June 08, 2023
Sports - DeKalb County

Sports - DeKalb County

Vikings’ run game takes over in 2nd half against Sycamore

Sycamore running back Tom Hensley is brought down by Geneva defenders Trevor Hyslop (3) and Sean Grady (28) after a 39-yard reception during first quarter at Geneva Friday. The Spartans saw their record drop to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the Western Sun. DON LANSU | Daily Chronicle

GENEVA — It was a ray of light, a moment when everything looked to be falling in place for the Sycamore football team.

Marckie Hayes returned the opening kickoff of the second half to tie Friday night’s game at Geneva and the Spartans looked like they would hang close until the end.

But that moment was when Geneva took control. The Vikings started playing the power game, dominating on both lines and slowly wearing down a Spartans team that put up a fight for just over three quarters but eventually had too much in a 45-21 win to keep Geneva (5-0, 3-0 Western Sun) undefeated and send Sycamore to its second straight loss.

“They got after us really good up front at that point,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “We got ourselves right back in the game, but they’re a real good team.”

Hayes kept Sycamore (3-2, 1-2 WSC) in the game with his three touchdowns, but the second half belonged to Geneva’s lines. They paved the way for Michael Ratay to take over the game after Drew Fagot took most of the Vikings’ first-half carries on offense.

And they pushed around the Sycamore offensive line and harassed quarterback Michael Buckner while shutting down Hayes and Tom Hensley, the Spartans’ two playmakers.

“I think part of it was that we were a step slow,” Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. “We made a couple of adjustments with the safeties and linebackers to try to close off the AB gap and, once they get in a passing situation that works for us.”

Hayes scored on a 1-yard run, set up by a 53-yard run from Hensley, along with a 56-yard scoring run and the 76-yard kickoff return touchdowns.

“(The kickoff) hurt, but I knew that we were going to come back from that,” Geneva defensive lineman Cory Hoffstetter said. “Our defense hadn’t been on the field and our offense was moving the ball amazingly well.”

In such a high-scoring game, it’s hard to credit the defense. But the Vikings defense made the halftime adjustments necessary to hold the Sycamore offense scoreless after intermission, which was the key to winning the game.

On offense for the Vikings, Fagot finished with 91 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown while Ratay ran for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns with 111 of those yards coming after intermission as the Spartans’ defense wore down.

Hayes finished with 83 yards on nine carries while Hensley had 88 yards on nine carries and five catches for 61 yards.

“I was hoping they would wear down because their defense was on the field for a long time in the second quarter, we ran a lot of plays,” Ryan said. “They’ve got some really good inside guys and it was pretty physical in there and we didn’t win that battle.”

Jon Styf

Jon Styf

Jon is the Senior News Editor of the Shaw Media Local News Network and the Editor of the Northwest Herald. He was previously the editor of The Herald-News in Joliet and Morris and a sports editor for Shaw Media at the Northwest Herald and Daily Chronicle.