Friday Night Drive

Sam Pryor anchoring experienced Kaneland line as season set to start

MAPLE PARK - According to his coach, Kaneland offensive lineman Sam Pryor hasn’t missed a beat since he last played a game almost a year and a half ago.

The circumstances of that stretch have made it quite challenging, Pryor said.

“It wasn’t easy,” Pryor said with a chuckle. “We use the school weight room here, but I eventually got myself some weights.”

The Knights are set to start their six-game season, abbreviated due to the novel coronavirus, March 20 at Sycamore. They took third in the new Interstate 8 in 2019 but made the second round of the playoffs.

Without a postseason to play for this year, a conference title is the goal, Pryor said.

“That’s the expectation,” Pryor said. “These seniors, these guys are a real special group to me. We’ve been working hard and this is what we’re going to set out to do.”

Pryor has committed to play at North Central in the fall, and was an all-state selection last year.

Pryor and John Davis will anchor the right side of the Kaneland offensive line this year - both are also on the inside of the defensive line.

“With the two of them, we’re getting close to 600 pounds,” Ryan said. “It probably is over 600 pounds of human being. They’re explosive and they’re athletic for being big guys and they’re strong. I can imagine they’re going to give fits to opposing offensive lines.”

So while workouts and contact days have been spattered since the Knights last played 487 days before their game against Sycamore, Pryor said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen.

“I think we look great. We’ve been working hard,” Pryor said. “Even this last year and change, we’ve been working hard. I’m liking how good we look.”

Considering even back in January it didn’t look like there was going to be a season, Davis said he’s just trying to make the most of the opportunity.

“This is probably going to be my last year,” Davis said. “I’m just excited I’m going to be playing ball. Last chance, you know. It feels good.”

Ryan said he likes what his running back group looks like, led by returning starter Jack McIntire. ANd with them running behind four returning starters, he thinks his team will have a potent offense.

“A veteran line certainly makes us a better football team, including an all-state player coming back” Ryan said. “I think we’re going to be a team that can score some points this year, and I think we’ll be a versatile team and we’ve got some explosive players.”

Through a week of practice, not only has the team not had any COVID-19 issues, but the Knights have been able to get outside and practice without having to resort to using the gym or hallways around the school.

“I think we’re pretty fortunate the start off the season is off to the way it is,” Ryan said. “And I feel like we’re in a good place when we last got together in October. ... The weather has cooperated and the school district did a nice job getting our field ready for us. We’ve been lucky with COVID and not having any issues. I think we’re pretty fortunate right now.”

Eddie Carifio

Eddie Carifio

Has been the sports editor in DeKalb since 2014.