By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Monticello gave the formerly-ranked Center Point-Urbana Stormin’ Pointers a bit of a scare, but in the end, the visitors put a damper on the Panthers’ homecoming football game with a 28-14 victory Friday, Sept. 28 at Dean Nelson Field.
CP-U got three touchdowns and 144 yards rushing from quarterback Ryan Wilkin, and three field goals from Brayton Brandt. The Pointers also made big plays when it counted most.
“I thought we played one of our best games of the year,” Monticello coach Shane Blake said. “Every kid left his heart out on the field. We are playing really good football this year, we just happen to be in such a competitive district with the top 2A teams in the state.”
The Pointers showed just how competitive they can be from their opening possession. The first three offensive plays went for 32, 15 and 16 yards, all on the ground.
But Monticello also showed it wasn’t going to fall easily, holding CP-U to a 24-yard field goal by Brandt.
The Panthers (1-3, 2-4) had a chance to score on their second possession of the game, but a 46-yard field goal try by Tanner Felton missed.
CP-U took the ball on its 20 and drove to the Monticello 26 before the Panthers held again. Brandt came on and kicked a 43-yard field goal to give the Pointers a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter.
An interception and 15-yard return by Monticello’s Cody Jamison set up the Panthers’ first score. They drove 51 yards in eight plays, scoring on a gritty 13-yard run by Felton, who broke tackles at the 10 before squirting through for the score. A 15-yard screen pass from Jacob Black to Logan McQuillen was a key play in the drive.
Felton’s extra point kick gave the Panthers their only lead of the game, 7-6, with exactly four minutes left in the half.
CP-U responded with an 11-play, 86-yard drive that ended with Wilkin’s first touchdown, a 10-yard run around the right side with 33.9 seconds left in the half. McQuillen broke through to block the extra point, but the Pointers went into halftime with a 12-7 lead.
A 39-yard field goal by Brandt extended the lead to 15-7 midway through the third quarter, and the Pointers turned it into a two-score lead with an 18-yard touchdown run up the middle by Wilkin. The extra point kick bounced off the left upright, leaving CP-U ahead 21-7 with 8:58 to play.
The Panthers then showed the heart coach Blake talked about at the school’s pep rally, driving 65 yards in 12 plays to get back in the game. A 38-yard completion from Black to Sawyer Herman brought the ball to the CP-U six, and two plays later Black scored on a five-yard run. Felton booted the point-after, and the Panthers trailed by just seven, 21-14, with 5:37 to play.
The Pointers then went three-and-out, and Monticello took over at its 26 with 3:49 to play, hoping to drive for the tying score. Instead, Josh Jirak of CP-U cut in front of a receiver to pick off a Panther pass, and a short return gave his team the ball at the Monticello 9.
Two plays later, Wilkin scored on a four-yard run as the Pointers went up 28-14.
Monticello made one more effort, driving from its 20 to the Pointer 22, but a sack on fourth down gave CP-U the ball, and the visitors ran out the clock.
Felton finished with 100 yards rushing for the Panthers.
“If we take care of ourselves and keep playing football the way we have the last few weeks, good things are going to happen for this team,” Blake said. “The district is challenging, no question about it, but I love it, because it really brings out the true character of players.”
Monticello will get another strong test when it travels to Dyersville Beckman Friday, Oct. 5.
Ctr. Pt.-Urb 3 9 3 13 – 28
Monticello 0 7 0 7 – 14
CPU - Brandt 23 field goal, 9:15 remaining.
CPU - Brandt 43 field goal, 10:26.
Monti – Felton 13 run (Felton kick), 4:00.
CPU – Wilkin 10 run (kick blocked), 0:33.9.
CPU - Brandt 39 field goal, 5:54.
CPU – Wilkin 19 run (kick failed), 8:58.
Monti - Black 5 run (Felton kick), 5:37.
CPU - Wilkin 4 run (Brandt kick), 3:04.
First downs 13 13
Rushing yards 217 154
Passing yards 84 73
Comp.-att.-int. 9-21-1 6-15-1
Total yards 301 227
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yds. 8-75 7-75
Rushing – Felton 21-100, McQuillen 6-32, Black 18-26, Herman 1 (-4).
Passing – Black 6-15-73-0-1.
Receiving - Herman 1-38, McQuillen 3-31, Easton 1-7, Tjaden 1 (-3).
Tackles - McQuillen 10.5, Felton 6.5, Jamison 5.5, Herman 4.5, Reuter 3.5, Norton 3, Black 2.5, Easton 2.5, Tjaden 2.5.
Sacks - Felton, Reuter.
Tackles-for-loss - Felton 2, McQuillen 1, Herman 1, Reuter 1.
Interception – Jamison.
PHOTO: Logan McQuillen of Monticello stops Center Point-Urbana’s Josh Jirak during the Panthers’ homecoming game Sept. 28. (Photo by Pete Temple)