Michael Kurtz carries Yorkville to historic win over Kaneland

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Michael Kurtz is only a high school senior, but the significance of this win wasn’t lost on him.

“This is huge for us,” said the Yorkville running back. “It pushes us over the hump.”

Kurtz gave the Foxes’ home fans a night to remember Friday, going for 306 yards and four touchdowns in a watershed 41-25 Northern Illinois Big XII East win over Kaneland.

How significant was this?

Consider the last time Yorkville (4-0, 1-0) beat Kaneland (2-2, 0-1) was 2002 —when the two were members of the Suburban Prairie East.

It also matches the Foxes’ fastest start since 2011, which is what fourth-year coach Karl Hoinkes focused on.

“These kids were 4 years old the last time we beat (Kaneland),” Hoinkes said. “They don’t know history. We want to make our own history. Kaneland’s a good team. I think we proved we’re a pretty good team [Friday], too.”

Kaneland rallied from an early 14-3 hole to take its only lead, 19-14 on Isaac Swithers’ 1-yard TD run with 5:51 left in the third quarter.

Before the Knights could celebrate, Kurtz answered with a first-play, 65-yard scoring burst.

Kurtz wasn’t done, taking a draw for another 65-yard score and later shaking off two tackles for a 20-yard TD.

In a stunning turn of events, Yorkville scored 27 unanswered points to go ahead 41-19.

“That fired me up when they scored,” said Kurtz, who had 26 carries. “Their defense was actually calling our plays at the line. To still move the ball was incredible.”

Incredible, yes, considering Kaneland held Week 3 opponent Rich Central to minus-27 rushing yards. There was no answer for Kurtz.

“They won the battle up front,” Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. “We have to look at ourselves and see what we have to take care of.”

Kaneland quarterback Jake Marczuk was 20-for-36 passing for 253 yards with a late touchdown to Tanner Robertson, but was intercepted three times and sacked four more. Kaneland twice settled for field goals inside the red zone.

“Our ‘D’ made plays when they had to,” Hoinkes said.

Quite a turnaround for Yorkville, beaten by Kaneland by a combined 96-0 score last two years. Also what a difference a year makes for Kurtz, who suffered a concussion this same Week 4 last year versus LaSalle-Peru and missed the rest of the year.

“I’d like to stay healthy all year, but I didn’t really think about (the injury) this week,” Kurtz said. “Just stick to my job.”

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