Wheaton North shuts out Geneva
With 3:29 remaining in the third quarter Friday and facing 4th-and-16 28 yards from the end zone, Wheaton North quarterback Mark Forcucci saw the break in the Geneva defense.
The Falcons ran a similar route concept earlier in the game. Forcucci admitted he didn't do his best job executing it the first time, but he more than made up for it.
Forcucci hit Kaiden Libby right in stride up the seam for the score, and the Falcons eventually rolled to a convincing 34-0 win over Geneva on Friday in the DuKane Conference.
"We kind of tinkered with some things and changed the play up a little bit to try get him more open this time," said Forcucci, a junior, who went 13-for-24 for 227 passing yards and three touchdowns. "We came back again and we just executed how we drew it up on the sidelines."
Forcucci, the Falcons' starter last season as a sophomore, seems to have taken his confidence in his arm strength to a higher level than a year ago.
"His maturity [has come] a long way from the time he was a 10th grader for us playing last year," Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said. "Now, he's at the junior season and he's really playing with more confidence right now."
"And, he's got the arm to make all the throws," Wardynski continued.
Forcucci's experience has helped slow the game down for him -- and he's taking full advantage of that coming together.
"I think one of the most improved things in terms of [working] with skill positions was just our timing over the offseason and all throughout quarantine," Forcucci said. "We would be out there hitting the field and just working on our timing, our routes and going through our route tree every day so we put in the time and it's really showing and paying off."
The Falcons (4-1, 4-1), coming off their first loss last Friday at St. Charles North, took a 7-0 lead on Forcucci's 15-yard touchdown to Seth Kortenhoeven. Forcucci later connected with Riley Dravet for a 30-yard score for a 14-0 advantage, which remained the margin at halftime.
The Falcons defense forced two Geneva (2-3, 2-3) punts out of the half before Forcucci's fourth down score for the 21-0 lead. After an ensuing Geneva turnover on downs, Tristan Hewick ran in for his first of two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to eventually make it 34-0.
Defensively, the Falcons forced six Geneva punts and three possessions that resulted in turnover on downs.
"They've got a good stable of backs over there [at Geneva] and we knew that they were going to try and run the ball on us and take some shots in the passing game, but [our defensive coordinator] did a great job getting the guys ready to play this week," Wardynski said.
Vikings quarterback Alex Porter went 9-of-23 for 82 yards. Running back Ethan Mayer bruised his way for 68 yards and was complemented by Konnor Mickelsen's 37 yards.
"We've been talking to the kids about we need to play [with] more consistency all the way through," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "We'll see two good plays, three good plays and then one bad play. Just on offense, too, same thing, we'll have a couple good plays and it's just growing pains for sure."
"But, we're at the end of our rope here. The growing is just about done; we've got one more week to grow. Hopefully, we'll show a little more consistency next week."