By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Top-ranked Geraldine wrapped up the conference title and knocked off Blue Sky/KG 22-20 at Rudyard in six-man football action Wednesday to close the regular season.
Senior Tigers running back Jon Owen pushed across the goal line with 1:21 remaining in the game to even the score at 20. Senior Eddie Furlong connected on the extra two-point attempt to lift the Tigers into the lead and seal the slim victory.
Our kids played well, head Eagles coach Gregg Wasson said. For having two and a half weeks off like we did, its tough.
The Eagles last matchup was Oct. 2, when they played just two quarters in a 73-23 swamping over Heart Butte in non-conference play.
The following week, on Oct. 9, Geyser forfeited the game against the defending state champions, and, last week, the Eagles had a bye.
On Sept. 25, the Highwood Mountaineers handed the Eagles their first loss of the season in a 35-12 victory.
Wednesday, after going scoreless in the first quarter, on the Eagles first possession of the second quarter, junior Justin Simenson connected with junior Joey Stuart on an eight-yard touchdown reception. T.J. IronBear kicked the extra point into the wind that lifted the Eagles to an 8-0 lead with 9:14 on the clock.
Geraldine patiently punched holes in the Eagles defense for naught as they converted three first-down situations, but were unable to score.
However, on its next possession, with 4:41 remaining in the half, Geraldine sophomore Rory Clark scampered 30 yards for a touchdown to narrow the Eagles lead to 6-8 after the two-point attempt failed.
On the ensuing Eagles possession, Simonson threw an interception which resulted in another Geraldine score.
After the interception, the Tigers went to Owens three times before he broke free and sprinted 54 yards for the touchdown.
Behind the leg of fresh kicker Furlong, the extra point was good and the Tigers vaulted to a 14-8 lead with 3:06 remaining in the second quarter.
But, with :55 remaining in the half, Blue Sky/KG evened the score at 14, when David Jurenka pounded two yards across the goal line to send the teams into the locker room knotted up at 14, after the Eagles extra-point attempt failed.
In the first half, Geraldine notched 209 total yards, collecting 148 on the ground in the second quarter.
Blue Sky/KG tallied 155 total yards in the half.
The Eagles scored their final touchdown with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter when senior Eric Marshall outran the Tiger defenders on a 39-yard rush.
Brandt Schmidt blocked the extra-point attempt to leave the Eagles on top, 20-14, while the Tigers were held scoreless in the quarter.
Blue Sky/KG, with the lead, punted away its first two possessions, but with 3:16 remaining in the game, advanced the ball on the ground behind carries by Jurenka and Dain Petersen.
After the Geraldine score that stole the lead, the Eagles ran five plays for naught that left them 23 yards from the goal line as time expired.
Geraldines Owens had 24 carries for 172 and two touchdowns to lead all rushers.
The Eagles head into the playoffs next weekend with Geraldine, Highwood and Augusta in the Northern Division.
I dont think weve peeked yet, Wasson said.