, 0-1) got on the board early in the second quarter with quarterback Logan Frederick finding John Flynn for a 14-yard scoring pass.
Frederick was 22 of 34 for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Two of them went to Jalen Johnson, who had 11 catches for 140 yards. Flynn had two scores.
"We knew we weren't going to be able run the football against them," Parpet said. "They're really good inside. So we had our gameplan going in. ... I was really happy with the way we played offensively."
DeKalb coach Keith Snyder said he expected the Mustangs to rely on the pass, but wasn't expecting the 34 passes to just nine rushing attempts.
"We were not ready for a full-on air-raid circa Kentucky with Tim Couch," Snyder said. "We had an idea, we saw some stuff online. We knew some of the air-raid concepts they were going to run. But we didn't think they were going to throw it 35-40 times Week 1. Can't say we saw that one coming."
Snyder said he was pleased with the way the team adjusted, something he credited to the coaching staff.
"Oh, God, I thought we responded phenomenally," Snyder said. "We were able to do some things defensively on the fly that a year ago we just weren't able to do. We were just so young. Today we were throwing some stuff at them, on the fly and they did a fantastic job listening."
After the Mustangs pulled to within seven, the Barbs responded with 30 straight points. They immediately rolled off an 11-play drive in 3 minutes, 59 seconds that ended with Tucker Ikens plunging in from a yard out.
The defense forced a three-and-out, then the offense scored in just three plays, capped by a 17-yard run from Ikens.
"The kid is deceptively fast," Snyder said of Ikens. "He's got good athleticism and he runs tough. ... That was the plan moving him to offense was to see stuff like that out of him."
Metea Valley again went three and out, and this time the punt sailed out the back of the end zone with 0:35 left in the half.
DeKalb went for some more points, with Kyler finding sophomore Cooper Phelps for a 31-yard gain before Ikens punched in his third score of the game for a 37-7 halftime lead.
"We had confidence in our offense and ourselves," Kyler said. "Obviously defense isn't going to be perfect, nor is offense, but it's a big responsibility on us to score almost every drive if not every drive. And we scored every drive basically this whole game."
Overall, Snyder said he was pleased with how the DeKalb defense played.
"Life in the DVC, the quarterback is going to be a college player after his senior year," Snyder said of Metea. "Jalen Johnson is a phenomenal receiver, as good as there is in the conference. I don't care who is offering him yet. He's as good as there is. He's going to be a nightmare in the next year. I'm just glad I have at least another six months until I have to see him again."