Illinois High School Football News

Geneva rides big plays past Wheaton Warrenville South, stays unbeaten

Geneva quarterback Nate Stempowski looks to throw the ball during a game at Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.

WHEATON – The big play may be hyperbole in some circles, but in Geneva’s case Friday, it was the real thing.

The Vikings beat Wheaton Warrenville South 35-11 using a bevy of highlight-reel plays that helped them improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the DuKane Conference.

Submitted for your approval is Exhibit A, a 71-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Nate Stempowski to sophomore receiver Talyn Taylor on the fourth play of the game. It was big because Stempowski got flushed out of the pocket, raced to his own sideline and found Taylor streaking down the center of the field.

“I was basically just rolling out, and I had nowhere to go,” Stempowski said. “I saw my boy, pointed to him, scramble drill, threw the ball and he made a play.”

From Taylor’s perspective of the same play:

“Man, I’m just thinking I’ve just got to get my QB right, you know what I’m saying,” Taylor said. “I gotta catch that ball and score.”

Then there’s Exhibit B, After a Stempowski 5-yard scoring run late in the first half, he and Taylor connected again, this time from 49 yards out on a second-and-22 situation. That increased Geneva’s lead to 21-3.

Wheaton Warrenville South’s Jake Vozza (22) carries the ball during a home game against Geneva on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.

Sophomore running back Troy Velez got in on the fun with a 40-yard touchdown run with 34.1 seconds to go in the third quarter.

But wait ... there’s more. On Wheaton Warrenville South’s ensuing possession, senior Jackson Reyes returned an interception for a touchdown.

“You know, we feel like we have some explosive players, and we’re always trying to get them the ball, and make some big plays,” Geneva coach Boone Thorgesen said. “When your offense is explosive and you get some big plays, you’ve got it rolling, it demoralizes their defense.”

The scoreboard might not reflect it, but Wheaton Warrenville South had its share of big plays as well. After a 5-yard run by junior running back Matthew Crider with 7:19 to go in the game, the Tigers attempted an onside kick that Geneva recovered. But South’s defense forced the Vikings to go three-and-out, which set up its biggest play of the night — a blocked punt by senior safety Charlie Butt.

“We’re taught to never quit, and so even when the game is looking rough, not quitting and giving all that extra effort on special teams, anywhere we can get a big play, we’ll take it,” Butt said.

Sophomore quarterback Luca Carbonaro completed 15 of 24 passes for 153 yards while senior running back Jake Vozza added 67 yards on the ground for South (1-3, 0-2).