GHS downs LP; rolls into playoffs

Amy Carton
Alex Anderson wraps up the LaSalle-Peru running back Oct. 22.

The Geneseo Green Machine closed out the regular season with a 28-12 win over LaSalle-Peru and sent their seniors out on a high note Oct. 22 at Bob Reade Field.

“We knew that was the way it was going to play out,” said head coach Larry Johnsen. “And we will take it any way we can get it.”

The visiting Cavaliers got an early jump on Geneseo with Luke Kowalczyk running the ball in from 8 yards out for the touchdown. The PAT kick attempt was blocked to give LP the 6-0 lead.

Geneseo responded as Andrew Walters busted out a 51-yard touchdown run with about 2 minutes left in the quarter. Tyler Fisher added the PAT kick to take the 7-6 lead.

It was all Geneseo in the second quarter as Landon Hoon scored on a 29-yard TD run, which was followed by another Walters touchdown of 47 yards. Fisher successfully split the uprights on both PAT kicks to give the Green?Machine the 21-6 advantage at the half.

“The big plays got it done,” said Johnsen. “LP?was jamming us up front and we were able to get to the perimeter. LP?matches up very well against us.”

The Green Machine offense took to the air for the final score of the night in the third quarter as Fisher connected with JJ Rivera on a 2-yard TD pass with about 9:00 to go in the third. Fisher also added the PAT kick for the 28-6 lead.

The Cavaliers cut into the Green?Machine’s lead at the start of the fourth quarter when Adam Happ hit Marty Riva for a 60-yard TD pass, but the two-point conversion failed.

Geneseo held on to the 28-12 lead through the remainder of the fourth quarter to earn the victory.

“I thought tonight (Friday) was a good test for us,” said Johnsen. “We had to be ready for LP and it is hard to simulate what LP?does. We realized it would take a series or two to get adjusted, hope LP didn’t get points and adjust quickly.”

The Green?Machine combined for  342 total yards of offense with 323 rushing yards on 44 carries and 19 passing yards on two receptions.

Walters and Landon Hoon both led the Geneseo offense as they each raked in over 100-rushing yards. Walters ran the ball 12 times for 138 yards, while Hoon followed with nine carries for 104 yards.

Fisher added 49 rushing yards on five touches, while Blake Croegaert had 17 yards on six carries.

Grant Burress finished the night with 12 yards on seven touches, followed by Derek Mitchell with 3 yards on five carries.

Fisher also passed for 19 yards with two completions. He connected with Croegaert for one catch of 17 yards and Rivera for one reception for 2 yards.

The Geneseo defense held LP to only 82 rushing yards on 33 carries, but allowed 122 passing yards on five completions.

Hoon was able to jump in front of one LP?pass for the interception, while Cole Reiling came up with a fumble recovery for the Green Machine.

Erik Solberg led the defense in tackles for a loss with one of 18 yards.

Mark?Cothron and Alex Anderson each came up with two tackles for a loss of 5 yards total, while Anthony Room had a tackle for a loss of 4 yards and Mark Snodgrass, one tackle for a loss of 2 yards.

“It wasn’t perfect, but a good  night,” said Johnsen. “We are only guaranteed one more game. We have to make the most out of it.”

The Green?Machine (8-1 overall and 4-1 in the NIB 12) will host Chicago (Collins Academy) at 2 p.m. Oct. 30 in the first round of the IHSA playoffs.

- Geneseo, Ottawa and Sterling finished the season in a three-way tie for the conference title.

Andrew Walters breaks through tackles to gain yards on the play.