St. Charles East defense story of first half
Gavin Tatar was as effusive as the St. Charles East defense was frightening in the first half Friday night.
A senior middle linebacker in the Saints' 3-4 defensive front seven, Tatar had a 32-yard interception return as part of a swarming St. Charles East performance in the opening half against Geneva in DuKane Conference football action.
St. Charles East quarterback Nathan Hayes called his own number two plays after the near pick-six to double the Saints' cushion.
With the Vikings searching for an elusive first win this season, the Saints did Geneva few favors in the first two quarters.
St. Charles East did not allow a first down in building its 14-0 lead at the halftime intermission of the Vikings' homecoming game.
Lightening forced the postponement of the game at the break; the contest will resume at 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
"Everyone is clicking on all cylinders," Tatar said. "Our D-line is destroying it. Our linebackers are flowing together. The safeties and corners are destroying on man coverage."
Geneva would have moved the chains at least twice on its opening two possessions.
But the two first downs were nullified on holding penalties.
St. Charles East wasted little time in grabbing the lead after Geneva could not overcome its initial 10-yard infraction.
St. Charles East feature back Colton Conn carried three straight times for a first down.
Hayes then connected with Gino Cerrone for an 8-yard gain.
Nate Hull then had his turn in the spotlight for the Saints.
The senior wideout ran a streak pattern. Hayes' throw was slightly off the mark, only to have Hull make a wondrous adjustment near the end zone.
Hull snared the ball in the right edge, eclipsing the pylon in the process to complete the 30-yard touchdown strike.
"On my end of it, I had a vertical route," Hull said of his second scoring reception of the season. "In the route, I looked up. (The ball) was in the air. I dove out and came up with it. That was just about it for me."
The Vikings' defense played admirably as well.
Geneva forced Hayes into three incompletions in a four-play stretch after St. Charles East gained the ball deep in plus-territory on its second drive.
But after inducing three punts on as many Geneva possessions, the Saints' defense struck again with the Tatar pick.
"I read (the play), dropped out to the flat and saw it," Tatar said.
St. Charles East allowed a mere 26 yards of offense on the Vikings' 22 plays from scrimmage in the first half.