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Elmhurst IC Knights
G - Borkgren 18 yard run (Hofer PAT) (7-0)
IC - Simoncelli 35 yard fumble return (Nicholas 2PT) (7-8)
G - Borkgren 11 yard run (Penney 2PT) (15-8)
IC - Dvorak 8 yard pass from Durante (Nicholas 2PT) (15-16)
G - Callow 6 yard run (PAT Failed) (21-16)
|3A Quarterfinals - November 11, 1978 - GHS Athletic Field
|Article From The Geneseo Republic
Green Machine Scores In Last 18 Seconds!
With 7:10 to play, Elmhurst's Ed Dvorak intercepted a pass deep in Geneseo territory, and the Knights, leading
16-15 were in great shape. They had dominated the second half, making full use of their superior size. They had
more than neutralized the superior quickness which had allowed Geneseo to dominate the first half. In Atkinson, a
man listening to the game on his radio stopped his vehicle, slammed the door, cursed, and said, "Well that's it for
the good ol' Green Machine this year." as he kicked open the door to a store. A few minutes later, he turned on the
radio again. Geneseo was on Elmhurst's one yard line. He probably cursed again. Talk about some wild and
With 0:18 to go, wingback Darron Callow got blocks from Bruce Westemeyer and Chris Ford, and did the rest
himself. He spun away from a linebacker and twisted into the endzone. The Leafs will play again! Geneseo reached
deep inside itself after Dvorak intercepted that pass. Elmhurst lost two yards in four plays, from the Geneseo 31 to
the 33. Green shirts, which had been getting knocked around, suddenly were engulfing the Elmhurst Knights.
Geneseo received Elmhurst's punt, and the Leafs were 77 yards away from pay dirt, with 5:05 left to play. Jay
Penny ran a quarterback draw for 15 yards. Almost unnoticed at the time, it may have been his most deft move of
the season. On third at 14, he passed 11 yards to Norm Singbush, and on fourth and two, tailback Bruce Borkgren
slammed ahead four yards. Borkgren got three more as Geneseo crossed midfield, but now time was a factor. Two
minutes were left.
Penny pitched to Borkgren, who tried a halfback pass to Singbush. Like many passes on this raw, windy day, this
one wobbled, and was almost intercepted. On the next play, third and seven, Geneseo was called for having an
ineligible receiver downfield. A 15 yard penalty was assessed, and Geneseo was back at its own 38. Here, the
officials made an error. On the ineligible receiver downfield, there is supposed to be a loss of yardage and loss of
down. But, they didn't rule loss of down, and Elmhurst apparently missed the error.
But now, it was time to open the black box. The secret play. Geneseo's players call it the "Hamster Special",
assistant coach Tom Schmulbach calls it "Plan X", Elmhurst coach Jack Lewis called it "garbage" and "baloney".
Reade calls it the "Hampshire Special" because he got it from Hampshire coach Ron Ellett when the two coached an
all-star team in August of 1977.
Quarterback Penney threw an overhand lateral to split end Singbush, who had taken two steps behind the line of
scrimmage. Wingback Callow ran out of the backfield, and shred his defender. Singbush waited for the coverage to
close in on him, then lofted a Joe Kapp special. The only quesion....would Callow, running alone and looking like a
thousand-legged spider falling down a hill, catch up to the wind blown ball? "He caught the ball!" shouted Geneseo
principal Fred Curtis, as Callow made a diving sag at the Elmhurst 20.
"I would rather they would have beaten us by running the ball down our throats." said Lewis. Geneseo was to do
just that.....in just a bit. Knight end Greg Kowsleky, on a blitz, sacked Penney, and it was third and 14 with 1:06
left. Singbush peeled back, and took a Penney screen pass. He made it to the 11, where it was fourth and one,
with 0:53 left. Tailback Borkgren got the call. He burst ahead, fumbled, but fell on the ball on the nine. First and
goal, with 0:48 left. Borkgren slashed to the three then fullback Kevin Morris to the six inch line. With 0:21 left,
Borkgren went over, but he had started too soon, and Geneseo was back out to the six, with third down. Callow
plowed in for the TD.
Geneseo kicked off to a team that was known for running back kickoffs. Jeff Chadd made sure it didn't happen this
time, and Elmhurst didn't stop the clock. Early in the game, Geneseo looked like it might blow Elmhurst away but a
fumble, alertly recovered by Russ Simoncelli and ran back for a touchdown, prevented that. Geneseo took the
opening kickoff and easily cut through the larger Knight defense. The Green Machine drove 80 yards in 14 plays,
the first 13 going inside as Geneseo rolled 5'10" 240 pound guard Mike Lombardo into the hole and ran right past
him. Geneseo scored on its first wide play, an 18 yard sweep right by Borkgren. Lance Hofer kicked the extra point.
Down 7-0, Elmhurst tried to pass on its first play and ran wide on its next. The Knights had moved all season on
the power running of fullback Frank Nicholas. Geneseo, especially Steve Blank and Kurt Wirth were ready early.
Why run wide? "We though it was there," said Lewis. "But it didn't go." On the second play of the second quarter, a
Penney pitchout to Borkgren was fumbled, and strong safety Simoncelli scooped up the ball on the first bounce. On
the dead run, he easily scored from 35 yards out. Big Nicholas blasted over right tackle for a two-pointer, and it
was 8-7 Elmhurst.
On Geneseo's first play, Callow fumbled, and Tom Pezza recovered on the Geneseo 10 yard line. On fourth and
goal from the two, quarterback Rob Durante mishandled the snap from center, and Geneseo had the ball at the
three. "That was a key," said Lewis. "Had we scored there we would had'em down by two."
Coming up was the second gorgeous Geneseo drive.....97 yards in 16 brutal plays. Borkgren ran particularly well,
and got the score on an 11 yard slant off right tackle. Penney optioned left for a two-pointer, and dived across the
goal line. The drive, which had taken seven minutes left Geneseo on top 15-8 at the half. The halftime stats were
all Geneseo. Geneseo had 18 first downs to two for Elmhurst. Geneseo had run twice as many plays, and had out
rushed IC 179 to 27. Borkgren already had gained 114 yards.
The larger Knights ran right at Geneseo, and sustained their blocks. "That neutralized them, and all their
movement didn't mean much," said Lewis. "I know we'd be OK in the second half. We've been a second half team
all season." Lance Hofer, who played a magnificent game at free safety, belted Matt Verpaele for no gain on fourth
and four from the Leaf 37 the first time IC had the all, but Geneseo wasn't going anywhere until that last
memorable drive. Geneseo, infact had the ball just six plays in the third quarter.
Elmhurst scored on its second possession of the second half. Durante passed 12 yards to Simoncelli, Verpaele ran
11 yards and IC was rolling. The drive carried to the Geneseo eight, where it was fourth and three. Durante passed
left, and threw a beauty over the outstretched arm of a Geneseo defender. Tight end Dvorak made the catch in the
end zone. It was 15-14 Geneseo but Nicholas took a pass in the endzone just before being creamed. He held on for
a two-pointer, and IC led 16-15 with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
Two more Geneseo drives went nowhere....the second one ending on Dvorak's interception of Penney, the first
interception against Geneseo all season. Suddenly, Geneseo found strength, and won the football game. Big
Lombardo, after having a bad time on defense in the first half, spend much time in the Geneseo backfield early in
the second half. And he wasn't the only Knight to play some outstanding football. For Geneseo, Blank had a fine
game throughout. Nick Panicucci and Gary Boblett had strong second halves, and Derrick Skiles did a great deal to
prevent Elmhurst from getting an outside game underway.
Geneseo didn't cross midfield in the second half until its game winning drive. Curiously, all 18 Geneseo first downs
in the game came during the three Geneseo scoring drives.
"I hate to see our kids lose it on a garbage play like that," said Lewis referring to Geneseo's "Hampshire Special".
"We have a tough conference up there. We play games like this every week, and we don't have that aerial circus,
sandlot flea-flicker baloney. We dominated the second half, and you can't count that baloney." said Lewis. "That
that away, and it was all over. Also, we dropped an interception with two minutes to go. That would have ended it.
I can't believe we lost. I didn't think I'd be this disappointed. We'll be back."
But not this week. Geneseo "baloney" and all, will be the team playing Sycamore in the semifinals.
Notes From Garrett:
The Green Machine went onto win their third straight 3A State Championship in what would eventually be Coach
Reades final season before moving onto Augustana.