Did the Green Machine have one more comeback left?

Did the Green Machine have one more comeback left?

The Geneseo football team earned a playoff berth in the final minute of the regular season finale against Morris.

However, a pair of desperation Hail Mary passes with less than 17 seconds left in the game weren’t enough to send the Green Machine to the second round of the playoffs.

The Dixon Dukes escaped with a 40-35 victory with just a few yards to spare in the Class 4A playoff game, on Oct. 27.

Geneseo had a chance to tie the game to start the second half but was stopped on fourth and goal from the one-yard line.

“It’s a game of inches,” said Geneseo tight end Kyle Wise. “We had a fourth down on the goal line where we were about an inch away from a touchdown. We had a couple first downs where we were a few inches away. It’s a game of inches and you have to convert on those.”

After converting a pair of third downs, Dixon drove 99-yards for a touchdown capped by a perfect 36-yard pass over the top from Noah Wilcox to Arthur Cox to give the Dukes a 27-14 lead after the two-point conversion failed.

Geneseo began the fourth quarter with a 40-yard pass play from Isaiah Rivera to Jaren Brucher to get into the red zone.

Rivera kept the ball on an option for a 16-yard touchdown run to close the gap to 27-21 with 11:03 remaining.

The Green Machine’s playcalling in the second half was inventive with a variety of plays that kept Dixon’s defense guessing.

On the kickoff, the Green Machine’s Jack Hinton kicked a boomer over the heads of the Dixon returners forcing Elijah McGlown to retreat back to the 10-yard line and Geneseo’s pursuit brought him down at the 20-yard line.

On third and three, Cox broke away for what looked like a touchdown.

However, a holding penalty and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Dixon took the points off the board and brought up third and 14 in Dukes territory.

The Dukes picked up 16-yards on the ensuing play to keep the drive alive and later scored on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Wilcox to McGlown.

Geneseo continued to battle back with Wise catching a pass for a first down reaching the six-yard line on third and three.

Geneseo’s Zac Olson scored on a one-yard dive for his second touchdown of the game.

Dixon’s Cox answered with a 43-yard touchdown run to give the Dukes a 40-28 advantage.

Geneseo fired back again with Wise making a catch on fourth and six to reach the 10-yard line.

After Geneseo penalties set them back, Wise caught a 27-yard touchdown pass with 2:11 remaining.

“A lot of people thought I pushed off the guy,” Wise said. “I definitely did. I did what I had to do, and we got the touchdown. We got the touchdown, and we were confident going into the next drive, and it just didn’t come out our way.”

Dixon covered the onside kick and ran the clock down to just 17 seconds before Geneseo stopped the Dukes on fourth and five at the 29-yard line.

“I was really proud of the way our guys fought back,” Geneseo Coach Larry Johnsen said. “Credit goes to Dixon they made plays, but I was really proud of the way our guys fought back. We had our backs against the wall a lot this year. They showed amazing resiliency when they could have just walked away.”

Neither team punted in the second half, but Cox gave Dixon an edge rushing for 302 yards in the game.

Geneseo was bringing the house to stop Cox, but he was great at making players miss between the tackles and had the speed to get the edge on the outside.

The Green Machine couldn’t make the most of Dixon’s mistakes in the first half.

After the Dukes fumbled on the second play of the game, Dixon stopped Geneseo on fourth and inches on the Dixon 39-yard line.

Olson powered into the end zone to give Geneseo a 7-6 lead in the first quarter after Payton Clauson picked off a pass to get Geneseo the ball inside Dixon territory.

However, Cox rushed for touchdowns of 50 and 19 yards to put the Dukes ahead by two scores.

Geneseo’s Rapps scored with 49 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the lead to 21-14.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Green Machine’s Kyle Hofer forced a fumble and Heath Henderson recovered.

However, Geneseo’s shots at the end zone came up empty going into halftime.

Wise finished the game with six catches for 76-yards, and Rivera’s growth was on display in the second half finishing the game 11-for-25 passing for 153 yards.

Griffin led Geneseo with 12 carries for 84 yards, and Drew Rapps rushed for 63 yards on 21 carries.