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GENOA - The coaches from both Eastwood and Genoa were left speechless after a much anticipated showdown ended up being over before halftime.
All that Comets coach Mike Vicars could tell his team after a 54-11 demolition of the Eagles Friday night was "Wow!"
Genoa improved to 6-0 overall, 2-0 in the Suburban Lakes League, and ended any doubts early with a 34-3 ambush after two quarters. It was the 25th straight regular-season victory for the Comets.
Genoa churned out 512 yards of offense, including 364 on the ground, and did not have to punt until the fourth quarter. Eastwood (5-1, 2-1) came in averaging 53.2 points and 436 yards per game but managed just 220 yards before a capacity crowd.
"It's just wow. I'm speechless," Vicars said of the game most believed would decide the SLL title. "We were good on both sides of the ball. We only gave up 11 points to a team that is scoring tons and the one TD came late. What are you going to say?"
Senior quarterback Matt Bassitt hooked up with senior Connor Wendt on TD passes of 26, 29, and
24 yards. Wendt also scored on the ground. Senior back Greg Hillabrand scored on runs of 10, 75, and 15 yards. Hillabrand finished with a game-high 181 rushing yards.
"We just came out swinging," Hillabrand said. "We dominated on the ground. You hear the crowd erupt and that's what it's all about. This gives us great momentum."
Eastwood was within 11 points late in the second quarter. But on fourth and 3 at the Eagles' 10, Hillabrand sprinted into the end zone. The extra point attempt failed, but Genoa still led 20-3. The Comets scored five unanswered TDs after an Eagle field goal.
"We knew we had to be able to stop their run and weren't able to," Eastwood coach Jerry Rutherford offered. "They have a pretty good football team."
In the first half, Genoa racked up 292 yards, including 175 rushing. Genoa also held the Eagles to 94 yards - all on the ground.
Wendt, who finished with 128 yards receiving and 41 rushing yards, scored three first-half touchdowns, including two in the first quarter to give the Comets a 14-0 lead.
"We went in thinking it was a statement game," Wendt said. "We wanted to show the whole state where we are coming from. Our line blocked real well tonight and it's easy because there are so many openings and cutbacks."
Hillabrand also scored twice on the ground, including on back-to-back carries to give the Comets a 27-3 lead. Genoa then stopped Eastwood on a fourth-and-2 attempt at midfield. Wendt and Bassitt capitalized on a 29-yard touchdown pass as Wendt made an adjustment on an underthrown ball and scored for a 34-3 lead.
Genoa did not take the foot off the pedal in the third quarter, scoring twice on long drives to grab a 47-3 lead.
"We have a pounder in the middle with Greg," Vicars said. "We have the ability to get to the outside with Connor and then we can flank them out and throw."
Eastwood kicker Taylor Depew converted a 23-yard field goal. QB Clayton Ruch threw for 56 yards, while running backs Cody Seifert (51 yards) and Pernell Conner (84 yards) were contained. Ruch connected with Clay Rolf on a 56-yard TD late.
Senior linebacker Alex Eckel led Genoa with nine tackles and recovered a fumble for the Comets. Bassitt finished with 148 yards passing.
"It was a big game with lots of people here," Vicars said. "We didn't punt or turn it over until six minutes were left."
Contact Mark Monroe at:
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