Late rally just misses; Cascade holds on to edge Panthers

Lake Stahlberg slips through a tackle to pick up yardage for Monticello in the Aug. 24 season-opener at Cascade. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Among Panthers teaming up to bring down a Cascade runner are Ben Oswald (52), Spencer Avery (second from left), Cade Folken (14), Reid Barnhart (16) and Colin Jordan (1).
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     At first, it looked very much by a blowout loss for the Monticello Panthers. In the fourth quarter, it looked very much like a possible Panther comeback victory.

     It turned out to be neither, as Cascade held off a dramatic Monticello rally to win 39-34 in a season-opening high school football game Friday, Aug. 24 in Cascade.

     “You are always disappointed with a loss, but I am very happy with how they responded in the second half,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said. “We did a lot of good things and played better on both sides of the ball in the second half.”

     Monticello had an outstanding performance by senior running back Lake Stahlberg, who rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Jeff Carlson also had a big game, completing 18 of 31 passes for 203 yards and a score.

     The Cougars also had a strong running attack, and used that to score on their first four possessions and lead 27-7 by halftime.

     Cascade took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Colby Holmes, and a 38-yard scoring run by quarterback Haris Hoffman.

     The Panthers struck back when quarterback Carlson hit Justin Recker on a 43-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline. Tony Wallerich added the extra point, and Monticello trailed 14-7 late in the first quarter.

     The Cougars got the next two scores however, on drives of 70 and 73 yards, with Hoffman running for a 10-yard score and Holmes scoring on a two-yard play. The 27-7 lead held up through halftime.

     “We had to settle down defensively and do our jobs,” Wilson said. “When they do that it allows us to play fast and make a lot more plays.”

     Things began to change dramatically in the second half. After a 35-yard kickoff return by Wallerich and 15-yard horsecollaring penalty added on, Monticello started at the Cascade 35, and scored in 11 plays, on a one-yard plunge by Stahlberg.

     Cascade answered again on a two-yard run by Derick Koppes, and led 33-13 midway through the third quarter.

     But the Panthers nearly caught up. An interception by Tyler Luensman set up a 60-yard drive capped by Stahlberg’s two yard run.

     After the defense forced a three-and-out, Monticello scored again, as Stahlberg broke a 43-yard run, and then ran in a two-point conversion.

     Suddenly, with 7:18 still to play, Monticello trailed by just six, 33-27.

     The Cougars then put together a key drive, going 76 yard in 13 plays, and scored on a four-yard run by Holmes to lead 39-27 with just 1:54 to go.

     Monticello wasn’t done. A 56-yard drive ended with a one-yard run by Stahlberg, pulling the Panthers to within 39-34 with 4.5 seconds left.

     The Panthers were even successful on an onside kick, recovered by Ben Oswald, but had time for just one play from the Cascade 49 with 2.5 seconds left. A long pass attempt was intercepted by Reid Rausch, and the Cougars escaped with the victory.

     “We were able to be balanced on offense. Defensively we were able to tackle better in the second half,” Wilson said.

     Cascade had 349 rushing yards, and outgained Monticello 441 to 368 overall. Stahlberg was the Panthers’ leading tackler with 8.5, and Tyler Luensman had five.

At Beckman Friday

     The Panthers will play at Dyersville Beckman Friday, Aug. 31.  Beckman lost to Union of La Porte City 26-13 in its opening game Friday.

     “They are big and have some good athletes,” Wilson said. “Their defense looks very good and has one of the best linebackers in Eastern Iowa (Owen Grover).”


Aug. 24

Monti         7   0  6  21 – 34

Cascade 14 13  6   6  – 39



     Cas – Holmes 2 run (Barrios kick), 7:55 remaining.

     Cas – Hoffman 38 run (Barrios kick), 4:35.

     Monti – Recker 43 pass from Carlson (Wallerich kick), 3:29.


     Cas ­– Hoffman 10 run (kick failed), 10:39.

     Cas – Holmes 2 run (Barrios kick), 4:19.


     Monti – Stahlberg 1 run (kick failed), 8:52.

     Cas – Koppes 12 run (kick failed), 5:13.


     Monti – Stahlberg 2 run (kick failed), 9:19.

     Monti – Stahlberg 43 run (Stahlberg run), 7:18.

     Cas – Holmes 4 run (pass failed), 1:54.

     Monti – Stahlberg 1 run (Wallerich kick), 0:04.5.


                                  Monti        Cas

First downs               16             22

Rushing yds.           165           349

Passing yds.             203            92

Comp.-att.-int.   18-31-1     5-16-1

Total yards               368           441

Penalties-yds.         2-10         5-55

Fumbles lost              0               0


     Rushing – Stahlberg 29-168, Carlson 1 (-3).

     Passing – Carlson 18-31-203-1-1.

     Receiving – T. Luensman 6-58, Wallerich 4-44, Recker 1-43, Kraus 3-35, Stahlberg 4-23.

     Interception – T. Luensman.

     Fumble recoveries – None.

     Tackles – Stahlberg 8.5, T. Luensman 5, Recker 4.5, Bowser 4, C. Luensman 4, Wallerich 3.5, Barnhart 3, Blattner 3, Folken 3, Mootz 3, Oswald 3, Reuter 2.5, Brokaw 2, Eastburn 2, Weber 2.

     Tackles-for-loss – Stahlberg 1, Weber 1.



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