Ryan Espinoza, of the Genoa Comets, gets tackled during the first quarter of their game against the Ottawa-Glandorf Titans at JC Donnell Memorial stadium in Findlay.
THE BLADE/ZACK CONKLE
FINDLAY — Undefeated Genoa met its match on Friday night.
Undefeated Ottawa-Glandorf roughed up the Comets in a 41-12 rout in a Division IV regional semifinal at Donnell Stadium.
Ironically, the Comets' season ended against a team that plays a rough-and-tumble brand of football that mirrors Genoa’s preferred style of playing the game.
The Comets were held scoreless for three quarters by the Titans. Genoa quarterback Kyle Edwards connected with Zach Roberts for a four-yard touchdown completion with 10:28 left in the fourth quarter to help the Comets avoid being shut out. Kyle Nutter, who was held to 68 yards rushing on 20 carries, added a four-yard TD run late in the final quarter for the Comets' other score.
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“Coach [Ken] Schiner had his team ready to go, and they had a great offensive and defensive approach,” Genoa coach Tim Spiess said. “Right now, their team is at a different level than our team. My hat goes off to the Titans.”
The Titans (12-0), who will face Columbus Bishop Hartley in a regional final, revealed with the game's opening drive they were ready to test the Comets defense with a lethal running game.
In other words, they were ready to put the ball in the hands of quarterback Caleb Siefker and running back Tristan Parker.
Genoa (11-1) saw plenty of Parker, who finished the night with 117 yards on 15 carries, during O-G's opening possession. He finished off the eight-play drive by darting and dashing his way through the Comets defense for an 11-yard touchdown run to give O-G a 7-0 lead.
And the Comets didn't take long to increase their lead to 14-0. They took over their second possession in Genoa territory after Comets punter Cody Pickard bobbled a low snap and wasn't able to get off a punt before he was tackled at the Genoa 40.
Siefker, who finished with 106 yards on 14 carries, accepted the ball-carrying chores on the Titans' second scoring drive. He began the drive with a 15-yard scramble out of the pocket and capped the possession with a 14-yard TD scamper around the right side of the line with 5:04 to play in the opening quarter.
“That's what we do, we run the football,” said Schriner, whose team finished with 298 rushing yards on 39 carries.
Siefker put O-G ahead 21-0 when he capped the Titans' third possession of the game with an 18-yard keeper for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Siefker scored his third TD in the first half and made it 28-0 on a one-yard keeper with 6:10 remaining in the second.
Meanwhile, the Comets offense continued to sputter against a swarming Titans defense. Genoa finished the first quarter with only one first down and three yards on 11 plays. The Comets' situation didn't get much better in the second quarter.
The Titans' overall size and strength, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines, appeared to be taking their toll even before intermission. Genoa called a couple of timeouts during the first half primarily to try and give the Comets a breather while also trying to slow the Titans' clear edge in the game's momentum.
Yet, nothing seemed to work in Genoa's favor and before the half came to a close the Titans' QB scored his fourth TD of the night with a one-yard plunge into the end zone to make it 34-0 with 1:26 to play in the half.
The battle of unbeatens was a contest that became all but decided by halftime.
O-G's defense held Genoa to a litany of season-lows for one half. The Comets went into halftime with only four first downs and a total of 30 yards on 23 plays. Kick returner Casey Gose's two returns for 85 yards, including a 51-yard return, represented the Comets' best offensive output before the break.
Nutter was held to 18 yards on seven carries during the first half.
The Comets opened the second half with a drive that lasted six minutes only to have it end with a missed field goal from 25 yards.
“They're the biggest and most physical team we've seen since the 2008 Kettering Alter team,” Spiess said. “If the Titans believe in what coach Shriner is teaching them over these next couple of weeks they'll continue to play football throughout November.”
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com, 419-724-6302, or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.