HARVARD – The Genoa-Kingston football team had to feel good heading into halftime down seven points, but that quickly changed one play into the third quarter.
The Cogs fumbled the kickoff and Harvard recovered. A 15-yard touchdown run on the next play put the Hornets up 14-0, and Harvard scored on three of its next four possessions for a 36-7 BNC East win.
“That second half, you blink ...,” G-K coach Travis Frederick said. “There’s a turnover here, a first-play touchdown. Next thing you know it snowballs. It gets away from you in a hurry.”
The Cogs (2-6, 2-3) were moving the ball in the first half, totaling 168 yards, and getting into Harvard’s territory, but couldn’t finish drives.
On their first possession, G-K took nine plays to get down to Harvard’s 27-yard line, but failed to convert on fourth-and-7. The next offensive possession ended in another fourth down on the Hornets’ 42, as Sal Lopez was stopped for no gain by a blitzing linebacker, and their third offensive possession ended with an interception.
“We struggle at times finishing,” Frederick said. “All the basic principles we try to preach, we let that stuff kill us tonight.”
The Hornets (4-4, 2-3) strung together a six-play, 58-yard drive that ended on a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Christian Kramer for the only score of the first half.
After forcing a three-and-out on Harvard, the Cogs took seven plays to get to Harvard’s 9. Sophomore quarterback Griffin McNeal, starting his first varsity game because of an injury to starter Adam Price, had two 14-yard runs on the drive and connected with receiver Mike Kuhn on a 30-yard pass to set up first-and-goal. The next play, though, was a fumble recovered by the Hornets.
The Cogs had two more failed fourth-down attempts in the half in Harvard territory, one from the Hornets’ 31 and the other from the 36.
The Cogs finally found the scoreboard on their last possession of the game, on a 29-yard run by Mike Muntnar. Muntnar led G-K with 47 yards on seven rushes, with Gabe Williams adding 37 yards on eight carries. McNeal ended up 7 for 17 for 92 yards with two interceptions, connecting with Kuhn three times for 50 yards.
“I told [McNeal] to keep his chin up,” Fredricks said. “He’s a smart kid. He’s got good things ahead of him.”