ROCKFORD – All second half, the Genoa-Kingston defense had avoided giving up the big play.
But Rockford Lutheran running back James Robinson broke free for a 66-yard touchdown scamper on a third down with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Cogs responded with a Max Hernandez touchdown to get within two points, but it wasn’t enough in a 29-27 loss.
“I’ll have to check the film, but it looked kind of inside there or off tackle,” G-K coach Travis Frederick said of Robinson’s run. “It was third and long. You can be thinking a lot of different things – pass, screen, what not.”
Lutheran (2-0) started the scoring off with a big play, when the Crusaders scored quickly on a 41-yard TD pass from quarterback Kendall Lawson to Robinson, adding a 2-point conversion.
G-K (0-2) answered on a Sal Lopez 1-yard TD run. The Cogs tried for a 2-point conversion, but running back Eli Thurlby couldn’t find the end zone.
Lutheran responded right away, as Lawson, on the Crusaders’ first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, ran 80 yards untouched, keeping the ball on an option play. Pearson kicked the extra point for a 15-6 Lutheran lead.
G-K put together a long drive of its own at the start of the second quarter, with Lopez scoring his second TD of the game from 29 yards out. He caught a 2-point conversion pass from Griffin McNeal to bring the Cogs within 1.
Lopez finished with 136 rushing yards.
The Crusaders opened the second half with a 19-yard run by Robinson after a G-K fumble. The Cogs got to within 2 at the start of the fourth on a Mike Kuhn 6-yard TD pass from McNeal, but Lutheran sealed the game with Robinson’s third TD of the game, the 66-yard run.
The Hernandez touchdown catch came with 3:25 left in the game. The Cogs had a chance to win in the final minute, but Lutheran’s Luke Anderson picked off McNeal to end the game.