One to grow on for Geneseo

Chris Steele
Payton Clauson, left, stretches the jersey of Moline running back Harrison Bey-Buie during the Green Machine's game against the Maroons.

A few plays tipped the feel of the entire game for the Green Machine.

Geneseo had control of the game early, but the Green Machine couldn’t keep pace with Moline in the season opener on Aug. 24.

Moline defeated Geneseo 36-3 at Bob Reade Field, but turning points in the second quarter and fourth quarter changed the feel of the game.

The Green Machine had control of the game early after a 58-yard run from Zac Olson set Geneseo up in Moline territory.

Geneseo’s Kyle Hofer made a 31-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter.

The Green Machine had the Maroons backed up on their own 11-yard line facing third and nine with 8:55 remaining until halftime.

Geneseo’s Jaren Brucher nearly intercepted the third-down pass, but a flag for pass interference gave Moline a new set of downs and new life.

The Green Machine sideline argued the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage which would have nullified the penalty but the call on the field stood.

Moline completed a 45-yard pass play on third and three to flip the field and eventually scored on an Aboubacar Barry six-yard run.

“They had too many athletes,” Johnsen said. “We had to get into a slow-paced game for us, and there were some third-down situations where we couldn’t get off the field in certain situations.”

Moline was able to hurt Geneseo with a long pass on third down again late in the second quarter when a pass interference call set up Moline for a first-and-goal from the eight-yard line.

The Maroons’ Zidain Sterling threw a four-yard touchdown strike to Jacob Pauwels to make it a 14-3 Moline lead at halftime.

“I think this group will bounce back,” Johnsen said. “It’s an early test. Some adversity has hit, and we got to get ready to go.”

Geneseo came out inspired in the second half with Nathan Beneke making back-to-back tackles for loss to force a punt.

The Green Machine turned to Alex McAvoy to get the tough yards inside before Colton Pischke broke a long run on the outside to get Geneseo down to the Moline 16-yard line.

On third and eight, Green Machine quarterback Brucher was sacked and knocked out of the game, and the Green Machine missed the field goal which would have made it a one-score game with 1:14 left in the third quarter.

“That’s the hard thing about a first game,” Johnsen said. “You don’t know what you don’t know until you play. We just have to go back and fix some things and not panic.

Geneseo’s defense forced Moline to punt again, but the Green Machine offense was disjointed missing its senior quarterback.

Geneseo’s defense still seemed in control until the Maroons picked up a third and 28 with a long run.

From there the floodgates were opened as the Maroons scored 22 unanswered points.

“We have to make sure that people understand the good things that we did,” Johnsen said. “I thought defensively, for the most part, we did a pretty good job, but there were some third-down situations we just have to get better on.”