Genoa football coach Mike Vicars knows this much about Eastwood senior
running back Cody Seifert.
"He's the fastest kid in the league," Vicars said.
Seifert will use his speed to test Genoa's stingy defense when the two Suburban Lakes League teams square off Oct. 2 in Genoa.
Seifert (5-10, 170) was a state-placer in the 100-meter dash at the Division II state track and field meet as a sophomore, and he was a state qualifier again last spring.
"We won't have anybody who can catch him," Vicars said. "He's faster than Blair (Skilliter, former Genoa back). He is a hard runner and he's not the only weapon they have. Obviously, he's one of their primary weapons. If he slips past the line of scrimmage, we'll have a hard time catching him. We have to keep him pinned in, which most teams haven't been able to do."
Through four games Seifert has rushed for 613 yards and 10 touchdowns on 54 carries (11.4 average). He also has seven catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns. As a junior, Seifert rushed for 754 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 14 passes for 171 yards and two scores while splitting time in the Eagles' backfield with Ashton Brown and Matt Schlumbohm.
"The main thing is Cody's potential for a big play," Eastwood coach Jerry Rutherford said. "Anytime he gets hold of the ball, throwing or running, just because of his speed you get him in the open field and once you see him in the open, guys are going to have trouble catching him. His best 40 time was a 4.4 at the BG camp before his junior year."
Last Friday, in a 45-6 rout of Otsego, Seifert rushed for 172 yards and scored on runs of 57 and 49 yards. He also had 100 yards receiving, including an 80-yard touchdown catch.
"He's pretty shifty, and obviously he can run fast straight ahead," Rutherford said. "He's not real big, but he's put together pretty well and he's worked really hard. If you get thim through the line, he has the potential to make a big play, which he's been doing this year."
Eastwood junior running back Pernell Conner has 45 carries for 288 yards and two touchdowns, giving the Eagles a potent 1-2 punch in the backfield. Rutherford, however, said he would still like to see his offense score on a few long, sustained drives.
"We haven't really driven the ball," he said. "We've had a lot of two- and three-play drives. We're looking at driving the ball. One of our goals is to have four eight-play drives in a game. The only time we've done that is against Clyde (in a 32-21 win)."
Genoa, meanwhile, has its own version of a big-play backfield.
The Comets' top rusher is senior Greg Hillabrand, who has 25 carries for a 390 yards (15.6 average) and six touchdowns. Fellow senior Connor Wendt has run
the ball 15 times for 293 yards (19.5 average) and six touchdowns, and he's also caught six passes for 265 yards (44.2 average) and five TDs.
Rutherford said Hillabrand (5-8, 213) and Wendt (5-11, 175) have made quite an impression during the time they've been in Genoa's backfield.
"Last year Hillabrand was running near the sideline, right in front of me, and the hit he put on our defensive back ... he ran right over him," Rutherford said. "Wendt is a great athlete. He makes plays and he's been making plays for them since they were sophomores. He had a huge play for a touchdown two years ago against us in the regular season. He's been in a lot of big games and he's a great athlete. He's just like Cody in that he has the potential to make any play a big play."
In a 55-0 win over Woodmore last week, Hillabrand ran seven times for 145 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown, and Wendt had 121 yards rushing on seven carries and scored on runs of 12, 15 and 66 yards.