IHSA 2023 football playoffs: 4 under-the-radar Kaneland players to know

Kaneland quarterback Troyer Carlson throws a pass against La Salle-Peru at Howard Fellows Stadium on Oct. 20, 2023.

Morris has given up more than 20 points once this year. Other than against Morris, Sycamore has given up three touchdowns in a game only once.

Kaneland is responsible for both of those blemishes. The prowess of the offense is well documented, with quarterback Troyer Carlson able to spread the ball between Dom DeBlasio and Aric Johnson, while Josh Mauthe is a bruising runner.

But the defense has been becoming stronger as the year has rolled along. There also are more than just four or five players on the offense for the 7-3 Knights, who host Lake Zurich at 4 p.m. Saturday in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Here are four Kaneland players who have flown under the radar this season.

Nick Alstott, sr., OL/DL

Carlson has completed 66% of his passes this year, and aside from games like Sycamore, which features a ferocious pass rush, he hasn’t been hurried much at all. And the rushing offense has four players with at least 300 yards and more than 2,000 yards as a team.

At the center of it all is Alstott. A two-way starter, he’s a key blocker in the pass and run games for the Knights.

He’s also fifth on the team with 44 tackles. He’s got nine tackles for loss, a sack and an interception.

Sebastian Chavez, sr., LB

It’s hard to call a player with a team-leading 83 tackles overlooked. But if someone knew who led the Knights in tackles, it’s probably safe to call that person a superfan.

Chavez also has nine tackles for loss, four sacks and three pass breakups this year. It’s in service of a defense that has two shutouts this year. After giving up two 40-plus performances in the first three weeks, the Knights haven’t given up more than 22 points since.

Dylan San Augustin, jr., WR

If teams want to focus on Johnson (38 catches, 882 yards, 10 touchdowns) or DeBlasio (32-587-5), Kaneland has another option.

San Augustin has 13 catches for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Obviously, Johnson and DeBlasio are more the focal point of other team’s defensive plans, but San Augustin has proved to be a play-making target for Carlson, as well.

Michael Layne, sr., DB

So 12 tackles, one for loss, may not seem like eye-popping numbers.

But teams that don’t want to throw in the direction of Tony DeBlasio (six interceptions) or Johnson (three INTs) probably see Layne as a safe alternative.

Well, saw him as one, past tense. Because Layne has made teams pay for throwing his way, as well. He has five pass breakups this year and has intercepted the ball four times. He had a key interception in a conference game against Ottawa.