Talyn Taylor, Geneva cruise past Lake Park
It isn't often that one of his Geneva teammates can steal even a sliver of the spotlight from talented receiver Talyn Taylor.
Finnegan Weppner was able to do that Friday during the Vikings' 41-7 victory over Lake Park in a DuKane Conference game.
Still, even as Weppner was hauling in his first touchdown of the season on a remarkable catch with a defender in his face, Taylor was a major factor on the play that gave the Vikings (4-0, 2-0) a 14-0 lead. He was the one throwing the pass to Weppner, adding another dimension to his sizable offensive arsenal.
"We drew that up this week and I was really hoping we were going to run it," said Weppner, who finished with five catches for 62 yards. "When I found out we were, I got a little nervous. But as soon as I saw Talyn throw the ball I knew all eyes were on me, so I have to make the play. First thing I did after it was go up to Talyn and say, 'Dude, that was like the best throw I've ever seen.'"
The night was filled with Geneva highlights and standout performances, led by Taylor.
The junior caught five passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his first varsity touchdown pass. Just two minutes after his scoring toss, Taylor electrified the crowd again with an 11-yard, one-handed grab caught in full stride that put the Vikings ahead 21-0. He later put an exclamation point on the victory with a 68-yard catch and run down the sideline.
"I love to have the ball in my hands," Taylor said. "So whatever I can do to help contribute to the team and help score touchdowns, I love to do that."
Other highlight performances included quarterback Nate Stempowski throwing for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Rumoro caught a touchdown pass, ran for another and forced a fumble with a crushing hit on special teams that returned momentum to the Vikings at a key point in the second half.
And, Dane Turner's interception and subsequent 42-yard return set the stage for Taylor's first TD catch, which gave Geneva a 21-0 lead barely two minutes into the second quarter.
Down 21-0, running back Declan Fortuna gave Lake Park (2-2, 0-2) life, carrying the load on a quick, 50-yard scoring drive after the defense forced Geneva's first punt. Fortuna burst for 20 and 27 yards on consecutive runs, then capped the drive by jitterbugging his way in from the 3, making it 21-7. He'd gained only 33 yards on his first 13 carries before that drive, and finished with 100 yards on the ground.
Geneva accounted for all the scoring in the second half with a Stempowski-to-Dylan Reyes touchdown pass, a 7-yard TD run from Rumoro and Taylor's long scoring play that came courtesy of backup quarterback Anthony Chahino.
"I've got a lot of weapons outside and our running back (Rumoro) is awesome," Stempowski said. "I have good chemistry with all my receivers, so if Talyn is getting double or triple covered, I know I can get the ball to Dylan or Finn and trust them to make the play."