Union strikes early, pulls away to beat Panthers

Monticello quarterback Jacob Manternach flips a shovel pass to a teammate during the Sept. 8 game at Union of La Porte City. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Clayton Kraus of the Panthers heads upfield after catching a pass Sept. 8.

Monticello’s Lake Stahlberg (66) wraps up Union running back Kaleb Roach, as Wade Picray (70) moves in.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Much of the damage to the Monticello High School football game in its district opener at Union occurred early.

     After receiving the opening kickoff, Union scored on the second play from scrimmage, as quarterback Troy Hanus completed the first of his four touchdown passes, this one to Koby Alpers on a play covering 58 yards. After a three-and-out for Monticello on its first possession, the Knights struck quickly again. This time, a 61-yard run by Kaleb Roach brought the ball to the Panther 1-yard line, and Roach scored on the next play.

     Just 3:16 into the game, Union led 14-0. The Knights went on to score a 42-0 victory over Monticello Friday, Sept. 8 in La Porte City.

     “They came out with a lot of energy,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said of the Knights, “and we came out pretty flat. We had some mental mistakes in our coverages and they took advantage of that.”

     After the two early Union touchdowns, Monticello picked up a couple of first downs and drove near midfield before a fumble ended that drive. Union took advantage, moving 40 yards in six plays and scoring on a four-yard run by Roach.

     “We did some nice things on both sides of the ball,” Wilson said. “We were able to establish our run game at times, but we just couldn’t sustain a full drive.”

     Up 21-0, the Knights scored twice more in the second quarter. They marched 65 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 10-yard pass from Hanus to Hunter Fleshner, but the extra point was blocked, leaving Union ahead 27-0. A Panther fumble late in the half gave Union the ball at the Monticello 42, and on the next play, Hanus completed a pass from Alpers for a touchdown with 1:06 left in the first half. The Knights went for a two-point conversion, with Alpers running it in, and led 35-0 at the break.

     “We have some inexperienced guys in our secondary that are getting used to the speed on the varsity level,” Wilson said. “They are definitely getting better each game.”

     That margin resulted in a continuous clock in the second half, and it went by quickly, with Union scoring the half’s only touchdown on a 72-yard pass play, Hanus to Britton Rolison in the third quarter.

     Monticello’s best chance to score came in the fourth quarter, on a drive that started at its 40. Max Keleher had a 21-yard run, and Jacob Manternach completed a pass to Andrew Mescher for 28 yards that brought the ball to the Union 3-yard line. But the Panthers were stopped just short of the goal line on fourth down, enabling the Knights to preserve their shutout.

     Union outgained Monticello 494 to 198 in the game, distributed almost equally between rushing (250) and passing (244).

Home Friday vs. NFV

     The Panthers return home Friday, Sept. 15 to face North Fayette Valley. NFV is a perennial powerhouse that this year has started out 0-3. But don’t be fooled, Wilson said.

     “They are still your typical North Fayette Valley team,” the coach said. “They are well coached and don’t beat themselves. They are going to try to establish the run game and play good defense.”

     The coach added that he expects the Panthers to bounce back.

     “It shouldn’t be too tough,” Wilson said. “Not one guy in our locker room liked the taste we had in our mouth after the game. We need to have a great week of practice and take care of our mistakes.”


Sept. 8

Monti      0    0    0   0   –    0

Union    21 14   7   0   –  42



    Union – Alpers 58 pass from Hanus (Dvorak kick), 11:06 remaining.

    Union – Roach 1 run (Dvorak kick), 8:44.

    Union – Roach 4 run (Dvorak kick), 3:06.


    Union – Fleshner 10 pass from Hanus (kick blocked), 7:44.

    Union – Alpers 42 pass from Hanus (Alpers run), 1:06.


    Union – Rolison 72 pass from Hanus (Dvorak kick), 7:33.


    Monti – Keleher 31 run (kick failed), 9:24.

    Monti – Cooper 80 pass from Manternach (Keleher run), 2:34.


                             Monti       Union

Rushing yds.        115         250

Passing yds.           83          244

Comp.-att.-int.  8-18-0    9-12-0

Total yds.              198         494

Penalties               1-5         5-40

Fumbles lost          2              0


    Rushing – Keleher 21-73, Manternach 11-42, Brokaw 1-0.

    Passing – Manternach 8-17-83-0-0, Keleher 0-1-0-0-0.

    Receiving – Mescher 2-34, C. Kraus 3-33, Cooper 2-9, Wallerich 1-7.

    Tackle leaders – C. Kraus 5, Stahlberg 4, Bowser 3, Kuper 3, Manternach 3, Mescher 3, Cooper 2, Holub 2, Keleher 2, Lorenzen 2, Mootz 2, Wallerich 2.

    Tackles-for-loss – C. Kraus 0.5, Kuper 0.5.



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