Wheaton North shuts out Geneva
Wheaton North took care of business, running past winless Geneva 21-0 in efficient fashion (under two hours) on a frigid Friday night in Wheaton.
Sophomore tailback Brayton Maske continued his development into a workhorse, carrying the football 21 times (14 in the second half) for 103 yards and two scores in the must-win DuKane Conference matchup for the 3-4 Falcons.
Maske did his best work late. Of his final nine runs, four were for 10-plus yards and two were for touchdowns as Wheaton North kept its playoff hopes alive.
"In the second half we really just tired Geneva out and ran the rock on them," he said.
Things moved quickly early, as the visiting Vikings attempted to control the clock in the first half.
Geneva did what it could to keep Wheaton North off the field, rushing for 88 first-half yards and recording 7 first downs.
But -- other than the two called back on penalties -- the Vikings never could get the big play to truly threaten.
"We're at a point right now where we can't overcome those things (like penalties) right now," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "We gotta have things pretty much perfect for us."
Wicinski's squad fell to 0-7, but the Falcons' 21 points are the fewest allowed by Geneva this season. Wicinski sees the improvements.
"We've gotten better," he said. "We see really good things on film. We're just not able to transfer it onto the field consistently. It's a matter of staying consistent. We'll put a drive together but can't finish; something just keeps happening.
"But they are fighting hard. I'm proud of them."
After a scoreless first quarter the home team finally broke through on its third possession.
Junior receiver Ben Bonga snagged a short pass in the flat from Mark Forcucci, shed a tackle and motored 51 yards down the sideline into enemy territory.
Then running back Nathan Love took a handoff 16 yards to the 1-yard line before punching it in to give his team the first score of the game.
The 7-0 score held up to halftime.
After the break the Falcons defense muscled up, especially in the third quarter when the Vikings had three possessions for 15 yards. They punted twice and turned the ball over, as Wheaton North's Peyton Lomenick notched the first of his team's three interceptions.
Off the interception, Maske scored his first touchdown, sprinting through the middle for an 11-yard score.
"The line blocked it absolutely perfectly," he said. "I didn't do much. The O-line did everything. I just went right through."
In the fourth quarter the Falcons defense remained stout. It grabbed two more interceptions and did not allow the Vikings to cross midfield.
In the second half Wheaton North allowed 31 yards rushing on 19 carries, an average of just 1.63 yards a carry.
Maske tacked on a late 5-yard rushing score to put himself over the 100-yard mark and give his team the 21-0 victory.
At 3-4 Wheaton North must win its final two games to be eligible for the postseason. The Falcons will have to beat conference leaders St. Charles East (6-1) and Batavia (5-2) on the road.