Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 8/30/2014 7:13 PM

Geneva overpowers West Aurora

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Rob Wicinski described the relationship between his star quarterback Daniel Santacaterina and star wide receiver Pace Temple as only the glib coach can.

"It's his binky," Wicinski said of how Santacaterina always can find Temple for a key reception.

"They have worked hard all summer. They are best friends. They would just go out and throw constantly. That's how you get better. It pays off and I'm just trying to stay out of the way."

It took all of one play Saturday in Geneva's season opener at West Aurora for Santacaterina to connect with Temple, and all of one minute, 59 seconds for the two to find the end zone.

Santacaterina's 18-yard strike to Temple erased an early 3-0 deficit, and that TD served as the start of an unstoppable day for Geneva's first-team offense in a 41-23 win in Aurora.

Santacaterina might not have put it exactly like Wicinski did, but he knows he's got something special with Temple, someone he has known since they were 7.

"I wouldn't call him that," Santacaterina laughed when informed of his coach's description. "We know each other's personalities, we know what each other is thinking out there. It's nice chemistry to have when things break down. He goes up and gets it."

West Aurora (0-1) had started the game in impression fashion, running the ball 11 straight plays to move from its own 10-yard line to Geneva's 4. The drive stalled and the Blackhawks settled for Darryl Watkins' 22-yard field goal.

After Temple's touchdown catch, Santacaterina followed with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Maxwell Woodworth on Geneva's next possession. On the Vikings' third drive, Justin Taormina's 17-yard touchdown run gave Geneva a 20-3 lead with 4:24 left in the second quarter.

On both of those scoring drives, Temple came up with clutch catches on 4th-and-14, 3rd-and-11 and 4th-and-18 plays to keep the drives alive.

"We are both so competitive," Temple said. "Sometimes that causes us to get at each other but we strive to be the best we can be. That's just working hard in the off-season and I'm glad it's showing and paying off."

Temple finished with 5 catches for 88 yards -- all in the first half -- while Santacaterina got his other receivers involved too going 12 for 17 for 183 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.

"We have a lot of talent on the outside," Santacaterina said. "All the guys are capable of making plays. Sometimes it is hard to spread it around because Pace is so good but we just have to take what the defense gives you. Everyone on our receiving core is so good at making plays."

T.J. Jackson's 5-yard touchdown run brought the Blackhawks within 20-9 at halftime before Geneva broke the game open outscoring West Aurora 21-0 in the third quarter.

Wicinski turned to his ground game. With starter Liam Burns out after 2 carries after aggravating a hamstring injury, Taormina scored on a 42-yard screen, Woodworth broke a couple tackles on his 9-yard score, and Justin Nebel capped Geneva's scoring with a 25-yard run for a 41-9 lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter.

Taormina finished with a rushing touchdown, touchdown reception and intercepted a pass.

"We challenged the offensive line, we said we're putting it on your shoulders, we're going to run the ball," Wicinski said. "And for the most part I thought they responded. I thought the defense did a nice job on third downs. That was just a bear last year we couldn't get off the field."

Daquan Cross and Jackson had touchdown runs in the fourth quarter for West Aurora, who ran for 393 yards behind Cross (12 carries, 165 yards), Jackson (20-114) and gritty quarterback Johnathon Doyle (13-63).

"We did some good things," West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said. "We did a good job bouncing back. We're going to build off that. Pleased with the offensive line.

"They (Geneva) are great. We have seen a lot of good quarterbacks playing in the DuPage Valley, their kid is as good as anybody. They have so many receivers who get open. They are very impressive."

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