Following rough starts to the season, Geneva and St. Charles North finally entered the win column with blowout victories last week.
Now both teams will try to take another step forward when they square off in an intriguing Upstate Eight River clash tonight in St. Charles.
“It’s exactly a mirror image,” Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said of the North Stars. “They run the same defense as us, they run the same offense. Our uniforms are alike, we’re both 1-3 and we both had an opportunity to get our feet underneath us right before playing each other.”
For the Vikings, their much-needed victory came in the form of a 56-23 thrashing of Larkin. Senior running back Bobby Hess led the way, racking up 236 yards and five touchdowns.
Hess’ big game was just what Geneva (1-3, 1-1) needed after losing sophomore quarterback Daniel Santacaterina to a broken collar bone in a Week 3 loss against Batavia. Wicinski lauded Hess for his improved field vision against Larkin, and the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder’s big game certainly caught the attention of the North Stars.
“We heard (Hess) is fast, but when you see him on film against Larkin, he just takes off and leaves everybody in the dust,” St. Charles North coach Mark Gould said. “If he gets outside, it’s all over with.”
St. Charles North (1-3, 1-1) figures to be up to the challenge of trying to contain Hess. The North Stars have enjoyed some success on defense so far this season, including last week when they forced five turnovers while blanking Elgin 49-0.
Offensive consistency has been more of an issue for St. Charles North, but it showed signs of improvement against the Maroons as running backs Evan Kurtz and George Edlund combined for 169 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Gould is in his 12th and final year at St. Charles North, a program he led since its inception. The retiring Gould also spent one year as Geneva’s coach in 1994, but his North Stars are winless in their two matchups against his former team.
“The last couple years against Geneva we just didn’t seem very aggressive,” Gould said. “If they find a little bit of a weakness, boy, they’re going to exploit it and keep going after it. So that’s one of the big things we’re working on.”