PALMYRA — It came down to the wire Friday night between Geneva and Palmyra-Macedon.
Down two scores late in the fourth quarter, the host Red Raiders hit for their second touchdown of the game with under 4 minutes remaining. All the Panthers needed to do was run the ball effectively and they win their third game of the season — and spoil Pal-Mac’s Homecoming weekend.
The legs of running back Nasir Harrison and quarterback Wyatt Patchett allowed Geneva to do just that, sealing a 21-14 victory.
“We didn’t care how we got it, we knew we needed to come over here and win,” a visibly pleased head coach Mike Pane said afterward. “We are happy to come out of here with a ‘W.’ ”
With the stands filled to capacity, the fireworks blasting and the student section shaking, the Panthers needed a quick score to quiet the home crown.
That’s exactly what they did.
Following an interception by senior Dugan Doeblin, Geneva (3-2) began its third possession of the game on its own 18-yard line. On a first-and-5 resulting from one of 10 Pal-Mac penalties, Wyatt Patchett launched a beautiful, 39-yard pass to Javon Loucks to put the Panthers deep in Red Raiders territory.
A few plays later, Patchett connected with Doeblin for a 14-yard touchdown to give Geneva the lead and silence the home crowd, something Pane believed was imperative to success.
“We talked all week that we haven’t been ahead in a game off the bat. We always fall behind,” he said. “So, to get a lead was a different feeling, and a good feeling.”
Pal-Mac’s biggest play of the game, a 44-yard run, came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. It was an aberration against a Panthers run defense that stonewalled the Red Raiders for the majority of the 48 minutes.
“Yes, (stopping the run) was huge,” Pane said. “They surprised us with their passing, but our emphasis was to stop the run.”
After a missed field goal by Pal-Mac, Geneva took possession at its 20. The visitors marched 80 yards to score. Patchett threw two 20-plus-yard passes on the drive, one to Tyquan Coles and the other to Liam Ryan for the touchdown, making it 13-0 after three quarters.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter Pal-Mac threatened Geneva’s lead with a quarterback-sneak TD by Chase Baker. With under 7 minutes to play, Geneva was up by 6 points and needed to run down the clock, or score.
They did the latter.
On first-and-10 on Pal-Mac’s 43, Patchett threw a laser to Loucks on the right side. Loucks then reversed field and outran every Pal-Mac defender to the end zone.
Although the Red Raiders answered, a confident Panthers group drained the rest of the time and picked up a big victory in its bid to qualify for the Class B sectional tournament.
Geneva will host its own Homecoming on Saturday when Newark visits Loman Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.