Francis Scott Key's playoff dreams have turned into a nightmare the past two weeks.
Pete Genovese threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Geppert with 1:57 left to give visiting Walkersville a 27-20 upset of No. 13 Francis Scott Key in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League game last night.
This was Key's second straight loss. South Hagerstown handed the Eagles a 24-7 defeat last week and Key fell to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the MVAL.
Coach John Baugher said he knew that finishing 10-0 and missing the state playoffs was a possibility, but now the Eagles can fare no better than 8-2 and appear out of the hunt.
"We have to be 9-1 to go to the states," Baugher said. "Right now, it'd be a long shot. I just don't think we're playing as well as we did in the beginning of the season."
The Eagles again had offensive problems. They marched 66 yards to score on the game's opening series but struggled badly after that as Walkersville (3-4, 3-3) wasn't fooled by the motion and misdirection Key used out of its multiple Wing-T offense. The Lions held the Eagles to 126 yards rushing.
"We had problems getting our offense going the last couple of games," quarterback Andy Akers said.
The defense had problems also. Walkersville pushed around the Key defensive line, rushing for 217 yards and eating up time on the clock. Meikos Palmer didn't score a touchdown but broke off several long runs to finish with 148 yards on 19 carries. The Lions used a quick trap up the middle several times that the Eagles couldn't stop.
In fact, the Lions rarely passed the ball. Genovese completed three of six passes all night - all to Geppert for a total of 67 yards. His first completion, on a quick slant, set up Antoine Crawford's 9-yard touchdown run on the last play of the first quarter for a 13-7 lead.
Josh Rutter had scored Key's first touchdown on a 15-yard run, and the Eagles bounced back to tie it when Layton Hersh scored on a 21-yard run with 2:27 left in the half. But another Genovese completion to Geppert in the third quarter (10 yards) helped start the drive that ended with Tony Fiammetta scoring from 4 yards out to make it 20-13 with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
Hersh's 4-yard touchdown run later in the quarter tied the game at 20, and the Eagles appeared ready to take the lead later in the period. But on first-and-goal from the Walkersville 4, cornerback Joe Smith picked off an Akers pass in the end zone.
Walkersville then started the winning drive, which a wide-open Geppert culminated.
"We were setting him up all night," Genovese said. "It was just perfect."