This feeling is starting to get old.
No. 15 Georgetown College football’s NAIA postseason aspirations took a severe hit Saturday afternoon with a second consecutive loss in an overtime thriller at home, 37-31, to rival No. 4 Lindsey Wilson.
Both the 50-49 defeat versus Bethel two weeks ago at Toyota Stadium and this one came within the Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division, putting the Tigers (4-3, 1-2) in a deep hole with three games remaining.
After a sack by Damani Jenkins and an interception by Mark Pruitt stymied GC’s possession in overtime, Lindsey Wilson (5-1, 2-0) went skyward 25 yards from Cameron Dukes to Jaleel Warren for the win.
“They just got us down, and once we were pinned back there it was kind of hard to get going again,” senior tight end Shawn Gilliam said.
That score was the first collegiate catch for the freshman Warren, who escaped the Tigers’ attention and ran a seam untouched into the end zone.
Each of GC’s past four games was decided by a margin of a touchdown or less. The Tigers defeated unranked Keiser and Cumberland on the road but have missed out on watershed wins in their own backyard.
“It hurts, man,” GC senior defensive back Germell Jenkins said. “It’s a tough one to swallow, especially when we fought hard for 60 minutes, to go into overtime and to lose like that.”
Georgetown tied the game with touchdown passes of 5 and 13 yards from Hunter Krause to Gilliam in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers botched the snap on a potential game-tying extra point after Gilliam’s initial score, and Blake Ingleton’s second long TD run of the second half made it 31-23 with 12:46 to go.
GC answered with an 11-play, 71-yard drive, capped by another Gilliam grab. This time the Tigers had to go for two, and Krause cashed in with a naked bootleg and a face-first dive across the goal line.
“Just made the plays when they were there for me to make,” said Gilliam, who entered the game with only two prior catches in his senior season. “Got to thank Hunter. He made some great throws.”
Jenkins then picked off a deep throw by Dukes into double coverage, giving GC its chance to win in regulation. Lindsey Wilson held, however, and Jack Nguyen’s 41-yard field goal try was short with 2:19 left.
Dukes converted two key first downs, one with his arm and another with his feet, to give the Blue Raiders a long-range field goal bid. After a series of timeouts from both sides, Jenkins blocked Jared Dougherty’s 48-yard attempt to end regulation.
The Tigers’ tandem of Jenkins and Robert Sheffield swatted one just prior to that, too, but the play was blown dead by a Georgetown timeout.
“That’s what we definitely pride ourselves on,” Jenkins said. “Coach (Shan) Housekeeper tells us all the time, even when they line up for a field goal, points are on the line. We told ourselves we’re going to get after it and get the block and send this thing into overtime.”
That capped a game-saving defense and special teams hat trick for Jenkins, who also recovered a first-half fumble at the goal line in addition to his late-game interception.
Lindsey Wilson dominated early. Dukes (9-for-23, 177 yards) found Cam Wyche with a 48-yard touchdown pass on the Blue Raiders’ initial play from scrimmage.
Georgetown’s first three series went nowhere, with the lone first down coming via penalty. The defense picked up the slack with five first-half sacks and six in all.
The Tigers made the Blue Raiders settle for a 47-yard Dougherty field goal and a 10-0 lead at the end of one. LWC returned the favor by stopping Darius Barbour on a third-down catch at the 3, leading to a chip shot by Nguyen early in the second quarter.
GC benefited from a big swing when it punched the ball out of Dukes’ hands as he strained toward the end zone on an option keeper. The ball lay perilously on the turf inside the 1-yard line for a moment before Jenkins fell on it for his first takeaway.
“One of my teammates, our free safety Starr Thompson, went out there and made a play, stripped the ball,” Jenkins said “I happened to be in the right place at the right time and recovered it. We were just trying to swing the momentum back to our side, because they did come out and get it early.”
Lindsey Wilson bounced right back to take a 17-3 lead with 4:07 to go in the half. GC never escaped the unfavorable field position after the fumble recovery. Isaac Aguero jumped a route in the right flat, picked off Krause and returned it 22 yards for a score.
Stevie Miller intercepted Krause to end GC’s next drive, but multiple Blue Raider penalties fueled a late push and helped the Tigers cut it to 17-10 on 2-yard plunge by Pugh in the closing seconds.
“Offense came out and played great,” Gilliam said. “Things just didn’t work out our way. There’s not much more you can do.”
Pugh capped a lengthy drive with a 4-yard TD to tie it at 17. Barbour and Luke Sharrock made key third-down catches from Krause (15-for-30, 161 yards) on the march.
Ingleton quickly reclaimed the Lindsey Wilson lead by racing 90 yards on a draw play with 7:26 left in the third. Ingleton finished with 190 yards on 12 carries.
Gilliam set up his first score with a first-down grab to the LWC 20. The Blue Raiders were flagged for a late hit on Krause’s next throw to put the Tigers in scoring position.
Pugh (23 carries, 90 yards) and Kyree Hawkins (20 carries, 79 yards) made the Georgetown running game relentless as ever.
Jack Sutkamp and Robert Sheffield snagged seven tackles apiece to lead the GC defense along with Jenkins. Landon Corolla sacked Dukes twice.
“We love playing Lindsey Wilson. It’s always a good game, especially having them come to our place. We couldn’t finish it this time,” Gilliam said. “We really came together as a team, especially today, because we knew coming in they were going to be a great team. We came out ready to play, more ready to play than we were last week.”
GC’s other loss was also to a top-10 team, on the road at Reinhardt.
Lindsey Wilson has won five consecutive games in the series. GC grabbed the first four after LWC resurrected its program in 2010.
Three key offensive players, fullback Nick Conley and receivers J.J. Ogbogu and Bart Bell, were out of the lineup for Georgetown.
The Tigers travel east to Grayson for a game with Kentucky Christian next Saturday.
“Obviously the score doesn’t reflect what we wanted, but we fought hard. We can’t fault our teammates for that,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got to come back tomorrow ready to work. We hit a little bit of adversity, so we’re going to see what we’re made of now.
“We’re going to come back this week, get in the weight room, get in the film, correct it and move on. I still feel like everything we want to accomplish is in front of us. You never know how the cards might unfold. We’ve just got to come ready to work and take care of what we can take care of, control what we can control.”
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.