Kaneland dominates Ottawa again
OTTAWA -- Any football coach will tell you that while they always have a Plan A heading into each Friday night, they always have to have Plan B ready to go.
That was the case for the Kaneland Knights and head coach Pat Ryan, at least on the offensive side of the ball, during Friday night's Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 White Division contest against Ottawa at King Field on the Pirates' homecoming.
However, the visitors were able to make the right adjustments and score on five of their seven first-half possessions on the way to a 41-14 running-clock triumph.
Kaneland has now won all six meetings between the two programs.
Senior running back Tyler Bradshaw ran for 85 yards on 12 carries and scored four touchdowns in the opening half, while quarterback Troyer Carlson and Aric Johnson hooked up for a pair of TDs to highlight the Knights' offense. The Kaneland defense was just as impressive, holding the hosts to just 36 total yards in the first half and 138 for the game.
"Some of the things, running outside being one, we'd thought we'd be able to have success with tonight Ottawa did a pretty good job of defending that," said Kaneland head coach Pat Ryan, his squad now 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the league. "We made some adjustments and found some other things that worked and took advantage of them.
"I thought we ran the ball very well in the first half. It's been a theme for us throughout the offseason and the first few weeks that we have to be able to run the ball well. Our defense has done a great job all season so far, especially against the run, and we talk about not giving up big plays.
"We were able to do both of those things very well tonight."
On the game's opening possession, Kaneland drove 60 yards in eight plays capped by Bradshaw's dash around the right end from 5 yards out with the PAT floating wide.
The Knights' defense then recovered a fumble at the Ottawa 20 and on the second play, Bradshaw went around the left end this time from the 10 -- Sam Bruno's PAT kick making it 13-0.
Following another Pirates' punt to begin the second, Kaneland went 59 yards in 10 plays, with Bradshaw running the final 8 to make it 20-0. The Knights closed out the half with Bradshaw's fourth TD on a run from the 2 and a Carlson to Johnson 36-yard TD in which the latter made a leaping grab.
Kaneland then forced another punt and their 7-play, 80-yard drive ended with Carlson finding Johnson again on a 43-yard strike to make it 41-0 and start the continuous clock.
Carlson finished 10 of 15 for 193 yards, while Johnson made five catches for 137 yards. Kaneland finished with 335 total yards.
Ottawa (3-2, 0-2) scored twice in the final 9 minutes, one on a Colby Mortenson to Levi Sheehan 47-yard pass and a 15-yard run by Keevon Peterson. Mortenson finished 7 of 13 for 110 yards, Sheehan had three receptions for 73, and Ryder Miller 40 yards on nine carries.
"Kaneland is a very good team, top of our conference year in and year out, and a Class 6A playoff team every season. Coach Ryan does a great job with his teams," Ottawa head coach Chad Gross said. "They do a great job of taking what the defense is giving them.
"Defensively they made a lot of good plays tonight and created a lot of problems for us with their front. Their defensive line really got after us and their offensive line played solid as well.
"Despite the outcome, I was happy with the effort the kids gave tonight. We'll regroup and start getting ready for next week."