They're in: Panthers reach postseason despite loss

Devin Kraus catches a touchdown pass for Monticello against Waterloo Columbus Oct. 25 at Dean Nelson Field. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Luke Weber (top) helps bring down Waterloo Columbus runner Ray Seidel in Friday night’s game.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     What happened off the field proved more beneficial to the Monticello High School football team Friday night than what happened on it.

     Waterloo Columbus scored a pair of quick touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 20-7 lead, then held off the Panthers 34-21 at Dean Nelson Field.

     However, shortly after midnight, Panther players, coaches and fans learned that despite the loss, Monticello had qualified for the 16-team state playoffs in Class 2A, ranking 14th in the Ratings Percentage Index.

     (Sports editor’s note: A recap of the season, Panther playoff history and more appear elsewhere on this site; these articles are from our printed Panther football special section.)

     “We were definitely excited when the qualifiers were announced,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said. “I am very happy for the kids; they have worked extremely hard the last few years and they deserve it.

     “They didn’t let a little adversity stop us from reaching our goal, and that shows what kind of kids we have here at Monticello.”

     On Friday, Columbus scored first, taking its opening possession 63 yards and scoring on a two-yard run by Ben Sinnott.

     Monticello answered on the next possession with an even longer drive, 74 yards in 13 plays, and scoring on a three-yard run by Bo Kramer. The first quarter ended with the teams tied 7-7.

     One sequence in the second quarter might have wound up being the difference in the game. Columbus scored on a pass from Carter Gallagher to Sinnott, who tiptoed down the right sideline and scored on a 46-yard play.

     Then, following an interception, the Sailers struck again, this time on an 11-yard pass from Gallagher to Sinnott. The two Columbus scores occurred in the space of 3:26 of game time, and the Sailors led 20-7.

     For the second straight week, the Panthers scored in the final seconds of the first half, as Jeff Carlson found Tyler Luensman over the middle for a nine-yard score, and then kicked the extra point, with just 1.9 seconds left. The touchdown capped an 81-yard drive that took 10 plays. Two key ones were a 23-yard run by Kramer, and an 18-yard pass from Carlson to Kain Luensman.

     The Panthers hoped to add another team to the list of those who have been unable to score against Monticello in the second half. Coming into the game that had happened five times this season.

     And the Sailors were unable to score in the third quarter, as Cade Folken stopped one drive with an interception at the Panther 21-yard line, and Colmbus had to punt on its second one.

     Monticello couldn’t tally either, however, and the Sailors’ 20-14 lead carried into the fourth quarter.

     Columbus did score in the final period – twice. The first was on a 61-yard drive, ending with a 10-yard scoring run by Ray Seidel, giving the Sailors a 27-14 lead with just 4:47 left.

     The Panthers got back within one score on an eight-yard pass from Carlson to Devin Kraus with 2:36 to play, capping a 69-yard march. Monticello trailed 27-21.

     An onside kick was attempted, but Columbus recovered at its 37. The Sailors picked up one first down, and then Seidel – a thorn in the Panthers’ side all evening with 290 rushing yards – broke through the middle for a 43-yard touchdown run.

     The score did give the Panthers one more chance with the ball with 41.9 seconds to play, but an interception by Caden Hartz of Columbus sealed the outcome.

     “I thought our kids played hard the whole game,” coach Wilson said. “We had a couple things that didn’t go our way, and we still gave ourselves a chance to win the game.

     “Columbus is a really good football team, and if we could have gotten a couple of breaks, it could have changed the game. In a close game, turnovers and third down conversions usually determine the outcome, and Columbus was able to win those categories.”

     Carlson passed for 267 yards, hitting seven different receivers. Kraus was the leading receiver with six catches for 65 yards. Kramer rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries.

     Tyler Luensman was the leading tackler with seven.

West Liberty next

     Kickoff for Friday’s first round state playoff game at West Liberty is at 7 p.m. A look at the 6-3 Comets appears in our football special section.

     “West Liberty plays very hard and has some very good athletes,” Wilson said. “They are very aggressive on defense and like to bring pressure.”


Oct. 25

Wat. Clbs.   7  13   0 14  – 34

Monti           7     7   0   7   – 21



     WC – Sinnott 2 run (Trost kick), 6:58 remaining.

     Monti – Kramer 3 run (Carlson kick), 3:22.


     WC – Sinnott 46 pass from Gallagher (Trost kick), 8:45.

     WC – Sinnott 11 pass from Gallagher (kick blocked), 5:19.

     Monti – T. Luensman 9 pass from Carlson, 0:01.9.


     No scoring.


     WC – Seidel 10 run (Trost kick), 4:47.

     Monti – Kraus 8 pass from Carlson (Carlson kick), 2:36.

     WC – Seidel 43 run (Trost kick), 0:48.4.


                                    WC       Monti

First downs             17           18

Rushing yds.         342           91

Passing yds.          107          267

Comp.-att.-int.   6-16-1   27-41-2

Total yds.               449          358

Fumbles lost           0               0

Penalties-yds.      9-80        2-10


     Rushing – Kramer 12-59, Carlson 5-20, Jordan 5-12. 

     Passing – Carlson 27-41-267-2-2.

     Receiving – Kraus 6-65, Recker 6-51, Lambert 5-49, T. Luensman 5-48, K. Luensman 2-32, Kramer 2-15, Jordan 1-7.

     Interception – Folken.

     Tackles – T. Luensman 7, Folken 6.5, Kramer 5-5, C. Weber 5.5, K. Luensman 5.5, Lambert 5, Reuter 4, L. Weber 4, Cleeton 3, Recker 3, Tallman 2.5, James 2, Sauser 1.5, Martensen 1, Oswald 1.

     Sacks – L. Weber 1.

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

     Punting – Recker 4-151 (37.8 avg.), longest 41.

     Kickoff returns – T. Luensman 4-49, Sauser 1-5.



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