As good as Michael Hohensee's legs were Friday night in an Upstate Eight Conference River matchup with Geneva, his arm was even better.
Hohensee broke free for a 54-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the game, then spent much of the rest of the night picking the Vikings defense apart through the air.
St. Charles North (7-1, 5-0) prevailed 45-21, setting up a showdown for the conference crown next week against Batavia (8-0, 5-0).
"Mikey carried us and we talked to Mike about the next couple weeks giving him the keys to the car and showing why we feel he's one of the best quarterbacks around and he really did that," North Stars coach Rob Pomazak said. "He made plays and showed everybody just what kind of quarterback he is."
Hohensee finished with 6 touchdowns, 3 rushing and passing. He completed 13 of 16 passes for 339 yards while running for 63 more.
"We knew Geneva's defense was going to come out to play knowing they had to win," Hohensee said. "Our O-line stepped up great and our skill players won the matchups out there."
After falling behind 24-0, Geneva made a game of it, getting within 31-21 in the third quarter. Noah Palmer intercepted a tipped pass to give the Vikings the ball back.
Geneva quarterback Bobby Murray completed a fourth-down pass, but the play was called back. The North Stars' Ethan Romero picked off Murray on the next play, then Hohensee threw and ran for 4th quarter touchdowns to break the game open again.
"We haven't run Mike much but he certainly has the breakaway speed," Pomazak said. "Just really proud of him because he works hard and he's a good kid and he deserves these type of moments. He really rose to the occasion."
While Hohensee got the North Stars off to a fast start, their defense quickly kept giving him the ball back. Geneva (4-4, 3-3) went 3-and-out on its first three possessions, getting behind in down and distance with 3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-17 and 3rd-and-12.
On their nine third down plays in the first half, Geneva averaged needing just under 10 yards for a first down.
"It's a mirror of our season," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "Being able to play at a consistent level."
Hohensee capped the North Stars' third drive with a 1-yard touchdown keeper, giving North a 14-0 lead after a quarter.
Hohensee followed with a 10-yard TD screen pass to Lucas Segobiano, and Brandon Eickert booted a 38-yard field goal for a 24-0 lead.
Hohensee spread his completions around to Segobiano (5 catches, 99 yards, 2 TDs), Tyler Nubin (3 catches, 145 yards), Thomas Nelsen, Alec Kritta, Sam DeMarco and Ben Furtney.
Geneva got on the board just before halftime on a 2-yard plunge by Reilly Waldoch. They then marched 17 plays to start the third quarter for another short Waldoch touchdown run, a drive kept alive by Murray's 14-yard scramble on 4th-and-13.
That drive took nearly 8 minutes off the clock but the North Stars needed only 17 seconds to match the touchdown on Hohensee's 80-yard strike to Nubin.
Lavonte Jones then made it touchdowns on three straight plays from scrimmage with a 73-yard run up the middle.
"Defensively we kind of fell asleep in the third quarter," Pomazak said.
The game ended with a scary moment. With 3:17 left, Geneva receiver Alex Williams was hit hard trying to make a catch in traffic and had to be taken from the field in a stretcher as the crowd fell completely silent.
"He's fine, he's going to be fine," Wicinski said. "He's going to be OK."
"You never want to see anybody get hurt like that," Pomazak said. "It's a physical play. Our guy, it's 4th-and-4 and we're fighting. We're not going to stop playing and unfortunately that young man got injured. We're hoping for the best. You never want to end a game like that."