Geneva redzone defense shines in win over Wheaton Warrenville South

Vikings outgain Tigers, 333-148

Wheaton Warrenville South logo

GENEVA – Key Geneva defensive stops, coupled with a dominating offense, led the Vikings to a 28-6 DuKane Conference win over Wheaton Warrenville South on Sept. 8 at Burgess Field.

Geneva had two successful goal-line stands in the first half, resulting in WW South’s only drives in the red zone ending with field goals. The Vikings stopped a fourth down attempt and got a quarterback sack and an interception to stall three of the Tigers’ second-half possessions.

Geneva gained 333 yards to the Tigers’ 148.

“I thought our defense played extremely well. I think that was the key for us,” Geneva coach Boone Thorgesen said. “They really kept us in the game and then the offense got rolling.”

The second field goal by Maison Haas, a 37-yarder, pulled the Tigers to within 7-6 with 2:30 left to play in the half.

Geneva (3-0, 1-0) widened the gap on its next drive. Senior quarterback Nate Stempowski sprinted 72 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown with 1:07 left before intermission for a 14-6 lead over the Tigers (1-2, 0-1).

In addition to rushing for 128 yards on eight carries, Stempowski completed 12 of 21 passes for 98 yards.

“I just saw the linebackers blitzing, so I bounced it,” Stempowski said of the touchdown run. “I had one dude to beat.”

Momentum stayed with the Vikings in the second half. Geneva’s opening possession of the third quarter ended with a Stempowski passing touchdown, a 6-yarder to Michael Rumoro. Not only did the eight-play, 61-yard drive put the Vikings up 21-6, it kept the Tigers off the field for five minutes of the third quarter. Rumoro also scored Geneva’s last touchdown on a 4-yard run with 28.7 seconds left in the game.

Rocco DiLeonardi sacked Tigers quarterback Luca Carbonaro for 11 yards on a third-down play, ending WW South’s first drive of the second half. On the Tigers’ next possession, Charlie Winterhalter stopped a fourth-down attempt, tackling Carbonaro a yard short of the first down. A Talyn Taylor interception ended Wheaton Warrenville South’s only drive of the fourth quarter.

Taylor (6 catches, 40 yards) scored Geneva’s first touchdown of the game at the 6:34 mark of the first quarter. The junior capped a 67-yard, eight-play drive by catching an 8-yard Stempowski pass in the end zone.

A Vikings turnover that put Wheaton Warrenville South at Geneva’s 11-yard line set up the Tigers’ first field goal. Facing fourth-and-goal five yards from the end zone the Tigers opted for a field goal. Haas split the upright on a 22-yard attempt.