Genoa’s first-year football coach Tim Spiess patrolled the sideline in a long sleeve dress shirt and a maroon tie, an ensemble that takes him down memory lane to the last time he was the man calling shots.
His offensive coordinator, Mike Vicars, watched in comfort from the press box — a departure from the stress he once felt as the team’s head coach.
Longtime friends Spiess and Vicars have swapped roles this season, but little else has changed with the Genoa football program. The Comets, still leaning on their brutal ground attack, clobbered host Ottawa Hills 58-7 in a battle of playoff teams from 2011, showing no signs of deceleration in their first outing of the new era.
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All-Ohio running back Kyle Nutter amassed 237 yards on 16 carries and scored five touchdowns, and the defense gobbled up an Ottawa Hills offense rife with playmakers.
“Very typical Genoa football,” Spiess said. The Comets were 56-7 in five years under Vicars.
Genoa totaled 553 rushing yards on 45 tries — an average of more than 12 yards. Nutter busted an 80-yard scamper on the first offensive play of the second half, pushing the lead to 41-7. Moments later his brother, David, scored from 27 yards for his second TD of the evening.
The Comets threw for 64 yards for total yardages of 617.
“It all feels the same,” Kyle Nutter said. “Nothing’s changed.”
A 76-yard jaunt by Jake Wojciechowski in the fourth quarter ended the onslaught.
The lone points put up by Ottawa Hills came in the second quarter with Judah Wollenburg placing perfect touch on a vertical pass for AJ King. King, who had blown past the secondary, did the rest to finalize a 58-yard hook up.
That marked the lone break down for a defense that created two turnovers — an interception by Quentin Spiess and a fumble recovery by Logan Bryer — and held Ottawa Hills to just 36 rushing yards and 95 yards passing.
Will Longthorne, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, managed 39 yards on 10 attempts. He carried the ball once in the second half.
“Anybody who knows anything about football understands they’re significantly better than us,” Ottawa Hills coach Chris Hardman said. “But playing them, we hope, lifts our eyes to what we hope to become. Now you have to take a whooping to do it, but it’sOK. We recovered very well last year, and the same thing will happen this year. We’ll be fine.”
The relationship connecting Spiess and Vicars dates back to the late 1980s. Spiess, then at Edgerton, was the second youngest coach in Ohio. Vicars, at Holgate, was younger.
Spiess informed his team before the game that on the bottom of his contract he indicated he will consider stepping aside if Vicars gets reinvigorated and wants the job back. Could that happen?
“Boy, that’s a tough question,” Vicars said. “As of today I would say the role that I have is about as much as I want. You would think if I was going to miss it I would miss it right now, but you never know.”
Spiess delivered a humorous line when asked to assess Vicars’ first day on the job.
“We scored 58 points, we had 500-plus yards rushing. I’ll lift that suspension without pay,” he said.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.