GENEVA – The primary strengths of the Geneva football team this season have been its defensive line and offensive rushing attack.
On Friday night, the Vikings also got some help from an efficient passing game as they crushed Kaneland, 42-7, to move within one win of a second straight perfect regular season.
Geneva coach Rob Wicinski was pleased with the balance he saw on the offensive side of the ball.
“[Quarterback] Brandon Beitzel and the wideouts have had really good practices over the past three to four weeks, so they’ve steadily gotten better, but just haven’t been able to prove it on the field until tonight, so I was really pleased for all of them because they’ve worked so hard,” Wicinski said. “The offensive line is giving us a little time up front, our quarterback is making the right reads and our receivers are catching it, so all three phases were working tonight.”
Beitzel hooked up with senior wide receiver Jason Holmes for five catches on the night, including long touchdowns of 55 and 43 yards in the first half.
Holmes said the passing game has been close all year. He was happy he and his quarterback got it clicking against Kaneland.
“We’ve been playing since sophomore year together so it was fun to finally connect,” he said.
Geneva (8-0, 6-0 Western Sun Conference) jumped on top in the first quarter after Jacob Landau picked off Kaneland quarterback Joe Camiliere on the Knights’ 24-yard line.
Three plays later, Geneva standout Michael Ratay took it to the end zone from 13 yards out to give the Vikings the lead, and they took command from there.
Ratay and running mate Drew Fagot both had productive nights running the ball. Fagot scored the first of his two touchdowns late in the first quarter on a 71-yard streak to put the Vikings up 14-0, then the Beitzel to Holmes combination connected for the next two scores to increase the lead to 28-0 before halftime.
Ratay finished the night with 122 yards on 16 carries, while Fagot had four carries for 116 yards. Beitzel was 7-of-9 passing for 172 yards.
Kaneland (4-4, 3-3 WSC) added a late touchdown when Tyler Suerth took a handoff and went 62 yards for the Knights’ only score to avoid the shutout. The Knights will need to beat Yorkville next week to have a chance to make the playoffs.
Fagot and the Vikings, meanwhile, have Batavia at home next week. He’s anticipating a tough game from their conference rivals, saying “they’ll be coming in with only one conference loss, so they’ll be trying to tie us for the conference championship. It’ll be fun.”