WHEATFIELD — Kankakee Valley took last week’s loss against Lafayette Harrison to heart this week as they were merciless to the visiting North Newton Spartans, knocking them out 34-0.
The Kougars scored in every quarter while their defense held the Spartans to short gains and only five first downs.
Just prior to the game, two poignant moments entranced the crowd awaiting the game. As the Kougars took to the field from the locker-room, they were led by 13 players bearing 13 American flags, one in honor of each of the 13 soldiers killed in action during the evacuation of Afghanistan.
As they ran onto the field, a recording of the poem “Why We Stand” by Maury Tate was played over the P.A.
Minutes later, one of the Valley’s best football players in the history of the school was brought out on a golf cart to be honored for his contributions to KV football.
Brian Conley, Class of 1986, was a standout running pack named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association North All-Stars. He also excelled in several other sports.
Conley, who was diagnosed with cancer, was accompanied by his mom, Joan, his wife Michelle and son Colton. He was thrilled with the reception and waived wildly to the crowd.
“Hondo,” as he is known to his friends, was wearing his trademark bandanna, and stayed on the field for the playing of the National Anthem by the Marching Kougars.
Previously, the football team had presented Conley with his number 43 jersey which he wore to the game.
As the game started, the Kougars, on their first possession, took a shot downfield with a 29-yard completed pass from Grant Stowers to Eli Deardorff along the near sideline.
Jack Lamka then rumbled in from 13 yards out to score. The PAT was missed, but KV was on the board 6-0 early in the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, KV’s Caleb Swallow forced a fumble, which was recovered by Myles Turpin. The Spartan defense, however, stopped the Kougars from scoring, forcing a field goal attempt which also hooked left of the goal posts.
In the second quarter, KV would add two more touchdowns, capitalizing on a fumble recovery by Zach Dodson and a 12-yard interception return by Swallow. Lamka scored on another short run and Grant Stowers headed into the corner on a quarterback-keeper to score again with just 1:03 left in the half.
The Kats headed into the locker room up 20-0 after Evan Misch hit both PATs after the shaky start.
After the break, KV would add two more TDs, one in each quarter on runs by Lamka and junior Max Lustig.
Kankakee Valley would wrap it up with 224 yards of total offense, 41 in the air and 183 on the ground, while holding North Newton to just 80 yards total, 71 rushing and nine yards passing.
Turpin led the defense with nine tackles and a forced fumble, while Swallow had 6.5 tackles and Max Griffey had eight.