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Geneva doesn't let 0-2 start keep it down
By John Lemon | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 10/2/2010 9:07 PM

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Everyone inside the Geneva football program knows how far the Vikings have come the last four weeks.

That improvement also is apparent to coaches doing everything they can to beat the Vikings.

Batavia's Mike Gaspari watched intently the second of Geneva's two straight season-opening losses to Morgan Park on Sept. 4.

His next up-close look at the Vikings came on the sidelines at Bulldog Stadium Friday night where that same Geneva team ran over the Bulldogs 40-21.

Night and day difference according to Gaspari, especially when talking about Geneva offensive linemen James Buban, Kevin Dwyer, Brett Willman, Jake Mills and Jacob Bastin. They paved the way for Connor Quinn, who is continuing Geneva's outstanding tailback tradition, adding 136 yards and 2 more touchdowns in Friday's win.

"They have come a long ways in terms of how physical they have become," Gaspari said. "The way they come off the ball, their whole team, particularly their offensive line, is playing a lot better than at that point in the season. Credit to (Geneva coach) Rob (Wicinski) and his staff."

Any disappointment in Geneva over a rare 0-2 start has been replaced with the excitement of four straight Upstate Eight wins in high profile local matchups. With three of the victories coming against Tri-Cities rivals Batavia, St. Charles East and St. Charles North and the other over improved Elgin that just surprised St. Charles North the Vikings are back on track.

Not that Wicinski ever thought they were that far off.

"We didn't play bad football the first two games," Wicinski said. "We weren't discouraged. Just keep doing what we are doing, we're OK. We'll keep getting better each week. They definitely have made progress."

There certainly isn't any shame in the opening losses to Rock Island and Morgan Park teams that are a combined 11-1 after two more wins Friday. And there's no doubt that quality of opponent helped Geneva get better.

"We saw the speed they play with, the way we need to fire off and make holes," Mills said. "We never got down (being 0-2)."

"We were beating ourselves the first two games," Geneva quarterback Matt Williams said. "We talked about it, we matured as a team and we've come together."

Like Wicinski and Mills, Williams said there was no finger-pointing, no heads hanging. Just determination to cut down on mistakes and get better.

"We believed in ourselves. We believed if we kept focusing and kept our heads up we knew we'd come back up," said the confident Williams, who wouldn't mind a second chance at both Rock Island and Morgan Park.

"If we play them again I think it would be trouble for them."

Along with the offensive line, Wicinski said the passing game and defense have come along the most the past four games.

"The defense the last two weeks has improved leaps and bounds," Wicinski said. "The linebackers are starting to get it. The (offensive) line keeps getting better and better. We were way behind in the passing game at the start of year but those kids are coming along."

The hard part of the UEC River schedule is over for Geneva. A win Friday at Streamwood will clinch at least a share of a seventh straight conference title a streak some might have thought could be coming to an end after seeing the team early.

But the Vikings never thought that.

"I'm proud of them," Wicinski said. "They've done a good job."