Defense carries Wheaton North to shutout victory against Geneva
Wheaton North's Jackson Moore was one of the first players to emerge out of the scrum at the goal-line early in the fourth quarter on Friday night.
The senior free safety sprinted nearly 20 yards and pointed toward the opposite end zone, sending his teammates into a frenzy on the sidelines.
From that moment, the Falcons put their game into overdrive, scoring 14 points in a four-minute span en route to a 27-0 rout over Geneva in DuKane Conference action.
The Falcons (7-1, 5-1) showed why they have one of the top defenses in Chicagoland, recording their second shutout of the season and sixth time holding an opponent to under double digits.
Moore was at the forefront of the shutout, picking off a fourth-quarter pass to punctuate the dominate victory, his second pick of the year.
"We've been getting better each and every week in practice," Moore said. "We've been working on making sure our fundamentals are sound, so once we get on the field for games we just have fun."
After quarterback Mark Forcucci tossed an interception to give the Vikings (4-4, 2-4) good field position early in the third quarter, the Vikings were aided by a pass interference call to set up a goal-line situation.
But the Falcons' defense held firm, forcing a fourth-and-2 at the 2-yard line, but the Vikings' running play fell short of the goal-line.
"Our offense turned over the ball, which the don't usually do that," Moore said. "We decided to pack it in and make a stand. We did it. We were in control and took it to them every single play."
A standout on the baseball field, Moore is becoming a focal point on the Falcons' stingy defense. Moore, though, preferred not to pick his best sport.
"I don't know which one I'm better at, but we will see," Moore said, smiling.
Senior cornerback Kaiden Libby also had an interception in the second half, but he pointed to the goal-line stand as the key play of the game. At that time, the Falcons led 13-0, but the Vikings were 2 yards shy of making it a one-score game. Libby also has 2 interceptions for the season.
"After my pass interference I was pretty angry and I didn't want to let them go in and score," Libby said. "Our defense gets pushed every practice by our offense. We have a good upfront players and our defensive backs are solid in the back. We're all doing our jobs. We went into this season knowing we're kind of small, but we knew we had a good mentality and our intense practices helped us."
Forcucci was his usual solid self, tossing three touchdown passes and scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run to spark the offense. Forcucci put the game out of reach by guiding the Falcons on a 99-yard touchdown drive after the goal-line stand. He connected with Seth Kortenhoeven 4 times for 65 yards on the drive, including a highlight-reel 3-yard fade TD pass into the corner of the end zone to pad the lead to 20-0.
Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski noted the defense led the way by forcing the Vikings to abandon the passing game.
"The defense really played well," he said. "(Geneva) does some good things in the run and pass game and really keeps you off-balanced, but our guys played solid against the run and pass. We've got a lot of seniors with a lot of experience and they understand the importance of going after the football and they put it into practice. It was great to see our guys stop them at the 1-yard line."