Quarterback Ryan Whitney ran for one touchdown and passed for another Friday night to lead Geneseo/Mount Morris to a 14-6 victory over visiting Notre Dame in Section V varsity football action.
The 6-2, 190-pound junior opened the scoring with a 9-yard scamper on a first-and-goal play late in the first quarter and then found junior wide receiver Eghosa Okpefe in the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.
The Blue Devils, 3-2, upped their lead to 14-0 with just 16 seconds remaining in the half when Whitney launched a deep pass that was on the money to Okpefe, who had raced behind the secondary and sprinted untouched into the end zone. A pass for the two-point conversion fell incomplete.
Notre Dame, 1-4, had the ball in Geneseo/Mount Morris territory throughout the opening half but three potential scoring drives were thwarted by an interception by lineman Giovanni Provo, Fighting Irish quarterback Jimmy Fanara being stopped just short of a first down at the 20-yard line and a dropped pass around the 10-yard line.
The Fighting Irish offense broke a nine-quarter scoring drought late in the third period when, on a first-and-10 play at the Geneseo/Mount Morris 46, Fanara connected with sophomore wide receiver Ryan Fitzpatrick for a touchdown.
Fitzpatrick hauled in the pass, put a fake on the defender around the 20-yard line and beat the defense to the end zone. A run for the two-point conversion was unsuccessful.
Notre Dame got the ball back right away when Jay Antinore intercepted a Whitney pass at midfield.
A 25-yard run by Evan Cummings moved the ball to the Geneseo/Mount Morris 30, but a holding penalty negated another nice gain by Cummings, and the drive stalled.
Cummings came up with interceptions on consecutive Blue Devils’ possessions to start the fourth quarter – the second one giving ND the ball at the home team’s 39.
On offense, Cummings picked up 13 yards on three runs before Geneseo/Mount Morris’ defense stiffened. Two incompletions and a short gain on fourth-and-20 turned the ball over the Blue Devils, who – with Whitney carrying the load – ran out the clock.
Whitney ran the ball 24 times for 80 yards and completed six of 19 passes for 127 yards, one TD and three interceptions. Okpefe had three receptions for 90 yards and the touchdown.
For the Irish, Cummings rushed for 56 yards on 11 carries and Fanara gained 60 yards on eight attempts, including a 40-yard scamper late in the first quarter. Fanara was 6-for-21 passing for 68 yards and a TD.
On defense, Camden King recovered a muffed punt.
The Irish will host Alexander at 1 p.m. Saturday as part of the school’s Homecoming.
Activities include a “celebration of life” in honor of the late Ricky Mancuso Jr. (Class of 2005) at noon, prayer service led by Walter Szczesny (Class of 1976), halftime ceremony renaming the football field in honor of the late coach Bill Sutherland and a reception hosted by the Sutherland family at T.F. Brown’s Restaurant following the game.