GENOA – He resembled Michael Vick, wearing No. 7 on his green-and-white uniform and regularly lining up in the shotgun.
Unfortunately for Genoa-Kingston, North Boone quarterback Austin Baden was also every bit a dual-threat as the Philadelphia Eagles star.
Baden was simply unstoppable Friday night, finishing with 400 yards of total offense in the Cogs' 39-14 home loss to the Vikings.
"He's a very talented kid, and we all knew that," G-K coach Travis Frederick said. "He's a very special player, and he plays with a lot of confidence. He's a very confident kid out there.
"He took some real serious licks, and he kept on ticking."
Baden completed 17 of 27 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns, almost exclusively out of the shotgun. He added 128 rushing yards and three touchdowns, averaging more than 6 yards per carry. His favorite target was senior receiver Dylan Corson, who caught 10 passes for 161 yards, including back-to-back touchdowns of 20 and 25 yards in the first half.
At one point early in the fourth quarter, a G-K (1-4, 0-1 Big Northern Conference East) defender hit Baden so hard he was left writhing in pain on the ground. Baden returned after missing one play, and immediately completed a 25-yard pass. He scored on a 3-yard run on the next snap.
G-K got plenty of "real serious licks" on the Vikings' (4-1, 1-0 BNC East) quarterback. But most of the Cogs' hard hits came without defenders wrapping up and tackling.
"We have to get that one-on-one tackle," junior safety Gabe Williams said. "Open-field tackles is what we have to work on the most for our defense."
As a halfback, Williams rushed eight times for 77 yards. Senior fullback Luke Schumacher added 55 yards on 18 carries. After breaking out in last week's win at Rock Falls, G-K's offense was sharp early, scoring both touchdowns in the second quarters.
But the Cogs' defense never gave them a chance.
Improving the Cogs' pass coverage likely will be a point of emphasis this week. Many of Baden's receivers were free to run open in the secondary. But Frederick credited Baden's dual-threat ability for loosening up G-K's coverage.
"We were so worried about him running, we felt like we had to challenge him," Frederick said. "I mean, you could get beat having him run, or you could get beat having him throw the ball and taking some chances. Maybe you get a bad throw or a pick, a couple balls batted down and a couple shots on the quarterback."