Geneva holds off Lake Park to become playoff eligible
Geneva became playoff eligible for the first time since 2015 on Friday with a 14-6 win over DuKane Conference rival Lake Park at Burgess Field.
The Lancers did not make it easy for the Vikings. A big fourth down conversion, a blocked field goal and a key interception kept the Lancers in the game.
Geneva held a 7-0 lead to start the second half. Lake Park scored in the third quarter but still trailed 7-6 as the PAT was blocked. The Vikings played with a 1-point lead until their second touchdown at the 8:16 mark of the fourth quarter.
"Second half, it came down to us knowing that we would have to put the ball in the end zone," said first-year Geneva coach Boone Thorgesen. "We challenged the kids, and they came through."
"We seniors just wanted it more," said running back Carter Powelson. "This is what we have been working on for all of our high school years."
Completing a drive that started in the first quarter, Geneva (5-4, 3-4) scored the first touchdown 33 seconds into the second frame on a 2-yard run by Powelson (18 carries for 84 yards). The Vikings' first possession had ended with a blocked field goal.
The rest of the quarter saw missed scoring opportunities by both sides. On Lake Park's first possession of the second quarter, the Lancers drove 65 yards in 10 plays down to Geneva's 1-yard line only to turn it over on a fumble.
On the Lancers' next drive, they fumbled the ball on their own 25-yard line. The Vikings were unable to capitalize on the miscue, as on the first play from scrimmage after the turnover, Alex Porter's pass was picked off by Lake Park's Michael Mangialardi.
Lake Park (1-8, 1-6) scored on its first possession of the third quarter. It appeared the drive had stalled at the Lancers' own 37-yard line. Facing 4th-and-3, Lake Park opted to punt. However, when Desmond Horton took the snap, instead of kicking, he completed a 34-yard pass to Mangialardi. Two plays later, quarterback Dominic Pellegrino connected with Frank Moorman for 24-yard TD pass.
Mason Pawelko's interception of a Pellegrino pass at Geneva's 33-yard line set up the Vikings' fourth-quarter score. Four plays into the drive, from the 50-yard line, Porter (8 for 10 for 132 yards) threw a rocket to Tyler Tulsi. The senior caught it at Lake Park's 10-yard line and sprinted into the end zone.
Facing 4th-and-18 on their own 39-yard line with 1:43 left to play, the Lancers tried for another conversion. The attempt failed when Blake Stempowski sacked Pellegrino at Lake Park's 30-yard line.
"Making the playoffs for the first time in six years is a big deal and we are ecstatic about that," said Thorgesen.
Lake Park's Dayshen Brown led the Lancers in rushing with 109 yards on 17 carries.