BY YANEEK SMITH
GENOA — Getting off the field on third down. Coaches will tell you it’s one of the most important aspects of the game.
Genoa was able to convert 6-of-14 third downs and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter as it rallied to defeat Oak Harbor, 28-25, in the Celestial Bowl.
After a 1-yard touchdown run by Hayden Buhro with 1:21 to play in the third quarter put the Rockets ahead 18-14, the Comets (1-1) scored twice in the fourth, taking the lead for good at 21-18 when Aiden Brunkhorst found Robert Messenger from 13 yards out with 9:04 to play.
Messenger later scored on a 4-yard run just over six minutes later.
Comet quarterback Aiden Brunkhorst was a force, completing 18-of-30 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball 21 times for 120 yards.
“Brunkhorst made some plays late in the game, and we couldn’t get off the field defensively,” said Oak Harbor Coach Mike May. “It seemed like he made a play for them and kept the chains moving on third down.”
The Rockets (1-1) took a 6-0 lead when Jaqui Hayward scored on a 91-yard run with 3:21 to play in the first quarter. Genoa responded with two touchdowns in the second quarter. The Comets scored a touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Brunkhorst to Austin Teet and took a 14-6 lead when Brunkhorst found Aidan Antry on a 15-yard touchdown pass.
“I was proud of them because of the injuries we faced, and the adversity we faced,” said May.
Michael Lalonde completed 13-of-18 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns and Buhro caught 10 passes for 143 yards and two scores.
“I thought Michael played really well and made some big plays with his legs,” said May. “He was able to hook up with Hayden and did a really good job leading our offense and gave us a chance to win.”
Oak Harbor hosts Rossford, which is coming off a 58-51 loss to Port Clinton.