Upset-minded Genoa-Kingston certainly had its chances against Geneseo on Saturday in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
An opportunistic Cogs defense recovered five fumbles, but winning the turnover battle didn’t translate to victory on the scoreboard as the Maple Leafs clawed their way to a 24-0 triumph in a defensive slugfest.
“The eight guys up front and our safety did a hell of a job,” Genoa-Kingston coach Travis Frederick said. “We made (Geneseo) earn it the way we wanted.”
Trailing 10-0 in the third quarter, Genoa-Kingston had two golden opportunities when it recovered fumbles deep in Geneseo territory. The Cogs came away empty on both occasions, turning the ball over on downs at the 1 and 9-yard lines, respectively.
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Maple Leafs gained the upper hand in the second on Ryan Webster’s touchdown run and a field goal shortly before halftime. Geneseo (9-1) added a pair of touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, securing a spot in the second round next week against Plano.
For Genoa-Kingston (5-5), the outcome marked another hard-fought effort against a top-tier opponent. The Cogs suffered narrow defeats against Rockford Lutheran, Winnebago and Harvard during the regular season and will look to take another step forward next year after making their first playoff appearance since 2010.
“With Geneseo, the guys got a look at a really good perennial playoff power,” Frederick said. “It was a chance to see where they’re at where we’re at. We just need to keep getting better day by day, month by month and year by year.”