The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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October 22, 2013

Geneva out to right the ship

Eagles can finish .500 if they win out against North and University

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Tony Hassett had an inkling it wasn’t going to be a good night for his Geneva Eagles last Thursday when they took the short journey to Madison to take on the on-a-roll Blue Streaks.

“You know it is not going to be a good night when you have a short trip and one of the buses breaks down on the way to the game,” Hassett said.

Then, there were coach Tim Willis’ Blue Streaks, who administered a 30-0 whipping on the Eagles at Blue Streak Memorial Stadium.

“Simply put, they were better,” the straight-shooting Hassett said. “We could not get anything going. We are proud of the way we came out the second half and played with a better intensity.  

“Madison is a good football team. They have first block during the day, where all their players get to lift. It makes a difference.”

He came away impressed with Madison.

“We just could not block them at all,” Hassett said. “They beat us up front. If you lose that battle, it is going to be a long night.”

And it was, but now the Eagles (3-5, 1-4) turn their attention to their Week 9 assignment — North, which will host Geneva Friday.

Coach George Burich’s Rangers (1-7, 1-4) are coming off their first win of the season, a 21-18 invasion and conquest of University School on Saturday afternoon. Geneva leads the all-time series, 6-3, after a 34-26 triumph last fall at Spire Stadium. North’s last win in the series was a 23-0 win in 2011 in Eastlake.

“They are a big, strong team,” Hassett said of North. “They have had some problems this season, but they did beat University last Saturday for their first win. They will be ready for us Friday.  

“They have been able to move the ball this season — stopping teams has been a problem. We need to come out and be ready to play four quarters of intense football.”

Hassett said the Rangers changed their offense a bit from their pass-dominated philosophy utilized in recent seasons.

“They seem to run multiple systems this year,” he said. “They have gone from a spread team to more of a running team. They will run double tights and double-wing sets, along with wing over.  

“They ran for 276 yards against University. We need to buckle it up this week and get one.”

Hassett saw North’s victory against US on Saturday.

“Against University, they started a sophomore quarterback, Patrick Dixon, who did a good job,” he said. “Chris Brisar has also seen action at that spot. (Tailback) Mike Ranallo ran for 96 yards against University.  He has good speed and power. Jack Cook will also see action at that spot.  

“And (receiver) Anton Vrebec is a big, tall receiver at 6-foot-5 who we must contend with. Their offensive line is good and big. We must be ready to play.”

Hassett said a good start Friday night would go a long way to earning a win, which would allow Geneva to not only surpass its win total (3) from the past two seasons, but to also earn an opportunity for a break-even season if it can defeat visiting US in Week 10.

“We need to come out of the gate with intensity and a purpose... play with pride and intensity,” he said. “We need to execute on offense and outhit them and hustle on defense. We need to read our keys and get to the ball.  

“On offense, we need to block until the whistle. These simple objectives will help us to secure a victory.”

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