Classic comeback: Late drive ties it; OT score and kick win for Panthers

Jeff Carlson of Monticello (12) and teammate Brayden Cleeton celebrate after Carlson's game-winning extra point against Dyersville Beckman Sept. 6 at Dean Nelson Field. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Monticello's Riley Manternach (22) tackles Beckman quarterback Nick Offerman for a five-yard loss.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Monticello not only scored when it counted most, but also refused to accept what appeared a likely defeat, earning a memorable 34-33 overtime football victory over Dyersville Beckman Friday, Sept. 6 at Dean Nelson Field.

     Monticello won this game in a variety of ways, but two stood out at the end. The first was the touchdown pass from Jeff Carlson to Tyler Luensman near the right sideline in the end zone, with just 5.1 seconds left in regulation time, followed by Carlson’s extra point kick, tying the game 27-27 and forcing overtime. That capped an 80-yard drive, in seven plays, that took just 47.2 seconds.

     Then, after Beckman’s powerhouse running back Evan Wulfekuhle (190 yards) had scored his fourth touchdown of the game, followed by the Blazers’ fourth failed conversion attempt, the Panthers tied it on a pass in the front right corner of the end zone from Carlson to Devin Kraus, followed by Carlson’s extra point that was the game-winner.

     “We have been in quite a few of these situations in the last couple of years, though not as crazy as this one,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said. “Our players never seem to get rattled. They have a lot of confidence in each other, and they have confidence that Jeff can guide us down the field when we need a score.”

     It gave the Panthers a 2-0 record to start the season, and a second straight victory over a neighboring nemesis. In week one, Monticello earned its first victory over Cascade in nine years. Friday’s win was the second in a row over Beckman, but before that the Blazers had carried a 12-game winning streak against Monticello.

     Statistically, it was a huge game for the Panther passing attack. Carlson completed 21 of 38 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns, without an interception. Monticello had a pair of 100-yard receivers: Justin Recker, five catches for 120 yards; and Tyler Luensman, seven catches for 120 yards.

     “Jeff has that demeanor that you want every quarterback to have,” Wilson said. “He never gets too emotional, good or bad. I joked with the coaches after the game that we should just automatically go to third and fourth down, because that is when Jeff seems to play his best.”

     It was as back-and-forth as a game could get, with each team scoring a single touchdown in each of the four quarters and in overtime. Beckman took a 7-0 lead on its first drive of the game, and the Panthers answered, two possessions later, with a five-yard scoring run from Colin Jordan. A 60-yard pass-and-run from Carlson to Justin Recker set up the score, and the teams were tied 7-7 after one quarter.

     Beckman took a 13-7 lead early in the second quarter, then extended it to 15-7 when Jordan appeared to have been stopped at his own 2-yard line, but was swarmed and wound up in the end zone for what was ruled a safety.

     As they would do throughout the game, Monticello responded. Starting at its 30, Monti drove 70 yards in nine plays, scoring with 20.3 seconds left in the half on a 12-yard pass from Carlson to Kraus. A two-point conversion try failed, and the Panthers trailed 15-13 at halftime.

     Monticello took its first lead midway through the third quarter, when lineman John James powered in from the 1-yard line for a score, and Carlson’s kick made it 20-15. The Blazers scored on their next drive, and tried for a two-point conversion pass, which was batted down by Brayden Cleeton. Beckman led 21-20.

     That score held until late in the fourth quarter. Monticello went for a fourth-and-3 situation from its own 37, but a loss gave Beckman the ball at the Panther 35, up by one, with 5:38 to go.

     The Blazers wound up scoring on an 11-yard run by Wulfekuhle, but when a bobbled snap on the conversion led to a failed run, the Panthers trailed by just seven, 27-20, with 2:17 still to go.

     When Beckman recovered a fumble on the next series on the Panther 14 with 2:01 to go, it appeared the Blazers would be able to run out the clock. But three plays later, Beckman tried what could have been a game-clinching 24-yard field goal, and missed, giving the Panthers one more shot with 52.3 seconds left, but no time-outs.

     This time, they took full advantage. It started with a pass that was tipped by a Beckman defender but wound up in the hands of Tyler Luensman, who ran it to the Beckman 45 for a 35-yard gain. After Carlson spiked the ball to stop the clock with 36.4 seconds to go, he completed a 37-yard pass to Recker, putting the ball at the 8.

     After a short completion and another spike, the Panthers were at the 5 with 11.2 seconds left. Carlson lasered the ball between two defenders to Tyler Luensman in the end zone with 5.1 seconds left, then kicked the point-after to tie it 27-27.

     Monticello won the overtime coin toss and elected to defend first, so Beckman started the extra session at the Panther 10. It took three plays before Wulfekuhle scored on a three-yard run, but the extra point kick sailed wide right, and the Blazers’ lead was six.

     In all, Beckman was unsuccessful on four conversion tries and a field goal.

     “Coach (Dustin) Chapman had a really good plan of putting pressure on their kicker, and our defense did a great job of executing it,” coach Wilson said. “Those points are very big in a tight game.”

     On the Panthers’ possession, two incomplete passes were followed by Carlson’s pass to Kraus to tie the game. After Carlson booted the extra point through, wrapping up the comeback victory, the on-field celebration began.

     Monticello’s defense showed good balance, with five players having at least six tackles apiece. Luke Lambert, Kain Luensman and Tyler Luensman each had 7.5, while Cade Folken and Cleeton had six each.

Road trips

     Monticello will play the next two games on the road, at Bellevue (0-2) Friday, and at Maquoketa Valley Sept. 20. The first four games are all non-district, but will count in the Ratings Performance Index (RPI) formula that determines playoff spots for teams that don’t win their district titles.

     “Bellevue is always a well-coached team that will play extremely hard,” Wilson said. “They have a lot of new faces this year, but we expect to see the same hard-nosed Bellevue team that we have in the past.”

     Then, the Panthers will return home for the homecoming game Sept. 28 against Waukon.

     “We have accomplished our first two goals, and look forward to trying to accomplish the rest,” the coach said.


Sept. 6

Dy. Beck.  7  8  6  6  6 – 33

Monti         7  6  7  7  7 – 34



     DB – Wulfekuhle 5 run (Jaeger kick), 8:39 remaining.

     Monti – Jordan 5 run (Carlson kick), 4:24.


     DB – Fangman 11 run (kick failed), 9:21.

     DB – Safety, Jordan tackled in end zone, 3:00.

     Monti – Kraus 12 pass from Carlson (run failed), 0:20.3.


     Monti – James 1 run (Carlson kick), 6:12.

     DB – Wulfekuhle 12 run (pass failed), 2:00.


     DB – Wulfekuhle 11 run (run failed), 2:17.

     Monti – T. Luensman 5 pass from Carlson (Carlson kick), 0:05.1.


     DB – Wulfekuhle 3 run (kick failed).

     Monti – Kraus 10 pass from Carlson (Carlson kick).


                                    DB      Monti

First downs             17          11

Rushing yds.          295         67

Passing yds.            89          311

Comp.-att.-int.    7-14-0   21-38-0

Total yds.                384        378

Fumbles lost            0            1

Penalities-yds.     4-25       1-15


     Rushing – Jordan 13-34, Carlson 5-22, Cooper 4-12, James 1-1.

     Passing – Carlson 21-38-311-3-0.

     Receiving – Recker 5-120, T. Luensman 7-113, Kraus 7-62, Lambert 2-16.

     Tackles – Lambert 7.5, K. Luensman 7.5, T. Luensman 7.5, Cleeton 6, Folken 6, Kramer 5, Manternach 4, Oswald 4, Weber 4, Recker 2.5, Reuter 2.5, James 2, Kraus 1.

     Sacks – Lambert 1.

     Tackles-for-loss – Cleeton 2, Weber 2, Kramer 1, Lambert 1, T. Luensman 1, Manternach 1.



Subscriber Login