Panthers start fast, improve to 3-0

Monticello quarterback Jeff Carlson (12) and Justin Recker celebrate after Recker’s catch for the first Panther touchdown Sept. 13 at Bellevue. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Cade Folken of the Panthers (14) pulls down Bellevue’s Ben Parker for a two-yard loss Friday.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Monticello’s two quick touchdowns resulted in a 14-0 first quarter lead, and the Panther defense made the big stops when it most needed to, allowing the Panthers to score a 21-13 football victory Friday, Sept. 13 at Bellevue.

     The win kept the Panthers unbeaten at 3-0.

     “It was big for us to jump out to a lead,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said. “We hadn’t scored on the first drive all year, so it was good for our offense to score on the first two drives.”

     On the game’s opening possession, following a long kickoff return by Kain Luensman, the Panthers started on the Bellevue 37-yard line and scored in five plays. Quarterback Jeff Carlson completed passes of 27 yards to Kain Luensman and 18 yards to Devin Kraus, and lofted a pass to Justin Recker in the left side of the end zone for a touchdown, just 1:11 into the game.

     Bellevue then had a 10-play drive that was stopped on downs, with Reid Barnhart tackling Bellevue quarterback Max Jackson for a three-yard loss on fourth down at the Monticello 48.

     From there, the Panthers scored in seven plays, on another Carlson-to-Recker touchdown connection, this one from 19 yards away. Christian Castillo came on to kick the extra point, and with 3:23 left in the first quarter, Monticello led 14-0.

     “We did a nice job of pass protection, and Jeff was spot-on with his reads,” Wilson said.

     The Comets followed with their longest drive of the game, marching 60 yards in 16 plays and scoring on a two-yard plunge by Jackson. The snap on the point-after was bobbled, and a run attempt failed, leaving the score 14-6 with 7:13 left in the first half.

     That score held up until halftime, with neither team moving into the opponent’s red zone over the final seven minutes.

     “After we got up 14-0, we really lacked in execution,” the coach said. “We didn’t do the little things that would have separated us in the game.

     “It’s very difficult to come back after a big emotion win like we had (the previous week, over Dyersville Beckman), and we saw that on Friday.”

     Bellevue threatened on its first drive of the second half, but again was stopped on downs, this time at the Panther 30.

     Monticello then opened a two-score lead on a 10-play, 70-yard drive. Carlson threw his third touchdown pass of the game, this one to Tyler Luensman for seven yards, and Carlson’s PAT opened a 21-6 margin with 3:03 left in the third quarter. Running back Colin Jordan had seven carries for 30 yards during the drive, and also caught a pass for 18 yards.

     Bellevue answered early in the fourth quarter, as Jackson avoided several tackles on a 52-yard scramble for a touchdown that started near the right sideline and ended in the left portion of the end zone. An extra point kick made it 21-13 with 10:35 left.

     “We didn’t play our assignments in the first half on defense. We did a lot better job in the second half, and besides the long scramble we did a nice job of controlling the run,” Wilson said.

     The Comets’ final scoring chance, moving to the Monticello 37 with under two minutes to play, ended with an interception by Luke Lambert, sealing the win for the Panthers.

     Carlson finished with 258 passing yards, the largest chunk of Monticello’s 373 total yards. Bellevue was held to 22 yards, and just 27 yards passing.

     Jordan finished with 21 carries for 81 yards, and Tyler Luensman was the leading receiver, with eight catches for 88 yards.

     Defensively, Spencer Avery had 9.5 tackles and Ben Oswald had 7.5.

Maq. Valley next

     The final non-district game of the season for Monticello will be Friday, Sept. 20 at Maquoketa Valley (0-3). The Panthers will play the first of their five district games in their homecoming game Sept. 27 against Waukon.


Sept. 13

Monti  14  0   7   0 – 21

Bellev.  0   6   0   7 – 13



     Monti – Recker 13 pass from Carlson (Carlson kick), 10:49 remaining.

     Monti – Recker 19 pass from Carlson (Castillo kick), 3:23.


     Belle – Jackson 2 run (run failed), 7:13.


     Monti – T. Luensman 7 pass from Carlson (Carlson kick), 3:03.


     Belle – Jackson 52 run (Kloser kick), 10:35.


                               Monti         Belle

First downs            19               12

Rushing yds.         115            201

Passing yds.          258             27

Comp.-att.-int.  23-32-0     4-12-1

Total yards            373            228

Fumbles lost          0                  0

Penalties               7-60            5-35


     Rushing – Jordan 21-81, Carlson 3-26, Cooper 1-5, T. Luensman 1-3.

     Passing – Carlson 23-32-258-3-0.

     Receiving – T. Luensman 8-88, Kraus 5-51, Recker 3-43, Jordan 4-37, K. Luensman 1-27, Lambert 2-12.

     Interception – Lambert.

     Tackles – Avery 9.5, Oswald 7.5, K. Luensman 6, Folken 5.5, Weber 5.5, T. Luensman 5, Cleeton 4.5, Lambert 4, Manternach 3, Kraus 2.5, James 1.5, Reuter 1.5, Barnhart 1.

     Sacks – Weber 1, Avery .5, Cleeton .5.

     Tackles-for-loss – Cleeton 1.5, Weber 1.5, Barnhart 1, Avery .5, James .5, Lambert .5, K. Luensman .5, T. Luensman .5.



Subscriber Login