Football: Geneva loses game of ‘risk’ to St. Patrick
BY RICK ARMSTRONG firstname.lastname@example.org November 1, 2013 11:40PM
Geneva's Pace Temple tries to get around St. Patrick's Chris Virruso in Friday's playoff game. | Vince Curletta/For Sun-Times Media.
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:41AM
Rob Wicinski wasn’t giving up Friday when he instructed his defense to allow a score. He figured it was his team’s best chance to tie the game and force overtime.
The Geneva coach’s offense came close to pulling off the miracle comeback. Linebacker Cesar Almeida’s interception of a Daniel Santacaterina pass in the final minute at his team’s 15-yard line sealed the 10th seeded Shamrocks’ 31-23 upset of the No. 7 Vikings in a Class 7A playoff opener.
“It was a coin toss,” Wicinski said of allowing the third TD run of the game by Jeremy Molina from 15 yards out with 2:35 remaining and Geneva trailing 24-23 due to a missed extra point kick.
“Our defense was holding them but they weren’t, you know? (St. Pat’s) was grinding it,” continued Wicinski who had used up his timeouts earlier in the visitors’ final drive that started at their 32 with 5:41 remaining.
Molina, who finished with 32 carries for 163 yards, kept eating up short chunks of yardage and picking up first downs.
“(Molina has) got some big ol’ thighs and a big butt and he doesn’t go down on first contact,” said Geneva senior defensive lineman Billy Douds, who had kicked a 31-yard field goal with 2:45 left in the third quarter to tie the see-saw affair at 17-all.
Santacaterina, who passed for 206 yards and had TD throws of 15 yards to Kyle Brown and 12 and 49 yards to Pace Temple, drove his team from its 31 to the St. Pat 30 before throwing his second pick.
The Vikings also lost two fumbles and dropped the turnover battle 4-1. The visitors converted two turnovers into 14 points, which proved to be the difference.
Quentin Voce’s 27-yard fumble return for a score with 31 seconds in the third quarter broke the 17-all tie. Stephen Mulkerrins’ third of four PAT kicks looked like it could be the difference after Viking kicker Alex Browere missed on his final try.
“I gotta score and go for two so I figured give me some time,” Wicinski said. “You give up four turnovers and three of them when you’re in the hunt — don’t count that last one — against a team that grinds the ball, your possessions are limited.
“To give up four turnovers and still have the ball going for a tie, I can’t complain, because we probably should have been blown out.”
T.J. Miller ran for 127 yards to help give the Vikings a 432-333 advantage in total yards, but it couldn’t offset the turnovers.
“I had a feeling this one might go into overtime, that’s how evenly matched and competitive we were,” St. Patrick coach Dan Galante said. “That’s playoff football. Two very good teams going against each other. It was a chess match.”