Geneva's football team turned the momentum around early with a goal-line stand and kept the ball away from Kaneland late during the Vikings' 28-21 nonconference triumph Friday night at Burgess Field.
Senior quarterback Bobby Murray completed 18 of 25 passes for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 44 yards rushing as the Vikings (1-1) avenged last year's 26-23 loss to the Knights (1-1).
"This was a must win for us and we knew that coming in," said Murray, who accounted for 307 of the Vikings' 414 yards of total offense.
"All the credit should go to our offensive linemen. Without them, we can't get any drives going. The chemistry is really coming together. Last week (loss to Joliet Catholic), we didn't start out as well as we wanted to and this week we brought it in the first half."
Junior Brendan Krohe (15 carries, 64 yards), who later left the game with an injury, capped an 11-play, 97-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run as Geneva grabbed a 7-0 lead.
Kaneland marched with the opening kickoff from its own 20-yard line to the Geneva 5 before the drive stalled. Vikings linebacker Zach Pronenko stopped tailback Jonathan Alstott for a 2-yard loss on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
"We've been working hard on our goal-line (defense) but we hadn't seen any dividends," said Geneva coach Rob Wicinski. "Finally, we saw some dividends. That's like this whole team. We've been working really hard but we really hadn't seen the good stuff."
"We've got to score there," said Kaneland coach Pat Ryan.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Vikings made it 14-0 as Murray connected with Ian Hanson for a 27-yard TD pass.
Kaneland got on the board on quarterback Jack Douglas' 3-yard keeper to narrow the gap to 14-7 before Murray tossed a 25-yard TD pass to Jacob Temple (4 receptions, 71 yards) to make it 21-7.
Nearly 30 seconds later, the Knights answered as Douglas (18 of 28 for 311 yards) connected with Josh Marczuk (6 catches, 165 yards) on a 22-yard TD pass to make it 21-14 at halftime.
Geneva drove 73 yards in 6 plays with the opening kickoff of the second half, capped by Murray's 50-yard TD strike to Garret Sneed (5 catches, 87 yards) that extended the lead to 28-14.
Douglas' 29-yard TD pass to Marczuk pulled the Knights within a score at 28-21 with 6:42 but Murray's 10-yard run for a first down on 3rd-and-6 with 52 seconds left sealed the decision.