Just what Geneva needs another offensive weapon.
As if Matt Williams, Parker Woodworth and Ben Rogers aren't enough ... meet Bobby Hess.
With underdog St. Charles East playing inspired football and leading the state's No. 8 ranked Class 7A team in the third quarter, the junior running back Hess changed that with one carry.
Hess broke several tackles on a slippery field, staying on his feet and bouncing outside on his way to a 63-yard touchdown run. That gave Geneva its first lead of the game, 21-17, and the Vikings added two more touchdowns in a dominating second-half effort for a 35-17 victory.
Hess made the most of his 5 carries gaining 86 yards. Woodworth was still the star with 183 yards and 3 touchdowns on 28 carries, but getting Hess back and healthy should make Geneva that much more dangerous.
"It's nice to see Bobby Hess get his feet wet," Vikings coach Rob Wicinski said. "I hope he supplies another threat for us."
Geneva (3-0, 1-0) entered on a high after two impressive nonconference wins while St. Charles East (0-3, 0-1) was winless. But it was the Saints who jumped out to the lead on the opening kickoff on their way to a 17-14 halftime advantage.
"Probably (a letdown) but our coaches tried real hard not to let that happen," Geneva offensive lineman Jake Mills said. "We just weren't ready. Today was an off-day for us."
After playing an excellent first half, the wheels came off for the Saints in the second half. Geneva took the opening drive 98 yards to grab the lead on the long run by Hess, then only had to go 14 yards for its next touchdown after a snap got away on a Saints punt.
Woodworth ended that drive with a 1-yard dive into the end zone, putting Geneva up 28-17 just over four minutes into the third quarter.
"We're a good football team if we eliminate mental mistakes," Saints coach Mike Fields said. "The first half we did."
Not so much in the second half as the Saints turned the ball over twice, finished with 10 penalties and watched Geneva run for 234 of its 357 yards after halftime.
"I thought the first half was something we can build on. We showed we could play with a top 10 team in state in 7A. Second half we shot ourselves in the foot. Couldn't get anything going," Fields said.
Woodworth capped the scoring for Geneva with a 7-yard TD run with 1:27 left in the game.
For the second straight week, Geneva gave up a touchdown on its opponent's first play. And for the second straight week, St. Charles East scored on a kickoff return.
Carter Reading kept both streaks alive when he took the opening kickoff up the middle for an 84-yard kickoff return, breaking kickoff man Williams' last-chance tackle attempt near midfield and going the rest of the way down the left sideline.
Geneva responded with a 14-play, 80-yard drive, working its way out of an 11-yard sack by Joe Hoscheit on the first play to cap the march on Woodworth's 10-yard touchdown run.
The Saints, who had not scored an offensive touchdown in their first 2 games, snapped that when Reading took a handoff right, cut back and found a seem for a 41-yard touchdown run and 14-7 lead after the first quarter.
Reading finished with 58 yards rushing on 7 carries. Charlie Fisher, in his first game as the starting quarterback, moved the offense at times with 12-of-24 passing for 163 yards and another 84 yards on the ground on 17 attempts.
"Carter looked great, Charlies looked great," Fields said. "It was signs this is what we've been working on all summer."
Geneva tied the game with 5:41 left before halftime when Williams punched the ball in from the 1.
It looked like it would remain 14-14 at halftime until Williams opted to fake a punt deep in his own territory on a 4th-and-4. The Saints tackled him 2 yards short of the first down, giving the Saints the ball at Geneva's 24. The Vikings held, but Danny Muzzalupo split the uprights from 33 yards out to give the Saints a 17-14 with 9 seconds left before halftime.
"Second half we seemed to unravel a little bit," said Fields, whose team earlier executed a fake punt of their own by Hoscheit. "It's tough starting out like this three years in a row, I'm not going to lie."