Kaneland falls to Sycamore in OT
Nathaniel Altepeter admitted he was starting to lose his voice from screaming so much in the fourth quarter Saturday.
All of it must have paid off in the end.
"I think we're all pretty determined as a team all around," Altepeter said following Sycamore's 12-6 overtime triumph over Kaneland in the Interstate Eight Conference. "We don't like losing a lot, too."
The game was tied 6-6 at the end of regulation, as Kaneland missed a 19-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
Sycamore rallied for one more defensive stop to start overtime on defensive back Xavier Gagnepain's interception on fourth down.
Altepeter and the Spartans then had their gut check.
A false start opened their overtime possession, but Sam Etienne pounded his way for 13 yards to set up Altepeter's decisive 2-yard score to stun a Kaneland team that had rallied with a tying touchdown in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
"I saw our tailback David [Lane] come down and block the linebacker, and I just knew we won. There was nobody else there," said Altepeter, who finished with 51 rushing yards.
Sycamore (1-0, 1-0) overcame a pair of fumbles by quarterback Caden Carrier at the goal line, one on the Spartans' final possession of the third quarter that set the stage for Kaneland's tying score in the fourth.
The Knights and linebacker Erik Teran, who had 11 tackles and a sack, forced a three-and-out inside the Sycamore 20, and on the ensuing punt Kaneland's Anthony Clevenger tackled the Spartans punter to set up the Knights at the Sycamore 6-yard line with 7:20 remaining.
Kaneland quarterback Cole Pugh took advantage of the opportunity, taking in a 1-yard TD on fourth down to tie it 6-6. But a fumbled exchange on the snap prevented the Knights from kicking the go-ahead extra point.
Lane took the ensuing kickoff 62 yards, but Carrier again fumbled at the 1-yard line with 2:39 left, which preceded Kaneland's missed field goal at the end of regulation.
"I thought our defense played outstanding," Spartans coach Joe Ryan said. "Fortunately -- unfortunately for my heart -- we've played a lot of overtime games so our kids and have an idea of what we need to do in those situations. Fortunately, we came away with this win in overtime."
Kaneland juggled both Pugh and Lane Robinson at quarterback, but Pugh played most of the snaps and finished 6-of-16 for 135 yards and one interception. Sam Gagne caught five passes for 67 yards, while running back Corey Phillips had 43 yards on the ground.
Sycamore was led by Carrier, who was 5-of-12 for 58 yards. Carrier, Lane, Etienne and Altepeter combined for 161 yards on the ground.
While the Kaneland offense stagnated for five punts in the first half, its defense harassed the Spartans into three punts and two other possessions into turnover-on-downs before allowing a score.
"Our defense played with a lot of heart and soul today," Kaneland coach Pat Ryan said. "Certainly kept us in this game. There were a couple times where [Sycamore] looked like they were on the verge of scoring and we were able to come through and force some fumbles and keep them out of the end zone.
"I can't say enough about how good our defense played. Especially that front eight, [they] really played well."