Geneseo responds to challenge

Chris Steele
Colton Pischke, center, celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during Geneseo’s game against Rochelle.

Both teams wanted to dominate the clock and make the most of the handful of possessions they were going to have on the gridiron in Rochelle on Sept. 14.

However, the Rochelle Hubs’ quick-strike ability gave them an edge against Geneseo.

Rochelle had three rushing plays score from over 30 yards away to edge the Green Machine 28-21.

The Hubs’ Eddie Villalobos finished with 117 yards on 11 carries, and Brandon Johnson rushed 15 times for 115 yards.

Both teams wanted to dominate the clock and make the most of the handful of possessions they were going to have on the gridiron in Rochelle on Sept. 14.

However, the Rochelle Hubs’ quick-strike ability gave them an edge against Geneseo.

Rochelle had three rushing plays score from over 30 yards away to edge the Green Machine 28-21.

The Hubs’ Eddie Villalobos finished with 117 yards on 11 carries, and Brandon Johnson rushed 15 times for 115 yards.

With each team trying to control the ball, Villalobos quick cutting ability allowed him to rush for touchdowns of 49 and 33 yards. Johnson scored on a 42 yard run in the third quarter to give Rochelle a 28-14 lead with less than two minutes until the start of the fourth quarter.

With Geneseo trailing 14-7 at halftime, Rochelle converted first down after first down on the first possession of the second half.

Villalobos capped the long drive with a 33-yard touchdown run to lift Rochelle to a 21-7 lead.

Geneseo answered with a long drive that culminated in a three-yard touchdown run from Colton Pischke.

“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency,” Johnsen said. “I was happy with the way the kids kept playing hard. I think they made a few more plays than we did, but the thing about it was the effort was there. We have to understand that this is adversity, and we need to bounce back from adversity and be ready to go.”

Rochelle’s Johnson broke a 50-yard touchdown run to make it a two-score game again.

Geneseo used the passing game to mount a comeback drive in the fourth quarter.

The Green Machine’s Jaren Brucher completed a pass to Billy Cosgrave on fourth and seven to keep the drive alive.

Brucher found Pischke in the end zone for a 20-yard scoring strike to rekindle Geneseo’s comeback hopes with 8:21 remaining.

Rochelle was able to milk the clock with the running game until Geneseo was able to force a turnover on downs at deep inside Geneseo territory with 42.7 seconds remaining.

However, Geneseo couldn’t connect on any shots down the field to get into range for a final Hail Mary.

The Green Machine’s Brucher played brilliantly.

In the second quarter, Geneseo’s Brucher threw a deep shot downfield to Kyle Hofer for a completion of 49 yards to set up the Green Machine’s first scoring drive.

Geneseo’s Zac Olson scored to hand Geneseo an early 7-6 lead.

However, Rochelle returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Geneseo 36 yard line.

“They were playing on a short field on kickoffs,” Johnsen said. “We can’t allow that, so that’s got to be fixed.”