Short field. Short touchdown runs. Short game.
Geneva used that trifecta to trounce visiting Streamwood 55-6 Friday night in an Upstate Eight River contest that gave the Vikings six straight wins heading into postseason play.
After getting scorched for 45 points by Metea Valley last week, Geneva (7-2, 5-1) needed a solid defensive effort -- and got it to the tune of seven sacks and holding the Sabres to 41 yards rushing.
"Definitely, after last week, we needed a big effort tonight to give us some momentum into the playoffs next week," Vikings defensive end Billy Douds said.
With the defense doing its part in not allowing Streamwood (1-8, 1-5) to get anything going, the offense followed the lead of halfback T.J. Miller early and often.
Miller (14 carries, 118 yards) scored three touchdowns on short bursts in the first half, driving over from 8, 2 and 5 yards. Linebacker Joe Boenzi got in on the first-half action, coming in at the tight end spot and pulling in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Santacaterina (6 of 7 passing for 97 yards).
The Vikings played on a short field all night, never starting a drive in their own territory until late in the game. In bolting to a 34-0 lead late in the first half on Pace Temple's 24-yard touchdown catch on a slant into the end zone, the Vikings had completed scoring drives that started at the 50-yard line and the Streamwood 41, 29, 40, and 24.
"You have to prepare all week the same way and come in with the same mentality, no matter who you are playing," Santacaterina said of his team's focus.
As for the blond hair and Mohawk haircuts all of the players donned, Santacaterina called it "a playoff thing."
"Every year we do something with our hair for the playoffs, and this year we did it early, for this last game," Santacaterina added. "We did it to get our minds set that this was a playoff game and we had to win it for home field advantage."
Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said he wanted his team "to look clean and tight, and really come off the ball hard." Especially after last week's see-saw affair at Metea when the Vikings outlasted the Mustangs for a 49-45 win.
"We wanted good integrity out of our defense because at Metea Valley we got ourselves caught out of position, stuff these guys shouldn't be doing at this time of year," Wicinski said.
Even after Streamwood finally got on the scoreboard when Sabre quarterback Mason Polich hit wide receiver Kevin Drawl with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 left in the first half, Geneva answered immediately when Chris Barger took the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown and a 41-6 halftime lead.
When Miller shot over the right side for a 29-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half, the running clock rule went into effect to shorten the night for everyone enduring a cold and windy night.
Brock Perry completed the scoring when backup quarterback Sean Chambers found him open with a 4-yard touchdown pass to open the fourth quarter.
"I am really proud of the 16 seniors on the team because they haven't won at any level at all," Wicinski said. "Last year they said they were going to put in their effort in the offseason and they did.
"They hit the weight room and became much tighter as a team," Wicinski added. "This could have gone south very easily, if not for some leadership."