Kaneland seniors enjoy one last home victory
Anthony Clevenger wanted to make a statement playing in his final home game on Peterson Field.
Kaneland's senior defensive back did just that as he helped led 24 of his fellow seniors to another incredible effort on defense. The Knights stifled Plano 26-6 in an Interstate Eight Conference matchup Friday evening in Maple Park.
"It started with our defensive line which created so much pressure and I'm there to back them up," Clevenger said. "This meant the world to me and to all of us on this team but especially tonight for a true brotherhood of seniors. To go out like this with such a special performance on senior night is just amazing."
So was the play of Clevenger and company, which held Plano to 116 yards of total offense and five first downs, with only one through the first three quarters.
Clevenger along with senior teammates John Davis, Jackson Certa, and Markus Suggs all registered five tackles while senior linebacker Erik Teran doubled down with a team-best 10 tackles.
"There's not enough words to describe how well our defense is playing right now," Kaneland coach Pat Ryan said. "They're so dominant, so good against the pass, so good against the run and all three levels of our defense are playing lights out right now. I couldn't have asked for a better performance tonight from these guys and all our amazing seniors in their last time playing on this field."
Plano's defense wasn't too bad either, forcing Kaneland into three turnovers and another after a bad snap on a punt as the Knights only led 7-0 at halftime.
But Kaneland (3-1) came alive offensively in the second half and ended up with 289 yards of total offense. Junior Corey Phillips ran for 140 yards on 23 carries, freshman quarterback Troyer Carlson threw for 146 yards and junior Sam Gagne had six receptions for 83 yards.
But it was ultimately the Knights defense that ruled the proceedings in the end.
"That's the best defense over there in our league hands down," Plano coach Rick Ponx said. "We knew that going in that they have a ton of seniors, bigger, stronger kids and that made a difference tonight. We were able to hold our own for awhile but overall they were just too talented and their experience took over our inexperience. But I'm proud of our guys and their effort overall."
After three turnovers on fumbles and a botched punt attempt, Kaneland finally got on the board late in the second quarter as Carlson hit fellow freshman Aric Johnson with a 31-yard touchdown strike with 1:55 to go in the half for a 7-0 halftime lead.
On the Knights' second possession of the second half, Phillips plunged home from the 1-yard line to make it 13-0 at the 2:59 mark of the third quarter.
After a quick three-and-out, Carlson nailed Gagne on a nifty post pattern from 36 yards out that gave Kaneland a 20-0 lead with 58 seconds left in the third quarter.
Phillips then broke lose at 9:47 of the final quarter with a 48-yard touchdown run at 9:47 to put his team up 26-0.
"My line blocked so well for me tonight and on that run they gave me a great hole to blast through," Phillips said. "Our offense finally came alive in the second half but credit to our defense and to all the seniors tonight."
Plano would end the proceedings with a 28-yard touchdown run from Raymond Jones (19 carries, 58 yards) with 47 seconds to go in the contest.
Luca Schoensee made a game-high 15 tackles for the Reapers.