But there wasn't much doubt about the outcome, truth be told. Geneva scored on every possession, led 41-6 at the half and finished the regular season with a 55-6 win over the Streamwood Sabres during Senior Recognition Night at Burgess Field.
Geneva advances to 7-2 for the season; Streamwood finishes at 1-8.
What happens from here will be of more than passing interest to Viking fans. What's to be determined is whether the Vikings will be playing in Division 6A or 7A and who their next opponent might be.
So, why the blond hair?
"It’s a playoff thing," junior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina said. "Every year, we do something with the hair for the playoffs. We did it early this year, before the last game, to kind of get our minds set: This is a playoff game, we’ve got to win home-field advantage, and eventually the playoffs start."
Indeed they do, and it's been a remarkable run to get there.
The Vikings started 1-2 with a huge win over Oswego to start the season, followed by losses to playoff-bound Wheaton North and Batavia. From there, six straight wins, including nailbiters against St. Charles North and St. Charles East and last week's thrilling 49-45 crossover win at Metea Valley.
"We feel confident," Santacaterina said. "We’re rolling a little bit, coming in with a win streak. It doesn’t really matter to me who we draw, we’ve got to come out ready, focused, prepared, and hopefully, it will be a good run."It was a very nice run — literally and figuratively — for the Vikings Friday night at Burgess Field.
In the first half, the Vikings drove 51 yards in seven plays to score in the first series. T.J. Miller took it in on a 6-yard run to make it 6-0. Alex Browere kicked the extra point, and Geneva led 7-0.
Geneva scored in its second possession after holding the Sabres to three-and-out. Santacaterina hit Kyle Brown on a 41-yard pass and run, and finished the drive with a 3-yard pass to Joe Boenzi — yes you read that right, Joe Boenzi — to go on top 14-0.
The second quarter got started with a 70-plus-yard Chris Barger punt return, and the Vikings scored with 10:05 left on a 1-yard Miller run. A bobbled snap led to a 2-point conversion attempt that failed, and it was 20-0.
A fumble recovery gave the Vikings good field possession, and after a 22-yard pass from Santacaterina to Brown, Geneva scored on a 3-yard Miller run with 6:52 on the second-quarter clock to make it 27-0.
After another forced fumble and recovery, Santacaterina hit Pace Temple on a 24-yard touchdown strike. With 4:11 left in the half, it was Geneva 34, Streamwood 0.
The Sabres came back and scored on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Mason Polich to Kevin Drwal, ending the Vikings' shutout hopes. The Sabres' extra point was blocked, and the score was 34-6.
But after a Charlie-Brown miss with an onside kick attempt, the Sabres kicked deep to Barger—which turned out to be worse than the kickoff whiff. Barger scored on a 70-yard return with 56 seconds remaining, and the Vikings took a 41-6 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Vikings got the running clock. They scored to start the period on a 39-yard Miller run with 9:59 left, making it 48-6. Under Illinois High School Association rules, the clock stays running and doesn't stop once the margin is 40 points or more.
A lot of Geneva players got some game time in the fourth quarter. Geneva scored with 11:47 showing when quarterback Sean Chambers hit Brock Perry for the touchdown. With a good kick, the score was 55-6.
Coach Rob Wicinski said he was proud of his 16 seniors, who worked so hard after a 4-5 campaign in 2012 to get the team back on a winning track.
"This (season) could have gone south really easily if not for some leadership," he said.
Friday's effort was all about fundamentals as the Vikings prepare for whatever comes next.
"We just wanted to be tight and just be clean," Wicinski said. "And we wanted good integrity out of our defense. At Metea Valley, we got ourselves out of position a couple of times. It’s stuff guys shouldn’t be doing at this time of year. So we really worked hard at getting them into their proper positions, and I think they did. I’m anxious to see the film."
Wicinski, incidentally, was wearing his hair as usual, dark except for — we're guessing — a gray hair or two after surviving this tough regular season. No blond dye for the coach.
"My wife said, ‘You want to make yourself look uglier?’ I said, ‘Whoa, right hook! Take the gloves off!’ No, I’ll have other teams. This (the blond hair) is their deal."
Score By Quarters
Geneva — 14-27-7-7 — 55
Streamwood — 0-6-0-0 — 6