By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Welcome back, Cowbell Trophy.
Monticello took the lead just 22 seconds into the game, and its smothering defense held rival Anamosa to 129 total yards, as the Panthers reclaimed the prized Cowbell with a 25-0 victory over the Blue Raiders in the football season opener Friday, Aug. 24 at Dean Nelson Field.
Anamosa had ended Monticello’s six-game winning streak in the storied rivalry a year ago, but this night belonged to the Panthers, who had two touchdowns apiece from quarterback Jacob Black and running back Tanner Felton. It was Monticello’s 52nd win in the historic series. Anamosa has won 34 times, and there have been five ties.
Although the final score was 25-0, this was a 13-0 game with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Blue Raiders had chances to trim the lead, but penalties plagued them throughout the game. Anamosa took 18 penalties for 149 yards, including three personal fouls and an unsportsmanlike conduct call. The Panthers were whistled nine times for 79, including two personal fouls.
Monticello started this game in about the best way possible. On the first play from scrimmage, Black broke threw the line on the right side and sprinted 86 yards for a touchdown. The extra point kick by Peyton Paddock made it 7-0 just 22 seconds into the game.
Penalties really hurt the Raiders in the second quarter, when three of them on the same series backed up the Raiders to their own 12 before they had to punt.
That set up a 45-yard Monticello drive in seven plays, ending on a 12-yard touchdown run by Black midway through the second quarter. The extra point was blocked, but the Panthers led 13-0, and that score remained the same into halftime.
A key series occurred midway through the third quarter, when Anamosa had its best drive of the game. The Raiders drove from their 36 to the Monticello 15, and appeared ready to turn it into a one-score game. Instead, Black made an interception at the goal line and brought it out to the 20.
Monticello had its first chance to put the game away early in the fourth quarter, when a punt return by Tanner Felton put the ball at the Anamosa 3. But on second-and-goal from the seven, a Raider blocked a Panther pass into the arms of teammate Eli Hughes, who returned it 20 yards.
Anamosa couldn’t capitalize, though, and the Panthers put the game away with two late touchdowns by Tanner Felton, on a six-yard run with 4:42 left, and a 49-yard run with 33 seconds left.
That late surge by Felton gave the Panthers two 100-yard rushers. Felton carried 16 times for 123 yards, and Black finished with 20 carries for 116 yards. Black also passed for 108 yards. The Panthers had 355 total yards, including 247 on the ground.
Anamosa had 129 total yards. Quarterback Connor Lewis completed 10 of 19 passes for 83 yards, and Kevin Schepanski caught four of those for 46 yards.
The Panthers (1-0) will play its second non-district game of the season Friday, Aug. 31 at Maquoketa Valley, before returning home to start the district schedule Sept. 7 against Cascade.
Anamosa 0 0 0 0 – 0
Monti 7 6 0 12 – 25
Monti - Black 86 run (Paddock kick), 11:38 remaining.
Monti – Black 12 run (kick blocked), 7:22.
Monti – Felton 6 run (pass failed), 4:42.
Monti – Felton 49 run (run failed), 0:33.8.
First downs 8 17
Rushing yards 39 247
Passing yards 90 108
Total offense 129 355
Comp.-att.-int. 11-20-2 10-15-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yds. 18-149 9-79
Rushing - Felton 16-23, Black 20-116, Tjaden 1-6, McQuillen 2-2.
Passing – Black 10-15-108-0-1.
Receiving - Jamison 2-37, Tjaden 3-27, McQuillen 2-25, Easton 3-19.
Tackle leaders - McQuillen 10, Tjaden 9, Felton 8, Pike 6, Reuter 5, Merrill 5.
Tackles-for-loss – Holtz 4, Pike 4, Merrill 3, McQuillen 3, Fuhrmeister 2, Felton 1.
Sacks - Holtz 1.5, Pike 1.5, Fuhrmeister 1, McQuillen .5, Merrill .5.
Interceptions: Black, Easton.
PHOTO: Monticello quarterback Jacob Black tries to evade an Anamosa tackler during the annual Cowbell Trophy game Friday, Aug. 24 at Dean Nelson Field. (Photo by Pete Temple)