It’s hard to say which team is feeling better about themselves going into Week 2.
In the opener, Geneva defeated Madison 22-19, winning at Madison for the first time since 1998.
Meanwhile, Jefferson captured a 34-14 victory over Grand Valley, winning for the first time since Week 2 of the 2017 season.
Regardless of which one feels better, each team is on a high entering Friday’s game at Spire.
Geneva will played its first county opponent since Conneaut in 2015.
It will be the first meeting with Jefferson since 2011.
“It’s a matchup that’s long overdue,” Eagles coach Chip Sorber said of not playing their southern neighbors in nearly a decade.
Though, his team scrimmaged the Falcons a year ago, Sorber said Jefferson is a much different team from a year ago.
“They’re vastly improved from a year ago,” Sorber said. “They’re coming off a big win over a team they’ve not beaten in a long time, which is the same with us. So, we’re concerned with those guys. They’re very scrappy from what we’ve seen on film. So, we understand we’re going to be in for a tussle on our home turf..”
Both teams got it done on the ground last week.
Geneva ran for 270 yards, receiving 170 from Blake Peet. The Falcons’ Danny Brunkman rushed for 229 yards and four touchdowns.
Jefferson coach Ed Rankin said as much as his team enjoyed the win Friday night, the celebration didn’t distract the necessary preparations for Week 2.
“We’ve been getting ready since Saturday morning,” Rankin said. “We have a big challenge ahead of us. We’re looking forward to it, but it’s a big challenge, I’m not going to lie.”
The coach said Geneva’s offense in formidable.
“I think No. 5 (Blake Peet) and No. 33 (Vinny Varckette), make that offense go,” Rankin said. “Nobody brings those guys down on the first hit, they don’t just go down on the first hit. They’re fierce powerful runners.
“Also, their quarterback (Ben Scibona), I think he’s the best quarterback we’ve seen this year and we scrimmaged Conneaut, Garrettsville and Kirtland. He fakes that ball really well and has great command of the offense.”
The Eagles are about more than just skill guys, though. Up front is where they really excel.
With senior Brandon Thomas back healthy, and Temple recruit Sam Davis, a classmate, leading the way, Geneva is strong on both sides of the trenches, something that was not the case a year ago.
“A year our offensive line was in shambles,” Sorber said. “Fast forward to a year later, our offensive and defensive lines are a strong point of our team. Getting Brandon back was big and returning Sam and Edmund (Juodenas), Mike Cooper and John Amato, those are some good football players.”
Not only are they good, they are also experienced seniors.
It will be a test for the mix of youth and experience that will line up across from them.
“I want to see our kids take another step,” Rankin said. “To compete and battle a more mature team and opponent than we are. I want to see them compete and not lay down. We need to take a step, whatever the equates, I’m not into predicting scores, I just want to see our guys compete and fight.”