Panthers roll in second half, earn final record of 5-4

Andrew Mescher of Monticello (7) comes down with the ball for a touchdown during the win over Waterloo Columbus. At right is teammate Devin Kraus. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Gavin Cooper of Monticello (13) tries to break a tackle during the Panthers’ win over Waterloo Columbus Friday, Oct. 20 at Dean Nelson Field.

Jacob Manternach of the Panthers fights for extra yardage in the Columbus game. Moving in at right is Jacob Lorenzen (65).

Devin Kraus reaches back to make a catch for the first Panther touchdown against Columbus.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Monticello scored 29 second half points to break open a close game, and secure a winning record for the season, in a 35-14 football romp over Waterloo Columbus in the season finale for both teams Friday, Oct. 20 at Dean Nelson Field.

     The win gave the Panthers a 5-4 final record, including 3-4 in Class 2A, District 3. While the outcome seemed in doubt for the entire first half and part of the third quarter, Monticello took over in the second half, as the toll of four turnovers, including three interceptions, proved too much for the Sailors to overcome.

     “Playing in arguably the toughest district in 2A, having a winning record says a lot about these young men,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said. “This year, not to the extent of last year, has been an injury plagued season. A lot of key contributors have had major injuries, even with some of them playing through it.

     “Guys had to move around and play positions they were not used to, and had very good years.”

     The defenses controlled things for the first half. Columbus’ opening possession ended on an interception by Monticello’s Dallas Bowser. Over the next four series, two for each team, neither was able to cross midfield.

     “The defense improved tremendously the last three or four weeks,” Wilson said. “Coach (Jon) Kyte has done a great job of adjusting things to our personnel with the injuries we have suffered.”

     The Panthers did drive to the Columbus 6-yard line on a drive that started at their own 28, but were stopped on downs early in the second quarter.

     Monticello broke through on its next possession. With the help of a facemasking penalty on a punt return, the Panthers started at the Columbus 37 and scored in four plays. Quarterback Jacob Manternach found Devin Kraus open down the right sideline after a pump fake, and Kraus reached back to make an athletic catch in the end zone on a play covering 25 yards. The extra point kick failed, but the Panthers led 6-0.

     Each team had the ball twice more in the first half, with neither able to score, and Monticello took the 6-0 lead into halftime.

     “We could not get into any kind of rhythm in the first half,” the coach said. “In the first two quarters we played behind the sticks, and it was difficult to convert on third-and-long.”

     The Panthers established control in the third quarter. On their second possession of the second half, starting at their 44, they got to the Columbus 33 in three plays. Manternach then threw to Andrew Mescher, who out-battled a defender for the ball and raced in for a score. Monticello led 12-0 with 6:31 left in the third period.

     After a three-and-out, Monticello scored again. A screen pass from Manternach to Max Keleher resulted in a 49-yard touchdown, with Keleher zig-zagging his way to the end zone. A two-point conversion pass from Chase Luensman to Dallas Bowser gave the Panthers a 20-0 lead.

     Columbus got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, when a sack and fumble gave the Sailors the ball at the Panther 7-yard line. On fourth down, still from the 7, Parker Westoff hit Mitch McFarland for a score. The extra point kick was blocked, and Monticello led 20-6.

     Monticello answered quickly, going 49 yards in six plays. On a fake punt, Jon Mootz carried the ball 10 yards for a first down at the Columbus 33. Manternach then went on a 25-yard run to the 8, and Gavin Cooper followed with an eight-yard touchdown run. Kirklen Kiburz powered in for a two-point conversion, and the Panthers were up 28-6.

     A leaping interception by Manternach gave Monticello the ball at the Columbus 47, and the Panthers took advantage, scoring on a three-yard run by Keleher. Tony Wallerich kicked the extra point, and Monticello was up 35-6 with 2:31.

     “In the second half, they played a lot of man coverage with pressure, and we were able to hurt them down the field,” Wilson said. “Our offensive line did a great job of picking up blitzes and giving Jacob time to throw.”

     Columbus scored once more, on a seven-yard pass from Westoff to McFarland, to account for the final score.

     Manternach finished with 217 yards passing, including 118 to Andrew Mescher, who had five catches. Clayton Kraus had a fumble recovery and a sack. Wallerich also had an interception.

     The game was the finale for 11 seniors who were honored for Senior Night before the game: Tyler Ungs, Andrew Mescher, Jacob Manternach, Max Keleher, Thomas Broderick, Clayton Kraus, Kirklen Kiburz, Gavin Holub, Jacob Lorenzen, Wesley Henderson and Tyler Kuper.

     “These 11 young men will be greatly missed, but they know they have all made an impact on our program and how it is moving forward,” Wilson said.


Oct. 20

W.Clbs.       0   0   0  14  --  14

Monti          0   6  14  15  --  35



     No scoring.


     Monti -- D. Kraus 25 pass from Manternach (kick failed), 6:59 remaining.


     Monti -- Mescher 33 pass from Manternach (run failed), 6:31.

     Monti -- Keleher 49 pass from Manternach (Bowser pass from Luensman), 3:18.


     WC -- McFarland 7 pass from Westoff (kick blocked), 8:26.

     Monti -- Cooper 8 run (Kiburz run), 6:16.

     Monti -- Keleher 3 run (Wallerich kick), 2:31.

     WC -- McFarland 7 pass from Westoff (Ludwig pass from Nobis), 2:05.


                                WC      Monti

Rushing yds.        101        143

Passing yds.         147        217

Comp.-att.-int  16-36-3  12-31-1

Total yds.              248        360

Penalties              7-65       5-45

Fumbles lost          1            1


     Rushing -- Keleher 9-48, Manternach 13-43, Bowser 4-29, Mootz 1-10, Cooper 1-8, Brokaw 3-5, Luensman 1-0.

     Passing -- Manternach 12-31-217-3-1.

     Receiving -- Mescher 5-118, Keleher 1-49, Cooper 3-25, D. Kraus 2-24, Wallerich 1-1.

     Interceptions -- Bowser, Wallerich, Manternach.

     Fumble recovery -- C. Kraus.

     Sacks -- C. Kraus 1.

     Tackles – Bowser 6.5, Mescher 6.5, Manternach 5, Westphal 5, Luensman 4, Cooper 3.5, C. Kraus 3, Kuper 3, Wallerich 3, Keleher 2.5, Kiburz 2.5, Broderick 2, Brokaw 2, Picray 2, Ungs 1.

     Tackles-for-loss – Mescher 2, Cooper 1, C. Kraus 1, Manternach 1, Bowser 0.5, Kiburz 0.5, Kuper 0.5, Picray 0.5.




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