June 01, 2023
Sports - DeKalb County

Sports - DeKalb County

Vikings down Spartans

Geneva’s Phillip Birschbach (left) leaps to break up a pass intended for Sycamore wide receiver Josh Howells in the second quarter of Friday night’s game at Sycamore. The Spartans suffered a 37-14 loss to the Vikings to fall to 2-3 on the season and 1-2 in the Western Sun Conference. Sycamore heads to Rochelle next week for another Western Sun showdown. Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG

SYCAMORE - Momentum is so fickle, it can change sides in an instant.

The Sycamore High School football team found that out Friday night in 37-14 loss to Geneva.

With the wind at their backs, and their sails at full mast to start the game, the Sycamore offense scored first on an 80-yard drive.

Set up by the defense that held on fourth down and eight from the Geneva 20, quarterback Nick Anderson launched into a 14-play drive that chewed up over nine minutes on the game clock.

A five yard run by Anderson, straight up the gut of the Geneva defense, gave Sycamore a 7-0 lead as the first quarter came to an end. Geneva tied the score 7-7 on a Michael Ratay touchdown run, the start of what would prove to be a series of unfortunate events for Sycamore.

An Anderson fumble on the ensuing possession would be the break Geneva needed to jumpstart its offense.

“That turned the game, and it snowballed from there. It gave them a short field and the next thing you know we are behind the eight ball,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “You can’t let one thing like that turn the game. Their kid came off the edge and just took the ball out of their hands. They stepped it back up from there. Their kids came out and made some real good plays.”

Geneva would score 21 points in the second quarter as Ratay scored again on a 1-yard run. Quarterback Mike Mayszak hit a receiver on a 26-yard fade route to the corner of the end zone to make the score 21-7 at the half. It was a multi-faceted attack that led the way for Geneva, as Ratay used a mix of power running and escapability to jumpstart the running game, and Mayszak opened up the field finding his favorite target 6-foot-6 wide receiver Joe Augustine.

After the turnover, the Geneva defense forced Sycamore to go four and out on its next five possessions. The Spartans didn’t record another first down until just under five minutes remained in the third quarter.Sycamore opened the second half with a costly holding penalty and was forced to punt from their end zone. A low snap forced Josh Howells to step out of bounds for a safety.

“We didn’t answer the bell there very well on that first drive of the second half,” Ryan said. “That hold put us behind the chains, I don’t have a second or third and 25 play in the play book.”

Geneva scored on the next possession as Ratay tallied his third touchdown of the night, as the Vikings scored 30 unanswered points

.“I told the team the season is far from over, this is a big stretch for us with some tough teams on the schedule,” Ryan. “There is not a lot of room for error whether it is a player or coach. We know we are all in this together, as long as we stick together we will be fine.”