QUINCY — The only thing that could stop Quincy High School quarterback Adon Byquist on Friday night was himself.
With the Blue Devils leading Geneseo 9-0 midway through the second quarter, nature called and Byquist had to answer. His absence from the Flinn Stadium turf was only temporary as he missed one offensive series. Geneseo had little luck in containing the sophomore the rest of the night as he scored three touchdowns and rushed for more than 200 yards in leading QHS to a 23-22 Western Big Six Conference victory.
“This is huge,” Byquist said of the win that lifted the Blue Devils’ record to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in WB6 action. “We haven’t won a home game all season. I feel like our chemistry hasn’t been the best the whole season. I believe this game has helped us establish a good chemistry and we can work together.”
The Blue Devils needed some late defensive work to put the Maple Leafs (3-4, 1-4) away. Geneseo pulled to within 23-22 after junior Jaden Weinzierl got behind the QHS defense and caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from A.J. Weller with just under five minutes to play.
As they had all night, the Maple Leafs lined up for a go-ahead two-point conversion try.
“I always play cheerleader after a score,” QHS coach Rick Little said. “Often times kids will get down and they are playing so hard on each play. They think, ‘Oh my gosh, they just scored.’ But the most important play is the next one, which was the two-point conversion.”
Quincy junior Sawyer Mulherin burst through the Geneseo line and hit Weller as he attempted the two-point conversion pass. Waiting at the other end of the throw was Quincy’s Gregory Quince for an interception.
“That was crucial for the win,” Mulherin said. “It felt great getting their quarterback down and us getting that pick.”
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead after a 32-yard field goal by Justin Beaver after their first drive, the Blue Devils turned to Byquist. Early in the second quarter, he scored on a nifty run on a broken play that saw him weave through the Geneseo defense and carry two defenders into the end zone on a 9-yard scoring run, which gave Quincy a 9-0 lead.
During the one drive Byquist missed, the Blue Devils drove the ball deep into Geneseo territory only to have a freak play turn the ball over. A pass attempt by Bradyn Little was batted at the line of scrimmage and wound up in the hands of Geneseo linebacker John Snyder. Only a hustling play by offensive lineman Brady Wells saved a touchdown as he pulled down Snyder near midfield. Three plays later Quince picked off a Weller pass.
The Blue Devils turned that turnover into points as Byquist ran up the gut of the Geneseo defense for a 36-yard touchdown with just over two minutes left in the first half for a 16-0 lead that QHS took into halftime.
Geneseo opened the second half by cutting the lead in half on its first drive. Weinzierl scored on a 5-yard run and Weller connected with Logan Pardoe on the two-point conversion pass.
The Blue Devils answered quickly when Byquist scored on a 55-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage for a 23-8 cushion.
A 22-yard TD run by Geneseo’s William Taylor and a two-point conversion run by Joshua Steines cut the QHS lead to 23-16 with just over two minutes left in the third.
Quincy nearly put the game away on its final drive, but Geneseo stopped the Blue Devils on fourth and one from the 5-yard line with just over three minutes to play.
The Quincy defense held, snuffing out the Maple Leafs drive after just one first down.
“Our defense was able to execute up front,” Mulherin said. “We did really well in the first half and that fourth quarter, which opened up a lot of good holes for linebackers to plug.”
Byquist finished with 209 yards rushing as QHS finished with 275 yards as a team.
The win helps keeps the Blue Devils hopes of making the playoffs alive.
“We have to win these games to get to the postseason,” Mulherin said. “We have one out of three. We need to get two more.”
Quincy will try to take the next step at home next Friday when Rock Island Alleman visits. The Pioneers fell to 0-7 overall and 0-5 in WB6 play after suffering a 48-7 loss to United Township on Friday night.