GENOA – The Genoa-Kingston football team showed it was good enough to hang with an elite team in a 21-14 loss to North Boone on Friday. For a while, it looked as if the Cogs would pull off an upset after losing to the Vikings, 39-14, last season.
But ultimately, G-K (2-5, 2-2 Big Northern Conference East) couldn’t stop North Boone quarterback Austin Baden, who ran for 226 yards and passed for 204, and will miss the playoffs for the second straight year.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m proud of our team,” G-K quarterback Adam Price said. “We’ve improved a lot. It’s just too bad that we couldn’t get more wins under our belt to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs.”
Right away, the Cogs took the lead when Price drove G-K down the field on his team’s first drive, passing for 42 yards and finding receiver Mike Kuhn for a 15-yard touchdown with 6:41 remaining in the first quarter.
But Baden came back with a big drive of his own, driving the Vikings (7-0, 4-0 BNC East) and finding receiver Jon Lilly for a 15-yard touchdown. Baden completed 9-of-15 passes in the first quarter for 115 yards.
North Boone almost took the lead when Baden found a receiver wide open in the end zone on the Vikings’ next drive, but the pass was dropped.
After Price completed a 43-yard pass, Eli Thurlby ran for a 6-yard touchdown to give the Cogs a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
The Cogs, though, missed a golden opportunity late in the half, bringing the ball all the way to the 8-yard line before missing a 23-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, Thurlby left the game with a head injury and the Cogs weren’t able to compensate for their missing starting running back.
“It wasn’t the same offense without him,” Cogs coach Travis Fredricks said.
The Vikings began to take over in the third quarter, when Baden passed for two touchdowns, one of which came after a blocked kick.
“He’s so elusive,” Price said of Baden. “We think we have him beat on third-and-long. … He’s a very good athlete.”
Still, G-K had opportunities in the fourth quarter.
Twice, the Cogs held the Vikings to a missed field goal after they had the ball inside the G-K 5-yard line.
But G-K couldn’t convert, and Price finally threw an interception to Baden to effectively end the game.
The Cogs will head to Harvard next week before finishing the season at home against Marengo.
“We’re a better team than we were last year,” Fredricks said. “We’re playing much tougher defense this year. Overall, we’ve improved.”