Streamwood discovered something about the Geneva-Batavia rivalry Friday night during the Vikings' homecoming game: You don't want to play the team that lost the following weekend.
A week after their emotional setback against Batavia, the Vikings got back to the business of winning by rushing for six touchdowns, three of them by quarterback Matt Williams, in coasting to a 42-0 Upstate Eight River Division victory over the visiting Sabres.
And a week after getting steamrolled for 46 points by the Bulldogs, Geneva's defense pitched a shutout against a solid offensive team that came into the game with a 5-1 record.
"It was a tough week (after the Batavia loss), and I was really proud of the kids in the way they responded," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "We just kept telling the defense it was about their technique, you have to get your techniques correct."
The techniques were working quite well, especially when Geneva (6-1, 4-1) stopped a marching Streamwood (5-2, 2-2) offense midway through the second quarter. With Geneva holding a 14-0 lead, the Sabres were poised to the cut the lead in half with a first down on the Vikings' 14-yard line, but Geneva defensive tackle Henry Zupke, a 6-3, 225-pound senior, stopped Sabres running back Alex Morrow twice to stall the drive.
"We just kept to the basics and did the same old, same old and we stopped them," said Zupke, who also recorded two sacks of Sabres quarterback Dalton Lundeen in the game.
With Williams and running back Bobby Hess both recording 1-yard touchdown runs to open the 14-0 lead, it was Williams who again, this time bolting for a 14-yard touchdown run, put Geneva up 21-0.
The Vikings marched 82 yards in five plays after the defensive stop to totally shift the game's momentum. Parker Woodworth (9 carries, 103 yards) chewed up 57 of the drive's yards on one run.
Streamwood was stopped cold in the second half, gaining only 1 yard or less on its first six rushing attempts. The Vikings, meanwhile, were on their way to compiling 509 yards of total offense, with 327 of those on the ground.
Ben Rogers (5 receptions, 121 yards) pulled down two long receptions in the Vikings' opening drive of the second half, with the second covering 49 yards and getting to the Streamwood 1-yard line, where Hess tallied his second 1-yard TD plunge of the night.
Woodworth strolled in from 5 yards out on Geneva's next possession, capping a 5-play drive that featured a 35-yard Rogers reception.
Williams scored the final touchdown in dramatic style, taking off on a 54-yard scamper as time was running out in the third quarter. As he approached the goal line, Streamwood defender Jordan McFeggen grabbed Williams around the 7-yard line and Williams dragged him all the way to the goal line for the 42-0 lead.
Despite his three rushing scores and an effective night of passing for 182 yards, Williams wanted to talk about the defensive effort.
"The defense showed great poise out there and did a heck of a job putting a goose egg on the board," Williams said. "I knew that if they got the job done, the offense would get it in the end zone and that's what we did."
Middle linebacker Nick Caruso probably had the best view of what the Vikings did to notch their first shutout of the season.
"Our defensive line did a great job and penetrated, and it made it easier for us linebackers," Caruso said. "We had to put last week behind us and, if anything, it gave us motivation and we came out with a chip on our shoulders."
It turned out to be a heavy burden for Streamwood, which had a 5-0 record before being ambushed by St. Charles East last week and then getting dismantled against Geneva. The Sabres likely need one more victory to reach the playoffs, but tough games against Larkin and Batavia loom ahead.
"We told our guys from day one that we have to get better each day, and that's still on the agenda for us," Streamwood coach Cal Cummins said. "Physically they are better than us and that's no shock.
"We came here to learn how far we've come as a program and I think we learned in the first half that we could knock on the door and go toe-to-toe, but to do it for four quarters is another thing," Cummins added. "How many weak links did you see across Geneva's fronts? Obviously none, and that's what makes a good program and a good team."