By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
It was quite a sendoff for Monticello head football coach Shane Blake.
His players collected 543 yards of total offense, and the defense recorded a shutout while allowing just 121 yards, including minus-11 rushing.
It added up to a season-ending 35-0 triumph over Northeast of Goose Lake Friday, Oct. 19 at Dean Nelson Field.
Leading the rushing attack, which totaled 444 yards, was Tanner Felton, who rushed 22 times for 187 yards and two touchdowns, while also going 4-for-4 on extra point kicks. Quarterback Jacob Black rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown, while passing for 71 yards and another score.
Monticello also had some fun late in the game, letting some different players carry the ball. The Panthers had a 16-yard touchdown run from Anthony Guyer and a 15-yard carry by Michael Reuter.
“I appreciate the way the kids gave it their all,” said Blake, who resigned Oct. 16. His resignation was accepted by the Monticello School Board at a special meeting Oct. 17.
“We played a well-balanced game, the kind of game to end your season on. It was just a great team win, with class.”
The game was still close at halftime, with Monticello leading 7-0 on a 44-yard touchdown run around the left side by Black. The half also included the game’s strangest play, which featured two turnovers. A Northeast defender intercepted a pass, ran 15 yards and then fumbled. Guyer recovered, and the Panthers regained possession.
In the second half, the Panthers took control, scoring on their first four possessions. The first was a 65-yard, nine-play drive that ended with a six-yard touchdown run by Felton. The second march traveled 74 yards in just three plays. Black broke a 23-yard run, and Felton followed with a 49-yard touchdown run around the left side. Guyer came on to kick that extra point, and Monticello led 21-0 with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
An interception by Sawyer Herman set up the Panthers’ next score. Starting at the Northeast 31, Monticello marched in to score on a four-yard pass from Black to McQuillen. With 11:10 left in the game, the Panthers led 28-0.
Then, following a Northeast punt, it took the Panthers just five plays to go 65 yards, scoring on Guyer’s 16-yard run. Guyer also had a 28-yard carry on that possession.
Felton’s point-after made it 35-0 with 8:20 to play, triggering the continuous clock rule. Northeast’s last possession ended on a fumble, recovered by McQuillen, and the Panthers ran out the rest of the game clock.
Northeast had just seven first downs in the game. The only time the Rebels crossed midfield was in the third quarter when the Panthers attempted an onside kick but the ball went out of bounds, giving Northeast the ball at the Monticello 47.
The Rebels went as far as the Panther 26 before a fumble was recovered by McQuillen to end the drive.
The end of the game featured some emotional scenes. The players lifted Blake up on their shoulders and carried him off the field. Family members and former players met with Blake and posed for a picture, and seniors huddled around Blake afterward.
“It really was nice to see the support from the students, parents and players that showed up,” Blake said. “I also got a lot of texts and e-mails from people that were not present, that were part of a great chapter in my life for 10 years.
“I will always be a Panther, and nothing can take that away from me.”
The Panthers finished the season with a 2-4 record in Class 2A, District 4, and were 3-6 overall in Blake’s final season.
Northeast 0 0 0 0 – 0
Monticello 0 7 14 14 - 35
Monti - Black 44 run (Felton kick), 2:02 remaining.
Monti - Felton 6 run (Felton kick), 6:51.
Monti – Felton 49 run (Guyer kick), 5:15.
Monti - McQuillen 4 pass from Black (Felton kick), 11:10.
Monti - Guyer 16 run (Felton kick), 8:20.
First downs 7 28
Rushing yards (-11) 444
Passing yards 132 99
Comp.-att.-int. 6-19-1 9-19-2
Total yards 121 543
Fumbles-lost 4-3 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-16 3-20
Rushing – Felton 22-187, Black 18-95, McQuillen 14-74, Guyer 3-56, Reuter 3-26, Tjaden 1-6.
Passing – Black 8-17-71-1-1, Herman 1-2-28-0-1.
Receiving – Herman 4-29, Black 1-28, McQuillen 2-17, Easton 1-14, Johnson 1-11.
Interception - Herman.
Fumble recoveries - McQuillen 2, Guyer.
Tackles – McQuillen 9, Guyer 7, Pike 4, Easton 3, Reuter 3, Black 2, Holtz 1.5, Tjaden 1.5, Herman 1, Kraus 1, Decker 0.5, Norton 0.5.
Sacks - Guyer, Pike.
Tackles-for-loss – McQuillen 2.5, Guyer 2.5, Pike 2.5, Reuter 1, Norton 0.5.
PHOTO: Monticello players carry Shane Blake off the field following their victory over Northeast Oct. 19 at Dean Nelson Field. (Photo by Pete Temple)