ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — A couple Rockford teams are ready to square off Friday night in our Sports Connection Game Of The Week. East against Auburn.
These are two teams with some explosive athletes.
“They fly around on defense. They’re athletic. They’re like us,” said East coach Gary Griffin of the Knights.
For the E-Rabs it starts with the guy in the backfield senior running back Tayveon Lake. He was the conference’s leading rusher last season with more than 1600 yards. He’s well ahead of that pace already this season with 480 yards through two games.
“I set a goal this year. I wrote it down,” said Lake. “It’s to get like 2,000 yards this season. I worked hard over the summer. I’m still working hard now even though school started.”
“He’s a great player,” says Auburn coach JP Toldo of Lake. “He’s got really good patience running the ball. He waits for the holes to open up and then when he hits it if you don’t have anybody there he’s going to make you pay.”
The Knights have some athletes who can make people pay too like quarterback Khamani Sanders. He threw four touchdown passes in Auburn’s opening win against Guilford. There’s also receivers Davonte Stanfield and Kevin Williams and running back Maurice Huntley.
Last week that group helped the Knights beat Freeport 14-2 for their second straight win to open the season. The Knights are only one win away from matching their win total from all last season.
“This really boosts our confidence going into the season,” said Williams. “Last season wasn’t really too good for us.”
“We won two games and we did come off a losing season last year not making the playoffs, so this year we’re just hoping we get more wins and make the playoffs,” said Stanfield.
East is 1-1 following an opening loss to Belvidere North and then a win a win against Belvidere.
Winning this game Friday would be huge in terms of enhancing the playoff chances for either one of these teams and boosting their odds of finishing in the top part of the NIC-10.
“This is a big game for me and a big game for my coach and especially a big game for the team so we’re ready,” said Lake.
“We’ve got to win on first down on defense and offense,” said Toldo. “We need to protect the football. We’ve definitely got to contain Lake.”
Catch the highlights Friday night at 10 p.m. on WTVO 17 and again this weekend on the half-hour Sports Connection (10:30 a.m. Saturday on MyNetwork TV and 9:00 a.m. Sunday on Fox 39).