WW South defeats Geneva for third straight win
The smile on Joe Ives' face said it all.
Wheaton Warrenville South football is back.
Ives, a senior defensive back, had 2 more interceptions, 1 of which he ran back for a touchdown, and junior running back Jake Arthurs rushed for 2 touchdowns Friday as the host Tigers routed Geneva 35-3 in a DuKane Conference opener at Red Grange Field.
With the win the Tigers (3-0, 1-0) already have surpassed their victory total from each of the last three seasons, all of which ended with 2-7 records.
"It's a new conference and I think this group is just tired of being 2-7," Ives said. "We're trying to change the culture at this school, and I think that's a big theme.
"Our theme is 'Earned, not given,' and we're really just trying to earn these victories with the hard work."
Geneva made the Tigers earn this victory. The Vikings (0-3, 0-1) don't have the numbers or the results they traditionally are used to having, but they gave WW South trouble with a punishing ground game.
The Tigers' defense, though, had the answer. Ives' 2 picks gave him 5 on the season, and the Tigers now have forced 13 turnovers while committing none.
Geneva became the first team to score on WW South when Reilly Waldoch kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. But that merely cut the Tigers' lead to 14-3.
The second half was all WW South. Arthurs scored his second touchdown of the game -- and fifth of the season -- on a 7-yard run to cap the opening drive of third quarter.
Ives then intercepted Geneva quarterback Alex Williams on the next play. The Vikings' defense held, but Ives made a great play to down Jack Olsen's 41-yard punt at the Geneva 1.
Geneva picked up a first down on the ensuing drive, but Ives intercepted Williams again and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-3.
"I can't take those moments for granted," Ives said. "It's a great thing.
"I really have to thank my D-line because every single time I get a pick it's because of them. They get a ton of pressure on them and I know if I'm not there, somebody else is making the play."
A lot of players on both sides of the ball made plays for the Tigers, including the offense, which is showing signs of life after failing to score a touchdown in the opening game. While Geneva's Brendan Krohe rushed for a game-high 100 yards on 25 carries, the Tigers gained 206 on the ground.
Arthurs carried 13 times for 59 yards, while quarterback Noah Henkel added 56 yards on 7 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run that capped the scoring.
"The past two weeks the offensive line has put in a lot of work," Arthurs said. "They took it personally after that first week and they really put the work in.
"As I came off the field (after his second score), I was giving them all high-fives. They're great guys."
So are the Tigers back?
"We're back to the point where our kids believe they can play with somebody," WW South coach Ron Muhitch said. "They have a belief of learning how to win and feeling that winning spirit again.
"It's a big step forward. Geneva is historically a great program also and they are much better than their 0-3 record, so I knew they would be a little more of a physical test than what we've had so far, and we needed that."