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Missed opportunities, mistakes cost Pirates vs. Geneseo

Ottawa Pirates logo
Ottawa Pirates logo

GENESEO — After scoring late in the first half to get within a touchdown, Ottawa seemed to grab a huge momentum boost when JoJo Jackson recovered a squib kick, turned Geneseo fumble, at the Maple Leafs 41-yard line on the second-half kickoff.
The Pirates, for a split second, looked to have found the end zone on the very next play, but a Maple Leaf defensive back knocked the ball out of the hands of Joey Owens at the goal line. Ottawa eventually would have to punt, and Geneseo drove for a field goal to make it 17-7. Then after intercepting an OHS pass, the hosts scored a back-breaking TD and eventually went on to pick up a 31-7 Northern Illinois Big 12 West Division victory here at Bob Reade Field on homecoming.
"I don't know if we dropped it or their kid knocked it out, but it was the play we wanted," said Ottawa head coach Trent Swords. "It was looking like it was six points for us. Then we didn't convert on third down, and Geneseo was able to get a couple first downs and eventually a field goal. It was a big momentum switch, but we were still in it."
Ottawa (1-3, 0-1) took the opening kickoff and went 10 plays before the drive stalled, but the Pirates defense forced a three-and-out after almost recovering a fumble of a muffed punt at the Geneseo 3. The Maple Leafs' Colton Pischke intercepted a Slaten Swords pass at the Geneseo 38 and returned it to the Ottawa 39. Then after a one-yard loss, Maple Leafs sophomore quarterback Isaiah Rivera faked the pitch on the option to the right, cutback left and scored on a 40-yard run. Jack Hinton added the extra point kick to make it 7-0 with 2 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first.
The Pirates next possession also saw a punt fumble by the Maple Leafs, but the hosts were able to cover it up.
"There were just too many opportunities that we left on the field," Coach Swords said. "We could have had the ball at their three, we could have recovered the other muffed punt and we could have had the pass to begin the second half. We were able to move the ball, but weren't able to put it in the end zone, where they were."
"I thought we played sluggish in the first half, but I also thought Ottawa had a lot to do with that," said Geneseo head coach Larry Johnsen Jr. "They did a nice job offensively of keeping us off balance, and they were crisp with what they were doing. We just couldn't get in a rhythm, and a lot of that was because of them."
The Pirates did cash in just before halftime to draw within 14-7. Ethan Harsted brought in a pass from signal-caller Swords for a 13-yard score 33.4 seconds before halftime, with Jared Herzog booting through the point-after.
After coming up empty early in the second half, and following the 33-yard field goal by Hinton, Ottawa was intercepted, and six plays later Drew Rapps cashed in from a yard away to make it 24-7 with just a few ticks left on the third-quarter clock. The Pirates drove from their own 25 to the hosts' 26 before Jared Herzog's 43-yard field goal try was just short and left of the uprights.
Geneseo finished the scoring with a 61-yard run down the right sideline by Pischke, who finished with 98 yards on 11 chances. The Maple Leafs out-gained Ottawa 287-218 in total yards for the contest, despite the Pirates holding a 29:59-18:01 time of possession advantage.
"In the second half, we were able to move the ball and did some positive things, but we would get a penalty and get behind the chains," said Coach Swords. "We also had a few missed assignments on motion and had to punt the ball. Defensively, I thought we played very well."
Senior fullback Josh Jackson led the Pirates with 83 yards on 11 tough carries up the middle, while Matt Snyder added 34 on nine and Kain Schott 28 on seven. Defensively, Bryce Phelps made eight tackles (four solo) and Isaac Jung seven.
"I thought our running game was spot on, especially in the first half," said Coach Swords. "(Geneseo) was really trying to take away the edges from us, and our fullback got us some nice yardage up the middle. Our passing game wasn't as good at it has been, but some of those plays they knew we were going to pass and that's not a good thing when the defense knows you have to pass."
Ottawa returns to action when it travels to Rochelle to take on the Hubs next Friday night.
At Bob Reade Field, Geneseo
Geneseo 31, Ottawa 7
Ottawa (1-3, 0-1) 0 7 0 0 — 7
Geneseo (3-1,1-0) 7 7 10 7 — 31

Scoring summary
First quarter
GEN — Rivera 40 run (Hinton kick), 2:02, 0-7
Second quarter
GEN — Pischke 2 run (Hinton kick), 8:25, 0-14
OTT — Harsted 13 pass from Swords (Herzog kick), :33.4, 7-14
Third quarter
GEN — Hinton 33 FG, 4:39, 7-17
GEN — Rapps 1 run (Hinton kick), :12, 7-24
Fourth quarter
GEN — Pischke 61 run (Hinton kick), 6:39, 7-31
Team statistics
First downs 13 12
Rushes-Yards 44-168 36-240
Passing yards  50  47
Total offense 218 287
Comp-Att-Int 7-17-2 3-3-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 4-35 2-30
Punts-Avg. 2-35.6 1-34.0
Times of possession 29:59 18:01
Individual statistics
RUSHING — Ottawa: J. Jackson 11-83, M. Snyder 9-34, Schott 7-28, Harsted 10-20, Herzog 3-17, Swords 4-(-14). Geneseo: Pischke 11-98, Olson 7-50, Rivera 3-42, Swartzendruber 3-20, Rapps 8-18, Cosgrave 1-8, Lillis 1-3, Coons 1-1.
PASSING (C-A-TD-INT-YD) — Ottawa: Swords 7-17-1-2-50. Geneseo: Rivera 3-3-0-0-47.
RECEIVING — Ottawa: Harsted 1-13, A. Snyder 1-10, Owens 2-9, J. Jackson 1-9, Schott 1-5, Stillwell 1-4. Geneseo: Swartzendruber 1-28, Rapps 1-11, Wise 1-8.

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