Indians WR Cole Seger (3) launches the pass that went to Ethan Ackerman on a reverse flea-flicker play in the first period of the Winnebago Homecoming game last Friday. The pair connected for a 66-yard touchdown.

By Doug Schroder
Coming into last Friday’s Homecoming game the Winnebago Indians football team had a bit of a challenge ahead of them. State-ranked #9 in Class 4A Genoa-Kingston was on the schedule and the Indians already small roster was minus five players due to injury, with three of those players being starters.
It would be the third state-ranked team the Indians would face this season. Byron smoked the Indians 50-3 in the season opener. The Tigers were ranked number one in Class 3A at that time, now they are ranked number three. The Indians put up a good fight against Stillman Valley in Week 3 by hanging with the Class 4A number five-ranked Cards in a high scoring affair before falling 43-35.
Winnebago was coming off a 63-7 thrashing of Mendota and hoped to gain ground in the IHSA playoff hunt. They would have to do so against the Cogs without the services of leading rusher for the team Micah Gearhart, who had already missed the Mendota game. Teammates Dominic Mastroianni, Alex Keller, Joe Grahf and Larson Garrigan were the other players out for the game.
The game started out looking like the Cogs were going to run away with an easy victory. Two touchdowns, with one PAT missed, had staked the Cogs to a 13-0 lead.
The Indians then got the ball back and tried a little trickery with a reverse flea-flicker. Wide receiver Cole Seger ended up passing the ball to a wide-open Ethan Ackerman, who had slipped behind the Cogs defenders and, after catching the ball, ran untouched into the end zone on a 66-yard jaunt.
The first quarter ended with Winnebago only down 13-7.
Genoa-Kingston would make it 20-7 in the second quarter, then the Indians got a drive going. A few good plays and a few Genoa-Kingston penalties got ‘Bago down to the one-yard line where QB Zach Johson sneaked the ball into the end zone with 1:08 left in the period. Michael Cunningham kicked the PAT and the Indians were only down 20-14.
Genoa-Kingston got the ball back, chewed up big chunks of yardage, and almost scored again before the half, but the Indians defense held and the deficit remained at six going into the half.
The Cogs got the ball at the beginning of the second half and picked up where they left off before halftime. Running play after running play brought big chunks of yardage as a sustained drive led to a Cogs score midway through the period, putting the visitors up 27-14. That score would remain the same to the end of the third period.
Genoa-Kingston put the game out of reach in the fourth period with two more touchdowns and PATs.
Winnebago scored a TD with just 16 seconds left in the game to bring the final score to 41-21.
Rushing was key in this game as the Cogs racked up 447 yards on the ground for an average of 8.1 yards per rush. The Indians managed just seven total rushing yards on the night.
Passing kept the Indians in the game as they totalled 171 yards through the air, compared to G-Ks 18.
The Indians fell to 2-4 with the loss. Next up for Winnebago is Oregon at home this Friday, then a game at Dixon on Oct. 18, before the regular season ends on Oct. 25 at home against North Boone. If Winnebago can run the table and finish 5-4 there is still a chance they can make the playoffs.

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