Kaneland rallies to edge Morris

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Kaneland rallies to edge Morris

By Rick Armstrong
Season Pass

Kaneland went big, literally, early in the second half Friday to help change the momentum. Then, the Knights held on for a wild ride to the finish in a 33-30 win over Morris.

Junior quarterback Drew Davids second touchdown pass of the game to Zack Martinelli, from five yards out with 27 seconds remaining, gave the Knights the win on the sixth and final lead change of the game.

The kids a trooper, hes a warrior out there playing with a hurt hand, Morris coach Alan Thorson said of the 6-foot, 175-pound David, who sat out the previous weeks game and played this one with his right wrist and hand heavily taped.

He took some shots from the hard-hitting Redskin defense, especially 6-5, 250-pound Danny Friend, but kept getting up.

We had to pressure him and the times we didnt pressure him, he hurt us, Thorson said. I dont know if it was bad coverage or he made some great throws, either way, give Kaneland credit for a great win.

David completed 13 of 21 passes for 207 yards and three TDs. Davids first score came on 59-yarder to Martinelli late in the first quarter of what started as a defensive struggle in the battle of Northern Illinois Big 12 East unbeatens. David also found Dylan Nauert in the fourth quarter for a 13-yard score.

The first half was all defense, Thorson said. I think the offenses were kind of feeling each other out.

The Redskins went to the break with a 10-7 lead after Zach Cinnamon answered the first Martinelli score with a 3-yard run to cap a 56-yard drive.

Kaneland was driving for another score in the final minute of the second period but linebacker Nik Countryman tipped a David pass and Josh Lincoln grabbed it and went 79 yards to setup Fernando Del Toro for a 34-yard field for the lead.

Kanelands Matt Rodriguez had field goals of 41 and 38 yards in the second half but the Knight offense got ontrack when coach Tom Fedderly went heavy with two linemen playing up backs in a wildcat formation and Jesse Balluff taking a direct snap that led to a 53-yard scoring run to open the third quarter.

We put our noseguard, Jaumaureo Phillips, who is 340, at tackle and had Justin Diddell, who is 280 at one back and Joe Komel was the little guy back there at 275, Fedderly said. We thought it could get us going and establish some rhythm.

Thorson said his team was surprised by the move.

We saw them run wildcat with Balluff last week and practiced for it, but they didnt have the big guys in the backfield, so that was a new wrinkle, he said. They got one TD off it before we stopped it.

Cinnamon, who had thrown only 51 passes coming into the game, finished 7 of 13 for 131 yards and one score, a 16-yarder to Anthonee Monson.

Redskin wideout Jake Hogan had two receptions for 62 yards and set up a Reese Sobol 20-yard scoring run by returning a Kaneland kickoff 63 yards to the Knight 32. He had a 90-yard kickoff return for a score called back by a block in the back penalty in the first half.

Cinnamons 49-yard scoring run down the sideline with 1:58 remaining gave Morris a short-lived 30-27.

Our defense really set the tone for us because the offense came out slow, David said. They helped us out and got us back on track.

It wasnt wrapped up, though, until the final play of the game. After Kanelands final score, Morris reached the 50 when Cinnamon hauled in a 19-yard pass from Friend after throwing a lateral to the tight end.

The Redskins quarterback was sacked by Ryan Lawrence and Sam Bower as time ran out, however.

Theres one of two direction we can go with this, Thorson said. We can let it affect us in a negative way, which I know is not going to happen, or we can get angry and take it out on everyone we play in thw playoffs.

Knowing this group and their character like I do, thats whats gonna happen.

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

WASHINGTON – The Cubs swiftly reacted to Miguel Montero’s jaw-dropping criticism of Jake Arrieta, dumping the veteran catcher the day after the Washington Nationals ran wild with seven stolen bases and exposed some of the issues within the visiting clubhouse.

You could read the writing on the wall Wednesday morning when Anthony Rizzo’s comments on his weekly WMVP-AM 1000 appearance went viral. An All-Star first baseman who is tight with management and picky about when he decides to speak up called out Montero as a “selfish player.”

In designating Montero for assignment – a source confirmed catcher Victor Caratini will also be promoted from Triple-A Iowa – the Cubs will have to eat roughly half of his $14 million salary in the final year of his contract. 

Montero’s biggest sin is that he no longer produces like the two-time All-Star he had been with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he developed a reputation for blunt honesty and a willingness to mentor young players. The Cubs wanted that edge when they traded for Montero at the 2014 winter meetings, part of a dramatic makeover that included signing ace pitcher Jon Lester to a $155 million megadeal.

Montero’s goofy “#WeAreGood” hashtag on Twitter became a symbol for a rising franchise and a loose team that didn’t care about the weight of history. 

But where Montero could be the spokesman in Arizona and wear the target on his back, a backup catcher can’t torch a Cy Young Award winner and the team’s running-game strategy when he is 0-for-31 and Contreras is throwing guys out 34 percent of the time.     

Montero welcomed Contreras and Kyle Schwarber to the big leagues, generously trying to help with their learning curve, even as they kept taking his playing time. Montero didn’t exactly have the same reaction to David Ross becoming a media darling and a crossover celebrity.

[RELATED: Miguel Montero sends classy goodbye to Cubs players and fans]

Montero already put himself in jeopardy in the immediate World Series aftermath, ripping manager Joe Maddon in a radio interview on the same day as the championship parade and Grant Park rally.  

Montero couldn’t help himself, even after delivering a pinch-hit grand slam against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, and driving in what turned out to be the winning run in the 10th inning against the Cleveland Indians in a World Series Game 7.

Montero wouldn’t bite his tongue late Tuesday night after a sloppy, frustrating 6-1 loss at Nationals Park. With a 39-38 record, several key players on the disabled list and a clubhouse far more complex than Maddon’s Woodstock visions, the Cubs are in crisis mode.   

“It really sucks because the stolen bases go on me,” Montero said. “When you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time. It’s just like: ‘Yeah, OK, Miggy can’t throw nobody out.’ Yeah, but my pitchers don’t hold anybody on. It’s tough, because it doesn’t matter how much work I put in.

“If I don’t get a chance to throw, that’s the reason why they were running left and right today, because they know he was slow to the plate. Simple as that. It’s a shame that it’s my fault because I didn’t throw anybody out.”

Miguel Montero sends a classy goodbye to Cubs players and fans

Miguel Montero sends a classy goodbye to Cubs players and fans

Miguel Montero's Tuesday night comments showed questionable judgement, but the veteran catcher was all class in a farewell statement.

Montero said goodbye to his Cubs teammates, staff members and the city of Chicago Wednesday in a series of Tweets:

It's a perfect way for Montero to sign off, using the hashtag that united fans in 2015 as the Cubs' championship window first opened.

Montero has been an integral part of the Cubs the last three years, hitting maybe the biggest home run in franchise history (the grand slam in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers) and helping mentor Willson Contreras.