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Geneva's offense finally cools off
By John Lemon | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/7/2010 1:13 AM

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If you root for the Geneva football team and find out coach Rob Wicinski is running his Mayday or NASCAR packages, it's probably not your night.

Lemont took the lead in the first two minutes and forced Geneva to play from behind the rest of the night. The Vikings couldn't do it, getting away from what Wicinski likes to do best and falling 28-10 Saturday night in Lemont in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Lemont (11-0) will travel to Marmion (10-1) next week for the quarterfinals. They snapped Geneva's 8-game win streak by slowing a sizzling Viking offense that had scored 69 points in each of their previous two games.

"They are a real strong ballclub, I hope they make a run," said Geneva's leading rusher Connor Quinn, who tried to play through a painful bone bruise on his knee but missed most of the second half.

"They definitely are talented enough. They have the players. They were definitely a strong defense and flew to the ball. We just couldn't catch them in those angles and get a breakaway."

Geneva (8-3) finished with 103 yards rushing on 36 carries, just 2.9 per attempt. Matt Williams completed 11 of 21 passes for 100 yards, 4.8 per attempt.

The explosive plays that had been so plentiful all year were nowhere to be found.

"We didn't make plays like we should," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "We didn't quite have enough bullets tonight. We didn't make enough plays tonight and all credit to them."

Lemont stopped Geneva 3-and-out to open the game with Dylan Nobregas starting in place of Quinn. A 10-yard punt gave Lemont a short field, and two plays later quarterback Mike Hall lofted a 31-yard fade in the right corner of the end zone to Lee Taylor for a 7-0 lead.

Geneva answered with a pair of long drives. Ben Moore capped a 15-play march with a 31-yard field goal. Then with the Vikings on a 12-play drive looking for the lead, Danny Lombardo intercepted Williams at the 6-yard line.

Lemont's other first-half touchdown came after they punted and the ball hit a Geneva blocker. Lemont recovered and got another short field. Clayton Fejedelem leapt over the pile and into the end zone on 4th-and-goal from the 1 with 51 seconds left before halftime to give Lemont a 14-3 lead.

"We spend a lot of time on special teams," Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen said. "It's helped us with field position, it's helped us with turnovers all season."

Geneva outgained Lemont 127-73 in the first half and had 8 first downs to Lemont's 3, yet the two turnovers led to the Vikings having to chase 11 points. Geneva lost the turnover battle 3-1.

"You just don't beat good teams when you turn the ball over like that," Wicinski said.

Lemont took six minutes off the clock on the opening drive of the second half that ended on Ryan Landrum's interception in the end zone. A Geneva three-and-out that Wicinski said was one of the game's turning points followed, and Lemont quickly made it 21-3 on its next possession on Fejedelem's 3-yard touchdown run.

From there it was a lot of Mayday and NASCAR for the Geneva offense. The Vikings did have one glimmer of hope when Williams' screen pass to Nobregas went for a 27-yard touchdown to trim Lemont's lead to 21-10 with 3:05 remaining.

Joe Cella followed by recovering an onside kick but after a first down pass to Doug Berthold Geneva turned the ball over on downs. Fejedelem who had never scored a touchdown broke free on a 43-yard score for his third TD and conclude the scoring.

Quinn, who entered the game with 19 touchdowns and an area-best 1,195 rushing yards, didn't practice all week. He finished with 66 yards Saturday on 15 carries.

"We were nursing him along, we kind of hoped he could play," Wicinski said. "He showed a lot of grit just to play."

Geneva has plenty to look back and like about its 2010 season, especially its recovery from an 0-2 start to win the Upstate Eight Conference River Division, the Vikings' seventh straight conference title.

"I couldn't ask for more," Quinn said. "Obviously I'd have liked to go to state but that's over now. I hope to try to play next year somewhere but I'm going to miss these guys."

"I'm really proud of the seniors," Wicinski said. "We punched out of the gate 0-2 and it was like Armageddon in Geneva. I knew we had played some good football and if we could just get our pieces in the right spot we'd be in pretty good shape."