Green Machine wins first outing, other teams at full fall tilt

Claudia Loucks
For the Republic
Geneseo senior Jordan Melchert and his Mom, Michelle Kotabbi, pose for a photo after they striped and decorated Jordan’s helmet at the team’s Helmet Striping Night.

It was a busy week for Geneseo High School athletes, including a win for the Green Machine football players.


The football festivities kicked off on Thursday, Aug. 25, at a “striping night” for players and their moms on Thursday, Aug. 25, the night before the varsity team faced Chicago Comer.

It has become a tradition that moms or guardians work with their player in striping and decorating their player’s helmet. In return, the group shares a lasagna supper provided by The Kitchen Quarterbacks (which are the players’ Moms). The players then take their Moms on a tour of the locker room and then walk out the GHS football field for photos.

If this is the size of football that the Geneseo varsity football team will use, can you wonder how big the players are? Gene Stees (left) built the football as Larry Johnson, varsity coach, praised the hard work done by Stees.

The GHS varsity team made an impressive showing in their season opener on Friday against the visiting Chicago Noble/Comer with the Green Machine scoring 52 to the opponent’s 6.

Geneseo’s Jaden Weinzierl totaled 66 yards and two touchdowns on six carries in addition to four receptions for 105 yards and a score.

The Green Machine travels to Grayslake Central for their second game on Friday, Sept. 2.

In looking back at the game against Chicago Comer, Head Coach Larry Johnsen Jr. said he thought his team did some good things for their first game…”Defensively, I thought we did a good job bottling them up and our edge defenders did a really good job.”

“Our goal was to establish the run game and I think we did a good job of that as well,” he added. “We controlled the tempo of the game.”

In looking ahead to the game against Grayslake Central, Coach Johnsen said, “Grayslake will be a lot tougher. They won their first game big. They remind us a lot of a Western Big 6 team. They have some really nice athletes and are fast….Offensively, they do a really good job of getting you into a bind and they know exactly what they want to do. Defensively, they are very sound and do a good job getting to the ball.”

“We will really have our hands full with Grayslake Central,” he said.


Even though the Geneseo Maple Leafs Boys’ Golf Team came up one stroke out of first place on Saturday at the Geneseo Invite held at TPC Deere Run, coaches, players and athletic director Joe Nichols agree that it was a “great experience.”

Geneseo was bested by Naperville Central that shot a team score of 317 compared to Geneseo’s 318. Hayden Moore, a junior at GHS, tied for the lowest score on the day – 72 (=1), but ended up in second place after the tiebreaker.

Coach Scott Hardison said, “Second by one stroke at this Invite is nothing to be upset about. We want to be peaking toward the end of the season, we don’t want to peak here at the beginning…We can learn some stuff; I don’t think we finished the 18 holes very well. I thought our last five or six holes probably cost us the Invite, and that’s something we need to work on. We’ll learn from it.”

Hardison also said he was pleased with the new setting at TPC and he hopes Geneseo can return to the home of the John Deere Classic in the future.

“I want to give a shout out to (head pro Andrew Elliott). We have had previous conversations and he always spoke about growing the game, so allowing high school boys to come out and play TPC is a great opportunity,” Hardison said. “Having an opportunity to play on a championship-level course, teams were begging us to get in this Invite…Joe Nichols, Geneseo Athletic Director, should be commended for his work to get this set up for both the Boys’ Invite and the upcoming Girls Invite at TPC.”

In addition to Geneseo and Naperville, other teams competing at Geneseo Invite were Ottawa, third place with 324; Moline, fourth place with 326; Macomb, fifth with 330; Bettendorf, sixth with 337; Burlington, seventh with 344; Galesburg, eighth with 345; Sterling, ninth with 370; Rock Island, 10th with 378; Cambridge, 11th with 456; and Rochelle, 12th with 497.

Earlier in the week, the team picked up their second Invite title of the year when they competed in the 2022 Wayne Brinkmeier Invitational at Byron Hills.

The Geneseo golfers totaled 294 and were led by Hayden More, a junior, who came in at -4 and carded 67. Also scoring for the Leafs was Tayt Hager, a senior, 74 (+3); Samuel Robinson, senior, 76 (+6); and Bryson VanHoutte, sophomore, 77 (+7).

Hayden Moore was the individual medalist.


It was a full week for GHS volleyball teams as well with their game against Rock Falls on Aug. 23 that resulted in wins for both freshman and sophomore teams and a loss for the varsity squad.

On Thursday, Aug. 25, the teams faced Illinois Valley Central and those matches ended in a second win for the GHS sophomore team and losses for both freshman and varsity squads.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, the varsity team traveled to the Macomb Tournament which resulted in two wins – against Seymour-Payson and against West Central, and lost to United (Monmouth), Macomb and Elmwood.

Geneseo’s Lizzie Rapps was named to the All-Tournament 1st Team and Alysia Perez was named to the All-Tournament 2nd Team for the day.

Head Coach Casey Komel said, “It was a long day with some ups and downs. But at the end of the day, Addison Smith, captain, said it best, ‘We need to learn from any of our losses.’ The team learned a lot and was able to implement some of the skills we have been working on, so it was great to see that come into play. Even though the day didn’t end how we wanted, our goal is to come back on Monday, ready to practice and get a few degrees better than we were at things this weekend.”


The GHS Girls’ Tennis Team is finding success on the courts and defeated United Township High School – 3-2.

The three Geneseo doubles teams of Tara Bomleny and Danielle Beach; Tessa Wilebski and Audrey Brumbaugh; Ella Pettit and Mia Kelly defeated the three UTHS doubles teams.


The season opener for the Girls’ Cross Country Team was held Aug. 22 at Empire Park and Geneseo placed third out of seven teams in competition, and just 12 points out of five place.

Top finishers were Jaide Flowers, 12th (21:30); and Katlyn Seaman, 15th (21.37).

Kelley Timmerman is the girls’ cross country coach.


Geneseo Boy’s Cross Country competed at the Moline Invitational on Aug. 22 and finished in fourth place out of 10 teams.

Medalists were Tyler Gehl, who finished ninth, and Dylan Gehl, who placed 10th.

Todd Ehlert is the boys’ cross country coach.