Knowing full well Wheaton North's offensive arsenal, Geneva coach Rob Wicinski pulled out all the stops.
A fake punt on the Vikings' first possession, fourth-and-8 from the Geneva 13. An onside kick after a score late in the first quarter.
Such daring was not enough, though, as Wheaton North won the nonconference game 40-27 on Friday at Geneva's Burgess Field.
"We have a bunch of receivers that can catch and play and our running backs are running the ball very hard, our offensive line is working their (butts) off," said Wheaton North receiver Matt Biegalski, who caught 5 passes for 146 yards with a 32-yard touchdown catch. "It's good to see them out there working. We have a lot of weapons, that's for sure."
The Falcons' Northwestern-bound quarterback, Clayton Thorson, completed 15 of 24 passes for 241 yards and 2 touchdowns, and running back Dee Alexander helped salt the game away on the ground with 80 yards rushing. Three interceptions, one returned 30 yards for a touchdown by Mike Cerone, also helped Wheaton North (2-0) hold Geneva at bay.
"I know we've got two running backs in Dom Garza and Dee Alexander who can run it behind those guys up front," said Thorson, who ran the Falcons' hurry-up scheme. "They know they can get a push on any defensive line they want."
Geneva (1-1) worked its offense as well. Quarterback Daniel Santacaterina completed 21 of 37 passes for 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns, to Pace Temple and Joe Boenzi. Tailback T.J. Miller ran for a gritty 58 yards.
Amid an offensive onslaught that had Wheaton North leading 31-13 at halftime, a key period came in the second quarter when on a Wheaton North 26-yard field-goal attempt, Geneva ran into Falcons kicker Nick Cairo. Granted a first down at the Geneva 5-yard line, two plays later Thorson passed to Michael Bloss for a touchdown and 17-6 lead.
On Geneva's next play from scrimmage, Cerone cut in front of Vikings receiver Pace Temple in the left flat, intercepted the pass and had nothing but lawn ahead on a 30-yard return for touchdown that with Cairo's kick gave the Falcons a 24-6 lead at 5:46 of the second quarter.
"That was that 17-point swing that just crushed us," Wicinski said. "Good teams find ways to take advantage of that, and they did. From then on we were chasing two (touchdowns) from then on out."
Geneva cut it to 31-20 early in the third quarter on a 1-yard Miller run, but Wheaton North rattled off 10 straight points to enter the fourth up 40-20.
"We competed," Temple said. "I'm happy about that, I think we gained some respect. I'm OK with it. Disappointed, but happy."