Carlson, Johnson, Ruchaj combine to lift Kaneland to win

Updated 9/17/2021 11:33 PM

Troyer Carlson threw three touchdowns, Aric Johnson scored three times, Chris Ruchaj rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Sam Gagne hauled in a pair as Kaneland rolled past Woodstock North 56-21 on Friday night.

"The atmosphere was good and we were all pumped for this game," Ruchaj said. "Honestly, when I walked out I got nervous because it was the first time in two years having a large crowd like this, but it was nice to have everyone back. It was a lot of fun. The offensive line blocked well and the offense was moving great."


Woodstock North (0-4) matched Kaneland (2-2) early, knotting the score at 14-14 on quarterback Jay Zinnen's 49-yard run with 7:31 still left to play in the opening quarter.

The Knights scored the next 42 points.

"I think whenever we play a team like that, that has a strong triple option, sometimes it takes a series or two to get a feel for the speed," Knights coach Pat Ryan said. "It's hard to replicate in practice because we don't run it. I think once our guys kind of settled in and saw the speed of it, and sorted out some mistakes, we were doing OK"

Carlson connected with Gagne on a gorgeous 35-yard pass right in stride late in the first quarter and again from 40 yards out early in the second quarter. He'd also connect with Dom DeBlasio for a 4-yard strike.

"He throws a good ball and he's really starting to mature as a quarterback and as a team leader for us," Ryan said. "So we're excited that we still have him, that's he's young and he's developing the way he is."

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Johnson scored on a 59-yard run on the second play of the game and after the Thunder tied the game on Zinnen's 46-yard score, Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown.

"I was open and my blockers were there," Johnson said. "As soon as I got the ball, I just had to take off and run as far as I could."

He'd add a 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Ruchaj followed his 30-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter with a 53-yard run for a score midway through the third quarter to spark the running mercy clock. Meanwhile, the Knights defense was busy getting their offense back on the field, getting a big sack from A.J. Macaluso and an interception from Alex Panico.

"We started marking out reads better and doing our jobs better and making stops to get them off the field," Macaluso said. "The way our offense was moving tonight, putting up 56 points, that's a heck of a game. There's not much better than this as our first home game and taking a win by this much."

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