PHOTO: Tanner Felton of Monticello (34) fights his way across the goal line for one of his four touchdowns in the Panthers’ homecoming win over Camanche Sept. 27. (Photo by Pete Temple)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
It was a night of positives for the Monticello High School football team.
A lopsided homecoming win, a large crowd, a beautiful night and, perhaps biggest of all, a record over the .500 mark for the first time since Week One.
Tanner Felton rushed for 176 yards and four touchdowns, Cody Jamison passed for 157 yards, and Monticello’s quick strike offense gave the Panthers control by halftime, in a 55-24 win over Camanche Friday, Sept. 27 at Dean Nelson Field.
“I had people contacting me to tell me they were going to watch us play for the first time since they graduated from high school,” Monticello coach Jon Kyte said. “It was great to see Dean Nelson Field packed again with those fans.
“I told our players, what you guys do on the field is bringing that magic back and that support back from the community.”
It was a game of big plays for the Panthers (2-1, 3-2), and they made their first one on the game’s first series. Monticello forced a Camanche punt, and Trent Aitchison broke through to block it. After a scramble that caused the ball to roll into the Camanche end zone, Peyton Paddock fell on it for a Panther touchdown, then kicked the extra point to give Monticello a 7-0 lead just 2:04 into the game.
“It was a great momentum starter for our guys,” Kyte said. “We worked on it all week, saw on film that there could be an opportunity for it.
The Indians put together a long drive on the next series, going from their 20-yard line to the Monticello 5, but wound up having a field goal attempt blocked.
Big plays produced Monticello’s second touchdown, late in the first quarter. Tanner Felton broke away on a 49-yard run to the Camanche 17, then scored on the next play for a 14-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, the Panthers went 73 yards in just six plays, scoring on a 16-yard run by Felton.
Camanche answered with a nine-play, 70-yard drive, ending with a six-yard touchdown run by Ryan Langston. The extra point try sailed wide, and Monticello led 21-6 with just 1:14 left in the first half.
The next sequence may have removed any remaining doubt from the outcome. Colton Craig returned the kickoff 29 yards to the Camanche 49. Quarterback Cody Jamison completed a 29-yard pass to Jarrett Easton, and three plays later, Greg Kraus scored on a 15-yard run with just 25.3 seconds left in the half. Paddock booted the extra point, and Monticello led 28-6 at halftime.
The teams largely traded scores – lots of them – in the second half. Camanche scored on a 17-yard run by Easton McDaniel. Kraus returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to the Indians’ 10, and Felton scored on a three-yard run on third down.
After a Camanche three-and-out, Jamison completed a 39-yard pass to Garrett Rieniets, setting up a 15-yard scoring run by Jamison. The Panther led 41-12 with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
Camanche then had a long drive to end the third quarter and start the fourth. The Indians marched 82 yards in 12 plays, scoring on a five-yard run by Brady Beal.
Again, the Panthers answered quickly. Kraus broke through for a 43-yard scoring run, the Monticello led 48-18 with 10:08 left.
Each team scored once more; Camanche on a three-yard run by Langston to cap an 80-yard drive with 1:02 left, and Monticello on a 22-yard run by Felton after Jamison completed a 33-yard pass to Easton.
There was plenty of offense to go around. Monticello finished with 436 yards, including 279 on the ground. Easton was the leading receiver with three catches for 88 yards.
“Offensively, we were clicking,” Kyte said. “I was happy with our offensive performance. All 11 guys were doing their jobs, which was great to see.”
Camanche did have 403 total yards. Langston carried 16 times for 120 yards, and Beal completed 12 of 18 passes for 167 yards.
“Our tackling and our pursuit, I thought, weren’t as good as they were the previous week,” Kyte said. “But our offensive was so explosive. We ran 43 plays of offense, and our defense was out there for 73 plays. They’re going to get those yards when they get 73 chances. So you shrug that off a little bit.”
Monticello will travel to Center Point-Urbana (1-1, 3-2) Oct. 4.
“They have a talented quarterback, a guy that can make some plays with his arms and with his feet,” Kyte said.
He was referring to senior Ryan Wilkin, who has passed for 436 yards and rushed for 228 yards and five touchdowns so far this season.
Camanche 0 0 6 12 – 24
Monticello 14 14 13 14 – 55
Monti - Paddock recovery of blocked punt (Paddock kick), 9:56 remaining.
Monti – Felton 17 run (Paddock kick), 0:18.3.
Monti – Felton 16 run (Paddock kick), 5:13.
Cam - Langston 6 run (kick wide), 1:14.
Monti - Kraus 15 pass from Jamison (Paddock kick), 0:25.3.
Cam – McDaniel 17 run (run failed), 7:55.
Monti – Felton 3 run (kick blocked), 6:45.
Monti - Jamison 15 run (Paddock kick), 3:51.
Cam - Beal 5 run (pass failed), 11:38.
Monti - Kraus 43 run (Paddock kick), 10:08.
Cam – Langston 3 run (kick blocked), 1:02.
Monti – Felton 22 run (Paddock kick), 0:20.5.
First downs 22 18
Rushing yards 236 278
Passing yards 167 157
Total yards 403 435
Comp.-att.-int. 12-18-0 6-14-1
Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-75 7-76
Rushing – Felton 20-176, Kraus 1-43, Jamison 4-33, Aitchison 3-27, Johnson 1 (-1).
Passing – Jamison 6-14-157-1-1.
Receiving - Easton 3-88, Rieniets 1-39, Johnson 1-15, Kraus 1-15.
Tackle leaders - Felton 8.5, Paddock 7.5, Aitchison 6, Johnson 5, Easton 5, Pike 4.5, Williams 4.5, Decker 4.5, Turnis 3.5, Holtz 2.5, Eckhardt 2.5, Norton 2.5, Jamison 2.5.
Sacks - Holtz 1, Craig 1, Blunt 1, Pike 0.5, Rieniets 0.5.
Tackles-for-loss - Pike 2.5, Felton 1.5, Aitchison 1.5, Norton 1.5, Craig 1.5, Rieniets 1.5, Paddock 1, Williams 1, Decker 1, Holtz 1, Blunt 1.