GENOA – The Cogs never say die.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go their way down the stretch. Genoa-Kingston made play after play to hang with No. 9 Harvard, but lost, 22-21.
“I think we played well overall,” senior running back Sal Lopez said. “We were physically beating them the whole game. They got some big plays on us and that is what made us lose the game.”
Genoa-Kingston (4-4, 4-1 Big Northern Conference East) trailed 22-15 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Cogs took over on their own 30-yard line. The running game, led by Lopez, continued to push against the Harvard (8-0, 5-0 BNC East) defensive line.
After 16 plays on the drive, the Cogs were on the 4-yard line. Lopez pounded the ball into the end zone and G-K trailed by one with 1:44 remaining. The Cogs converted three fourth downs on the drive.
The Cogs went for the two-point conversion. Quarterback Griffin McNeal rolled right and threw toward Tyeler L’Huillier, but the pass was broken up.
G-K then tried an onside kick that Eli Thurlby recovered to give the Cogs another chance.
On the next play, McNeal dropped back to pass, but was hit as he attempted to throw. The ball was ruled a fumble and the Hornets recovered. Harvard ran out the clock.
“I told them to keep their chins up; it is a four-quarter game,” G-K coach Travis Frederick said. “There is a lot more into it than just one play.”
McNeal ended the game with 155 yards passing and a touchdown. The score was a pass to Thurlby as time expired at the end of the first half. Lopez ended the game with 86 yards on 25 carries and two rushing touchdowns.
“They were very physical yards. [Lopez] was definitely tired after that game,” Frederick said. “He is going to be sore tomorrow.”
The Cogs need a win next week against Marengo to become playoff-eligible. G-K has enough playoff points that a victory likely will get them in the postseason.
“I am very proud. They don’t back down and they are always game for anybody,” Frederick said. “We have a big one next week and our backs are against the walls. We can’t hang over it going into Marengo.”