Green Machine hit the jackpot

Chris Steele
Zac Olson, right, hurdles over a defender during Geneseo’s 28-0 victory over Galesburg on Aug. 31.

Geneseo’s Zac Olson said the Green Machine refers to third downs as the money downs.

During the first half of the Green Machine’s game against the Silver Streaks, Geneseo struck it rich.

Geneseo set the tone early converting 7-of-8 third-down attempts in the first half on their way to a 28-0 victory over Galesburg at VanDyke Field on Aug. 31.

The Green Machine started the game with its conventional style using Alex McAvoy to pick up an early third down.

However, Geneseo (1-1) mixed things up facing third down and five from the 39.

With starting quarterback Jaren Brucher sidelined, the Green Machine put the ball in the hands of backup quarterback Jacob McConnell who found McAvoy for a first down to keep the opening drive alive.

Geneseo’s Olson broke free for a 36-yard run down to the one-yard line, and he Colton Pischke punched it in for a 7-0 lead.

“We are going to be really confident going forward,” Olson said. “Everyone has figured out their place on the team. We need to practice like we are going to get better every day.”

On Geneseo’s next possession, McConnell converted another first down through the air on third and eight finding Kyle Hofer for a 14-yard pickup.

“It was great knowing coach trusted me and the rest of the team trusted me,” McConnell said.

Geneseo’s McAvoy picked up a pair of third downs with tough running up the middle, and Olson walked into the end zone from 11-yards out to extend the lead to 14-0.

Geneseo’s lone failed third down attempt came with just 24 seconds until halftime after a pair of penalties pushed back the Green Machine.

However, the Green Machine offense rolled for 13 first downs on its first three drives.

Winning the time of possession battle on offense, the Geneseo defense did its part to keep Galesburg’s offense off the field.

On third and four, Nathan Beneke tore down the Galesburg quarterback for a sack to bring up a punt in the second quarter.

Galesburg finished the first half with only 13 plays on offense.

The Silver Streaks’ offense was able to move the ball to start the second half, but Geneseo’s Dominic DeBoef tipped a pass that was intercepted by Billy Cosgrave.

The Green Machine had a bad taste in their mouths after a 36-3 loss to Moline in the season opener, which made Geneseo want to set an early tone against Galesburg.

“We knew we had to get just one more and they were about to break,” Pischke said. “That’s what we did. We did and then we just had to finish. Last week we didn’t finish. This week we did and it made a difference.”

Olson finished the ensuing Geneseo drive with a two-yard touchdown dive with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Colton Pischke intercepted a pass to set up a Hofer seven-yard touchdown run, and Olson intercepted a pass on fourth down on Galesburg’s next possession.

Olson finished with 136 yards and two touchdowns, and Pischke added 100 yards and a score.

McAvoy rushed for 51 yards, and Hofer added 28 yards.