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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Green Machine raising the bar

  • Following the Green Machine’s state run last season, a new crop of players have their sights set on finishing what last year’s team started.
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  • Following the Green Machine’s state run last season, a new crop of players have their sights set on finishing what last year’s team started.
    “I think they all have that taste, but they have to remember it is process and we have to remember how we got there,” said head coach Larry Johnsen.
    After a week of practice, coach Johnsen said he is happy with how his players came into the season. He said the Green Machine is making progress.
    “We lost some seniors who were major contributors last year so we need to be patient with this group coming in,” he said. “This group has retained a lot. They are doing a nice job and working hard. It is just a different make up.
    “Where we lost people, someone has to step up and be ready to play as a varsity player. So much of it is how they handle themselves and deal with the pressure. They have to perform at a high level and rise to that level. We do have kids with experience, and we want to take steps forward, not steps back.”
    The seniors looking to lead the way are: Cooper Humphries, Greg Rusk, Ryan Ganson, Tyler Mackey, Alex Dichiser, Jordan Schnowske, Levi Warren, Josh Beard, Ian Ramsey, Ryan Pitra, Lane Akre, Joey Medina, Paul Kastorff, Jacob Beeth, Zach Schefsky, Carson Krause, Parker Salisbury, Grant Pritchard, Drew Himmelman, Adam Smith and August Stamp.
    “I want to see a leadership role from the seniors, and I want them to be who they are,” said Johnsen. “I want them to lead by their actions. It is important for them to understand the expectations. This is their team.”
    The juniors vying for a spot in the line up are: Will Daniels, CJ Magerkurth, Ryan Tulcus, Sam Welch, Antonio Tumbarello, Justin Scott, Jon Warner, Quinn Singbush, Gunner Gaines, Devin Haxby, Cole Hunzeker, Conner Welch, Nick Anderson, Bryce Iwinski, Jake Yarger, Logan Swartzendruber, Hunter Hinton, Jacob Widger, Kiko Pena, Levi Roberts, Carter Biellier, Jacob VanDoren, Benji Watkins, Ryan Hartsock and Ben Rowley.
    “The good thing is the juniors got half a season with us (during the playoffs) to see how we do things,” said Johnsen. “I hope we are ahead in that. They need to fit in and not get complacent.”
    The goals for this team are no different from the teams before them.
    “We need to take it day-by- day, week-by-week and do our best everyday,” said Johnsen.
    The Green Machine returns only three starters on offense and three on defense.
    “At this point, we don’t have the depth we had last year, but we had so many coming back last year,” said Johnsen. “Time will tell. You create depth in playing and the more you perform, the more depth you will create.”
    Page 2 of 2 - A strength for the Green Machine this year is their skill players; while the big challenge facing Geneseo this year will be up front on the offensive and defensive line.
    “The line of scrimmage is a concern at this point because we lost a lot,” said Johnsen.
    As far as the outlook of the conference, coach Johnsen said Sterling and Rochelle will contenders for the conference title.
    The Green Machine debuts in the Green and White Scrimmage today at 5:05 p.m. Geneseo will open the regular season at 7:15 p.m. Aug. 29 at home against Dunlap.
    “Any first game is hard because you don’t know what your opponent will do,” said Johnsen. “We have to understand what we want to accomplish, understand it won’t be our best game, but come out ready to play and be sound at what we do.”

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