Defense gets fifth second-half shutout as Panthers rally past Oelwein

Bo Kramer of Monticello (20) stiff-arms an Oelwein defender during the Panthers’ comeback win Oct. 18. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     It took a 27-point second half barrage, and a Panther defense that shut out its opponent over the final two quarters, but the Monticello High School football team kept its post-season hopes alive by rallying for a 34-20 road victory over Oelwein Oct. 18.

     Monticello is now 6-2, and ended last week ranked 12th in the Ratings Percentage Index that determines at large spots for the playoffs (16 teams qualify). A win Friday at home against Waterloo Columbus (7-1) would likely move the Panthers up from that ranking and ensure a post-season berth.

     “We’ve put ourselves in a position that we control our own destiny,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said.

     To do so, the Panthers had to rally from a 20-0 first half deficit. Then, the Monticello defense held their foes scoreless in the second half – the fifth time this season the Panthers have done so.

     “That is a crazy stat and a big part of why we have been winning games,” Wilson said. “Coach (Jon) Kyte and the rest of the defensive staff have made great adjustments each week, and we just continue to get better defensively.”

     Just within Friday’s game, the Panthers showed improvement. Oelwein controlled things at first. The Huskies got on the scoreboard first on a one-yard run by Gage Voshell. That was set up by a Panther punt that took a big bounce and was carried back toward the Panthers by a strong wind. It gave Oelwein the ball at the Monticello 31.

     After an interception, the Huskies took over at the Monticello 34, and scored again, this time on a 16-yard run by Camren Palmer. With 2:21 left in the first quarter, Oelwein led 14-0.

     “The big thing was field position,” Wilson said. “Their first two drives started on (our) 31 and 37 yard line. It’s very tough to give that kind of field position and keep teams from scoring.

     “We also didn’t execute very well on offense and were not tackling well.”

     Oelwein put together a 70-yard drive in the second quarter that led to its third score, a three-yard pass from Andrew Roete to Nicholas Dittmer. The point-after try failed, but the Huskies led 20-0 with 2:20 to play.

     Observers might suggest the game changed when the Panthers scored their first touchdown, a one-yard sneak by quarterback Jeff Carlson, with 51.9 seconds left in the half. Wilson said the momentum shift began on the previous series.

     “I think maybe more important than that (touchdown) was a timeout we took and an adjustment our defensive staff made when (the Huskies) were inside the 10-yard line,” Wilson said. “We gave up a touchdown pass, but we stuffed the run on three consecutive plays and we felt the momentum shift.”

     Indeed, the Panther defense held Oelwein to 59 total yards in the second half, keeping the Huskies from crossing midfield.

     Meanwhile, the Monticello offense cranked up. Oelwein curiously went for a first down on a fourth-and-two from its own 28, and was stuffed for no gain.

     The Panthers eventually scored on a two-yard run by Carlson to pull within six, 20-14.

     After an Oelwein three-and-out, Monticello took the ball from the Huskies’ 43 and scored on a one-yard run by Bo Kramer. Carlson’s extra point gave Monticello its first lead, 21-20, with 3:43 left in the third quarter. Passes from Carlson to Tyler Luensman for 10 yards, and to Kain Luenman for 11; along with runs of 13 and nine yards by Colin Jordan, were key plays in the drive.

     Kain Luensman’s interception early in the fourth quarter set the Panthers up on their 32. On second-and-10, Carlson zipped a short pass near the left sideline to Justin Recker, who sprinted down the sideline for a 68-yard score and a 28-20 Monticello lead.

     Monticello got one more break when a high snap on an Oelwein punt resulted it the punter being tackled at the Huskies’ 28. Five plays later, Carlson hit Recker on a 10-yard touchdown pass to complete the scoring.

     “Our defense played extremely well in the second half,” Wilson said. “They were flying around making plays and it was fun to watch. Offensively we were able to get a consistent ground game going. It’s the second week in a row that we saw a three-safety look where teams drop seven or eight defenders into pass coverage, so running the ball effectively was important.”

     Carlson finished with 202 passing yards, 81 of those to Recker. Jordan rushed for 56. Kramer rushed for 37 yards, and was the leading tackler with eight.

     Wilson has talked to his players all season about going 1-0 each week; on Friday, Oct. 25 against Waterloo Columbus at Dean Nelson Field, much more will be at stake.

     “We go 1-0 (this) week and we will be in the playoffs,” he said.


Oct. 18

Monti        0   7  14 13 – 34

Oelwein 14  6    0    0  – 20



     Oel – Voshell 1 run (Roete kick), 5:57 remaining.

     Oel – Palmer 16 run (Roete kick), 2:21.


     Oel – Dittmer 3 pass from Roete (kick failed), 2:20.

     Monti – Carlson 1 run (Carlson kick), 0:51.9.


     Monti – Carlson 2 run (Carlson kick), 8:23.

     Monti – Kramer 1 run (Carlson kick), 3:43.

FOURTH QUARTER                                                      

     Monti – Recker 68 pass from Carlson (Carlson kick), 11:33.

     Monti – Recker 10 pass from Carlson (kick failed), 7:26.


                                 Monti           Oel

First downs             12                11

Rushing yards       119              189

Passing yards        202               12

Comp.-att. Int.  16-27-1         2-4-1

Total yards             321              201

Penalties-yards    5-40             4-13

Fumbles lost            0                   0


     Rushing – Jordan 11-56, Kramer 9-37, Carlson 4-16, T. Luensman 1-6, C. Weber 1-4.

     Passing – Carlson 16-27-202-2-1.

     Receiving – Recker 3-81, T. Luensman 4-59, Lambert 3-19, K. Luensman 2-19, Kraus 3-15, Jordan 1-9.

     Interception – K. Luensman.

     Fumble recoveries – None.

     Tackles – Kramer 8, K. Luensman 6.5, L. Weber 6, C. Weber 5, Cleeton 4, Lambert 4, Sauser 4, T. Luensman 3, Reuter 3, Folken 3, Manternach 2.5, James 2, Tallman 1.5, Perez 1, Schneiter 1.

     Sack – L. Weber.

     Tackles-for-loss – L. Weber 2, Cleeton 1.5, Kramer 1.5, K. Luensman 1, Reuter 0.5, C. Weber 0.5.



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