Geneva heads into playoffs with impressive win over SCN
With playoff positioning at stake, Geneva's football team came up with big plays in high pressure situations, nabbing a 20-10 victory over St. Charles North to close the regular season.
St. Charles North's offense rolled early, driving with relative ease into the Geneva red zone. However, on a play where North Stars quarterback Ethan Plum was under pressure, he delivered a rocket just wide of his receiver that was picked off by a diving Dylan Reyes. Vikings coach Boone Thorgesen said his defense thrives in high pressure moments.
"It's huge to stop that momentum," Thorgesen said. "We stressed all week long that they are a really good football team who is playing well right now. We knew our defense had to come up and make plays. We tell the kids all the time that against a good football team, you never know which play will be the one that makes or breaks the game,"
After about 46 minutes of play, the Vikings (7-2) found themselves up 13-10 facing fourth and goal from the North Stars 4 yard line. The Vikings had already kicked two field goals on the evening and could have settled for a 20-yard chip shot to go up six. Instead, senior quarterback Nate Stempowski and the offense took the field, where he evaded pressure, rolling to his right and connected on a short touchdown pass to Troy Velez to ice the game away. Stempowski said he never doubted the play would work.
"I play shortstop in baseball so those side arm throws come easy," Stempowski said. "I just told my guy (Velez) you're gonna be open this play. I let it develop and I hit him. We had that play in the back of the book and when we took it out, it worked great for us."
For the North Stars (6-3), it was a night of near misses and bad breaks. After capping a 70-yard touchdown drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Joel Holloman to tie the game at 10, St. Charles North pulled out a surprise pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff. Although a North Stars gunner looked to have covered the ball, the ball squirted out on the wet turf and found its way into the belly of a Geneva player. North Stars coach Robert Pomazak said his team just didn't make plays in crucial moments when they needed to.
"Well, we had it and then we didn't have it," Pomazak said. "It's just execution. It's listening, it's understanding and executing from both a teaching aspect and a learning aspect, executing in those pressure moments. When they ran the fake punt, I should have called a timeout. We saw a formation that we were uncomfortable with. I thought we had it covered but we didn't so hats off to them."
Despite the issues with red zone scoring, turnovers and lack of execution, Pomazak thinks his team will be able to compartmentalize and move forward headed into the playoffs.
"Every week is so separate from the others," Pomazak said. "We have a whole new team that we're going to be playing so we're going to learn from it, but we aren't going to dwell on it. Then, we'll try to go win five games in a row."
Both teams will know their first round opponent for the IHSA playoffs when the brackets are set Saturday evening.