Geneva's defense dominates Glenbard North

Updated 9/22/2023 11:13 PM

If you didn't know better, one might have thought the football field at Glenbard North was tilted in Geneva's direction Friday night.

While the Vikings' defense held the Panthers to just 1 first down and 32 yards of total offense in the opening half, the offense mounted 5 touchdown drives while building a 34-0 halftime lead.


Geneva improved to 5-0 overall, 3-0 in DuKane Conference play, with the eventual 41-13 victory over the Panthers (0-5, 0-3) in Carol Stream.

"Our defense has been playing really well," said Vikings coach Boone Thorgesen. "We have quite a bit of seniors out there. They're a fast defense. They're a smart defense. I think that's huge in high school -- you must be a smart defense, and our coaches do a great job.

"They've been doing it all year. They gave us great field position in the first half, and we were able to capitalize on a few of those drives."

Led by linebackers Charle Winterhalter, Tommy Diamond, linemen Rocco DiLeonardi, Rino Bianchi, and defensive backs Matt Abraham and Brady McCaffrey, the Vikings' defense forced 7 first-half punts and helped put the offense in business throughout the opening half.

Senior quarterback Nate Stempowski's 9-yard touchdown pass to Finnegan Weppner capped a 6-play, 52-yard drive to give the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.

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Following the Panthers' third straight 3-and-out series, the Vikings marched 62 yards in 4 plays, highlighted by Michael Rumoro's 21-yard touchdown run to make it 13-0.

From there, Stempowski and junior wide receiver Talyn Taylor took over.

Stempowski connected with Taylor on touchdown passes covering 28 and 3 yards before adding a 6-yard touchdown run on a keeper with 6.1 seconds remaining in the first half.

"We really didn't know what we were doing," said Stempowski of the last-second TD. "I just made something happen."

Stempowski completed 11 of 17 passes for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns, while adding 27 yards rushing on just 2 carries in his one half of play.

"The first series was a little rough (3 straight incompletions) but after that it was like the beginning of a roller coaster -- kept going up and it felt good after that," said Stempowski. "It's amazing when you have a defense that gives you the ball in amazing position, and your O-line is doing the job, along with the wide receivers and Mikey (Loberg), too, at tight end. I can always count on him."


Taylor (8 catches, 185 yards), the Vikings' talented junior receiver/punt returner, finished his night with a 70-yard touchdown catch of a pass from backup quarterback Anthony Chahino on the first play of the second half.

"It's very nice to have him," said Thorgesen. "He's (also) a (kick/punt) returner who is as dangerous as any kid in the state of Illinois."

"He's my guy," Stempowski said of Taylor. "He can do it all. I know that wherever he's at, I can trust him."

The Panthers got second-half touchdown runs from Lucas Kramer and Treshon Williams against the Vikings' reserves.

Geneva plays host to rival Batavia (4-1, 3-0) Friday night.

"We're going to enjoy tonight, but we do know that it's going to be a great crowd next week," said Thorgesen. "We're going to play a tremendous football team in Batavia -- as they always are.

"We hope we have a great week of practice, so we'll be ready on Friday."

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