Green Machine ready to run

Chris Steele
Jacob McConnell, right, runs through the hole during the Green and White scrimmage.

A lot of the parts of the Green Machine are the same, but this season a lot of familiar faces are embracing new roles.

Last season, Geneseo’s Jaren Brucher was on the receiving end of the Green Machine’s miracle throw that helped them upset state-ranked Morris 21-17 in the final game of the regular season.

Brucher’s clutch 62-yard catch secured Geneseo’s 55th-winning season.

However, Brucher will be the one throwing the passes this season.

Geneseo coach Larry Johnsen said the Green Machine offense will be tailored the offense to maximize what everyone does well.

“We are going to allow Jaren to be Jaren,” Johnsen said. “Which is allow him to do what he can do best as well as making sure we get the ball to the guys who are our better players.”

This means getting the ball into the hands of Zac Olson and Colton Pischke who both have shown big-play potential out of the backfield.

Pischke made team history becoming the first player to score on the newly renovated field last season.

Pischke best game last season was against Ottawa where he intercepted a pass on defense in the first half and

finished the game rushing 10 times for 93 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown.

Olson rushed for six touchdowns last season, and he showed explosive speed, elusiveness and cutting ability during the Green and White scrimmage this year.

Jacob McConnell was the other quarterback to see time in the scrimmage and showed his arm talent on a few throws.

Alex McAvoy will be the battering ram the Green Machine uses to pick up the tough yards on the inside.

Johnsen kept to the long-standing belief that anyone can emerge as the season progresses.

“What we have in week 1 doesn’t guarantee what we are going to have in week 2,” Johnsen said. “We are always talking and trying to evaluate what kids can contribute and where they can contribute.”

The crew that makes up the backfield on offense will bring that wealth of experience to the backfield.

Olson and Pischke both have at least two years of varsity experience under their belts, and Olson’s interception against Morris sealed the Green Machine’s comeback win over Morris.

Mason Jones showed exciting potential playing with the sophomores last season, and Kyle Hofer has the ability to contribute in the backfield on offense and defense.

“We are coming along in some areas we are building some good depth,” Johnsen said. “In other areas, we have to find someone.”

Geneseo has experience coming back on the offense and defensive lines.

The Green Machine will move Jacob Winslow from tight end to tackle this season, and Johnsen said Blake Laingen had a good camp and looks ready to go.

Senior lineman, Billy Blaser returns after moving people in the winter finishing in fourth place at the IHSA Class 2A State wrestling tournament.

Noah Coughlen burst on the scene last season with a three-sack game against Marshall, and Robert Stohl’s 6’3” size stands out on the defensive line.

Linebacker Payton Clauson showed he had game-changing ability last season intercepting a pass in Geneseo’s playoff game against Dixon, and David Boan has varsity experience as the teams long snapper.

Geneseo has one of the toughest schedules in store for them this season.

The Green Machine opens with Western Big 6 champion Moline before hitting the road for three road games, including a trip to Rochelle for the NIB 12 West conference opener on Friday, Sept. 14.

The Green Machine returns home for a matchup with rival Sterling on Friday, Sept. 21, and hosts LaSalle-Peru during Homecoming on Sept. 28.

After a trip to Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 5, Geneseo returns home for Senior Night Friday, Oct. 12 against Sycamore.

In the season finale, Geneseo will travel to DeKalb on Oct. 19.

“I think the schedule is tougher than last year, and I thought last year was a grind,” Johnsen said. “We just ask everyone to get better every day.

“Today we have to be better than yesterday, and just understand the mentality of being a varsity football player and that grind and what it takes to be successful.”

2018 Green Machine roster

#    Name    Year    Position

2     Alex Walker    12    DB-SE

4     Nathan Beneke    10    DB-QB

5     Jaren Brucher    12    DB-QB

8     Jacob McConnell    11    DB-QB

20     Billy Cosgrave    12    DB-SB

22     Zachary Olson    12    DB-RB

23     Kyle Hofer    11    DB-RB

24     Jerry Green    11    DE-TE

25     Colton Pischke    12    DB-RB

26     Rylan Coons    11    DB-SE

27     Mason Jones    10    DB-RB

28     Peter (PJ) Moser    10    DL-TE

29     Tyler Whipple    11    DB-SE

30      Carson Cocquit     12    K

31     Alex McAvoy    12    DE-RB

33     Dominic DeBoef    10    LB-FB

41     Blake Stottler    11    LB-TE

42     Collin Correll    11    DE-E

44     Gavin McGuire    11    LB-RB

45     Payton Clauson    12    LB-RB

52     Jacob Polowy    11    DL-OL

53     Joe McConnell    11    DE-OL

54     Josh Beeth    12    LB-OL

55     Michael Morrone    11    DL-OL

56     Kane Miller    11    DL-OL

57     Rob Stohl    11    DL-OL

58     Cole Ellerbrock    10    DL-OL

59     Cole Gradert    11    DL-OL

61     Noah Coughlen    12    DL-OL

68     Blake Laingen    12    DL-OL

70     Eli Allen    11    DL-OL

71     Jacob Winslow    12    DL-OL

73     Matthew Eggen    11    DL-OL

74     Koltenn Minton    11    DL-OL

76     Billy Blaser    12    DL-OL

77     Matthew Kozemski    11    DL-OL

81     Zachary Wilson    12    DB-SE

82     Mick Mooney    11    DL-TE

84     Augie Schmitt    12    DB-SE

86     Tucker Ziegenhorn    11    DL-TE

88     Erik Stenzel    12    DL-TE

89     David Boan    11    DL-TE

Coach: Larry Johnsen Jr. Assistants: Denny Diericx Nathaniel Fonck Mike Harrington Brian Hofer Larry Johnsen Sr. Brad Monier Kyle Morey Elmer Reedy Anthony Roome Bob Thomas Camilo Torres Jeff Weller. Equipment managers: Glen Anderson, Jim VanOpdorp and Greg Piekos. Athletic trainer: Lori Anderson. Student Trainers: Lauren Johnsen, Kaitlynn Rossitto, Audrey Lamb and Lilith Davis. Ball boy: Luke Johnsen and Payton Hofer.

Green Machine schedule 

Aug. 24    Moline at Geneseo    Bob Reade Field    7:15 p.m.

Aug. 31    Geneseo at Galesburg    Galesburg High School    7:30 p.m.

Sept. 7    Geneseo at Quincy Notre Dame    QND High School    7 p.m.

Sept. 14    Geneseo at Rochelle    Rochelle High School    7 p.m.

Sept. 21    Sterling at Geneseo     Bob Reade Field    7:15 p.m.

Sept. 28    L-P at Geneseo (Homecoming)     Bob Reade Field    7:15 p.m.

Oct. 5    Geneseo at Ottawa    Ottawa High School    7:15 p.m.

Oct. 12    Sycamore at Geneseo     Bob Reade Field    7:15 p.m.

Oct. 19    Geneseo at DeKalb    DeKalb High School    7:15 p.m.