AURORA – A combination of efficient offensive playmaking and big defensive stops gave Geneva a 41-23 victory over West Aurora Saturday.
The Vikings made maximum use of the 48 plays they ran, 12 fewer than the Blackhawks, scoring on six of their nine possessions.
On defense, a fumble recovery, an interception and a denied fourth down conversion halted West Aurora drives.
The teams played Saturday as their Friday night season opener was postponed by the weather.
Time ran out on Geneva before it could complete the last series of the first half, but the team only punted twice, both times in the fourth quarter.
Mike Huck made the first defensive stop when he recovered a West Aurora fumble at Geneva’s 27-yard line in the second quarter with Geneva holding only a 14-3 lead.
Justin Taormina picked off a pass from Blackhawk quarterback Johnathon Doyle to derail West Aurora’s opening drive of the second half. On the Blackhawks' next series, the Geneva defense held as the Blackhawks tried to convert on a fourth-and-2.
Geneva’s ground and passing games evenly split the six touchdowns.
Quarterback Daniel Santacaterina completed 12 of 18 attempts for 169 yards, including TD strikes to Pace Temple (five receptions for 82 yards), Taormina and Max Woodworth.
“We got a lot of talent on the outside,” Santacaterina said about his receivers. “All those guys are really capable of making plays.”
“Their kid [Santacaterina] is just as good as anybody and they got so many receivers,” West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said. “I was very impressed with them.”
Woodworth (six carries for 87 yards) and Taormina also scored rushing touchdowns. Justin Nebel (10 carries for 53 yards) scored the third ground TD.
“It was a good start. We got the passing game going early so that opens up our running game,” Temple said. “We’ve got a lot of different guys who can hurt defenses.”
Geneva running back Liam Burns left after the first series of the game due to a hamstring injury.
“[Burns] was having trouble with it in camp,” Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. “He will probably be day by day, game by game.”
Wicinski is confident his other running backs will be able to pick up the slack.
“We’ve got Nebel and Taormina," Wicinski said. "I thought they both ran real well. We’ve got some good data on them.”
Two of the three ground TDs were scored in the third quarter when Geneva broke open the game. The Vikings crossed the goal line three times in the period, allowing the Vikings to widen their halftime lead of 20-9 to 41-9.
“The team emphasis [today] was being able to run the ball in the middle of the game when we needed to,” Wicinski said. “I challenged the offensive line and for the most part they responded.”
The Blackhawks actually outgained the Vikings, 405-357.
“We did some good things” said Eimer about his team’s first game as member of the Upstate Eight Conference's Valley Division. “We’ve just got to find ways to not start on our side of the 50-yard line all the time.”
GENEVA 41 WEST AURORA 23
Geneva 7 13 21 0
West Aurora 3 6 0 14
HOW THEY SCORED:
WA – Watkins 21 Field Goal 7:14
G – Temple 17 pass from Santacaterina (Hines kick) 5:37
G – Woodworth 17 pass from Santacaterina (kick failed) 11:49
G – Taormina 19 run (Hines kick) 4:13
WA – Jackson 5 run (kick failed) 0:36
G – Taormina 37 pass from from Santacaterina (Hines kick) 10:07
G – Woodworth 10 run (Hines kick) 4:36
G – Nebel 25 run (Hines kick) 1:30
WA – Cross 34 run (Watkins kick) 9:59
WA – Jackson 1 run (Watkins kick) 2:33
RUSHING – Geneva: Nebel 10-53, Woodworth 6-87, Taormina 4-29, Santacaterina 5-0, Burns 2-15, McAvoy 3-4, Total 29-188. West Aurora: Jackson 21-115, Cross 10-136, Doyle 12-56, Spears 6-27, Behrens 5-22, King 1-11, Total 54-367
PASSING – Geneva: Santacaterina 12-18-0-169. West Aurora: Doyle 3-5-138
RECEIVING – Geneva: Temple 5-82, Landi 4-23, Taormina 1-37, Woodworth 2-27, Total 12-169. West Aurora: Jackson 2-19, Spears 1-19, Total 3-38,
TOTAL YARDS – Geneva 357, West Aurora 405