The Geneseo football team found themselves in an early hole again Oct. 5 against Sterling and had to battle from behind, but that effort fell short as the Golden Warriors earned the 24-20 win.
"We just can't give up the big plays," said head coach Larry Johnsen. "We have to make the stop and get the ball back. We have to play with a sense of urgency from the start."
Cornell Hartz got the scoring started for Sterling with a 3-yard touchdown run and Salomon Ocampo added the PAT kick for the 7-0 lead.
Sterling scored again with only seconds left in the quarter on a Logan Wharff 35-yard pass reception from Tanner Morse, but the PAT failed for the 13-0 score.
Rayce Singbush got the Green Machine on the board as he busted out a 72-yard TD run, and Kevin Wolak added the PAT kick to make it 13-7 at the half.
A fumble recovery for a touchdown by Jon Solberg put Geneseo out in front by one, 14-13 after Wolak split the uprights for the PAT in the third quarter.
Sterling responded in the fourth quarter with a 3-yard TD run by Morse, and then converted the two-point conversion to go ahead 21-14.
The Golden Warriors tacked on a 36-yard field goal later in the quarter by Ocampo to put Sterling up by 10, 24-14.
Geneseo countered with a Luke Snyder 1-yard touchdown run, but the PAT kick failed to make it 24-20.
"The credit goes to Sterling," said Johnsen. "They made the plays and we didn't. The big problem was at the beginning — the blocked punt which had Sterling playing on a short field. We also can't give up fourth and long conversions."
The Green Machine was unable to punch in another score to steal the win.
Offensively, Geneseo totaled 224 yards with 186 rushing and 38 passing.
Singbush ran for 119 yards on 10 carries, followed by Ryan Webster with 41 on seven touches; Snyder, 24 yards on seven carries; and Brandon Mizlo, 16 yards on five carries.
Snyder passed for 38 yards on five completions to Matt Rowley, three for 19 yards; Webster, one for 10 yards; and Singbush, one for 9 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Geneseo allowed Sterling 243 yards of total offense with 173 rushing and 70 passing.
Nick Verbeck, Michael Daniels and Mizlo all came up with tackles for a loss, while Cameron Panicucci and Solberg grabbed a fumble recovery. A.J. Marmion broke through the Sterling line once for a sack.
"We saw some positives," said Johnsen. "I thought the offense's execution was pretty good and defensively we made progression.
"When you get into a funk you just have to stay the course, go with what you know and believe in it and not panic."
Page 2 of 2 - The Green Machine (3-4 overall and 1-2 in the NIB 12) will host Streator tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Bob Reade Field.