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Sports

Knights charge up and down field to top Ottawa

OTTAWA — On their senior night and in their 2017 season finale, the Ottawa Pirates got in on the big-play action.

They simply weren't able to do it as much as the potent Kaneland Knights.
Kaneland (6-3) racked up exactly 600 yards of offense and scored touchdowns on eight of its first nine possessions, punching its ticket to the IHSA playoffs with a 55-12 topping of the host Pirates (1-8) here Friday at King Field.
"We're pretty balanced," said Kaneland head coach Pat Ryan, whose squad ran for 343 yards and threw for 257. "We can run the ball, we can throw, and I think if a team tries to take away the run we can throw the ball, and if they try to take away the pass we run on 'em. We can do both effectively.
"We have that balance, and we have some pretty explosive players."
The Knights put up 48 points and 483 yards of offense before halftime, with senior quarterback Jack Douglas 10-of-13 for 257 yards and five touchdowns by the break — four of those touchdowns (17, six, 25 and 68 yards) hauled in by fellow senior Josh Marczuk, who finished with 141 yards receiving. The Knights also posted a pair of 100-yard rushers led by Jonathan Alstott, cousin of former NFL fullback Mike Alstott, and his 178 yards on 20 carries.
"There are just too many people to try and cover, too many things to try to stop," OHS head coach Trent Swords said of the Kaneland offense. "We tried to take something away, and they countered with something else. 
"Kaneland is a very good football team. They're co-conference champs on the other side (of the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference) and going to the playoffs for a reason."
As impressive as the Knights were, the Pirates used a couple big plays to stay within striking distance early. 
After Kaneland took the opening kickoff and scored, then recovered an onside kick and scored again, Ottawa fumbled the snap on its first offensive play from scrimmage. The Pirates took the ball back, however, when Matt Snyder recovered a JoJo Jackson-forced fumble, then OHS cashed in on a crowd-pleasing 92-yard reverse-option pass from junior running back Jared Herzog to wide open senior Austin Snyder.
"We had a halfback pass, but we added the reverse to it this past Monday during practice and it was working all during the week," said Austin Snyder, who hauled in the pass and raced untouched up the both sideline for the score to make it 14-6. "I honestly didn't expect to do it so early in the game, but it worked just as we thought it would.
"When I looked back for the ball I didn't see any defenders, and I thought, 'Wow, this is going of six.' It was a beautiful pass. I was just hoping I wouldn't drop it."
After Kaneland's third touchdown just 67 seconds later, the Pirates took possession again and used another big play to get on the scoreboard — an 84-yard touchdown sprint up the north sideline by 12th-grade leading rusher Ethan Harsted, who finished with a team-high 111 yards rushing.
Kaneland then scored the game's final 34 points to secure its at-large postseason berth.
Josh Jackson added 29 yards rushing for Ottawa, while Slaten Swords was held to seven yards passing on seven attempts. Defensively, Jake Ovanic (10 tackles) and Brence Smith combined on a sack of Douglas, senior Bryant Morgan registered 11 tackles, 12th-grader Joey Owens had a pass defensed, and seniors Andru Backos (15 tackles), Isaac Jung, Smith and Tre Fritz all notched tackles for a loss.
"There are lots of different ways to measure a football team; lots of different ways to measure a person," said Coach Swords. "One of those ways is to look at our win/loss record. That's one way to measure us, but I choose to measure the other qualities that these young men have, the young men they've become and the men they're continuing to become.
"I'm really proud of them. They worked really hard, and they're going to go on and do great things."
 
 
At King Field, Ottawa
Kaneland 55, Ottawa 12
Kaneland (6-3) 21 27  7  0 — 55
Ottawa (1-8) 12  0  0  0 — 12
Scoring summary
First quarter
K — Marczuk 17 pass from Douglas (Bartholemew kick), 8:40, 7-0.
K — Jones 14 run (Matarangas kick), 6:44, 14-0.
O — A. Snyder 92 pass from Herzog (kick wide left), 4:47, 14-6.
K — Jones 2 run (Bartholemew kick), 3:40, 21-6.
O — Harsted 84 run (kick wide left), 1:38, 21-12.
Second quarter
K — Marczuk 25 pass from Douglas (kick wide left), 10:24, 27-12.
K — Marczuk 25 pass from Douglas (Bartholemew kick), 5:10, 34-12.
K — Marczuk 68 pass from Douglas (Matarangas kick), 2:31, 41-12.
K — Gagne 62 pass from Douglas (Bartholemew kick), 0:25.1, 48-12.
Third quarter
K — Alstott 6 run (Matarangas kick), 2:10, 55-12.
Team statistics
 KNL  OTT
First downs 27 6
Rushes-Yards 43-343 26-149
Passing yards 257 99
Total offense 600 248
Comp-Att-Int. 10-14-0 4-10-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-64 6-45
Punts-Avg. 1-33.0 3-29.0
Time of possession 24:09 23:51
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Kaneland — Alstott 20-178, Jones 10-107, Shaw 4-32, Selvaggi 5-24, Marczuk 1-8, Hayes 1-3, Douglas 2-(-9). Ottawa — Harsted 8-111, Josh Jackson 9-29, Herzog 2-16, Backos 2-4, Hobbs 2-1, M. Snyder 1-(-3), Swords 2-(-9).
PASSING (C-A-TD-INT-YD): Kaneland — Douglas 10-14-5-0-257. Ottawa — Herzog 1-2-1-0-92, Swords 3-7-0-1-7, Hobbs 0-1-0-0-0.
RECEIVING: Kaneland — Marczuk 5-141, Gagne 2-93, Brost 1-9, Alstott 1-8, Angelotti 1-6. Ottawa — A. Snyder 1-92, Owens 1-6, Herzog 1-1, Harsted 1-0.

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