PHOTO: Tanner Felton of Monticello (34) knocked Dyersville Beckman’s Mitch Steger out of bounds, with teammates T.J. Decker (58) and Jarrett Easton (12) in pursuit. (Photo by Pete Temple)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
The coming week for the Monticello High School football team will be all about bouncing back.
The 42-7 home loss to Dyersville Beckman Friday, Oct. 11 was a setback for a program that is on the verge of clinching its first playoff berth since 1991, but the goal is still in place, and highly attainable.
It’s not a guarantee yet, but the Panthers (3-2, 4-3) are probably in. Since there are likely three teams battling for the third and fourth playoff spots in Class 2A, District 4 – Monticello, Center Point-Urbana and Mount Vernon – and since the Panthers beat both of the other two, only a bizarre set of circumstances involving four or five teams finishing in a tie could prevent a post-season berth for MHS.
“The playoffs are still in sight,” Monticello coach Jon Kyte said. “We’ve got to win our last district game (Oct. 25) at Northeast (Goose Lake), and we’ll be in the playoffs.”
True. Bottom line: win that game, and the Panthers are in.
Meanwhile, having a non-district game Friday, at home against West Liberty, will give the Panthers extra time to recover from a tough loss against a speedy, hard-hitting Beckman team that outgained the Panthers 470-148.
“They are firing on all cylinders,” Kyte said of the Trailblazers. “We didn’t control the line of scrimmage. When a team has speed like that, you want to make them go east and west so our guys can get to the ball. But they were able to hit the holes at full speed.”
Beckman quarterback Grant Hammann was also able to buy time to find his receivers; he completed 14 of 19 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns. His key receiver was Mitch Steger, who caught seven passes for 168 yards.
Monticello was in this game for a while; the teams were tied 7-7 early in the second quarter. Beckman scored first on a three-yard run by Steger, capping a 55-yard drive.
The Panthers’ best moments came on the next possession. Starting from their own 20, they advanced to the Beckman 46.
From there, quarterback Cody Jamison fired a ball high toward Spencer Williams, who outleaped a Beckman defender to snare the ball, then ran about 25 yards before being brought down at the Beckman 1-yard line. Tanner Felton ran in for the touchdown, and Peyton Paddock’s extra point kick tied the score 7-7 with 10:09 left in the first half.
Beckman took over after that. The Blazers drove 80 yards in eight plays to take a 14-7 lead on Steger’s 21-yard touchdown on a reverse. After a Panther punt and a 40-yard return by Steger, the Blazers took just three plays to go 32 yards, scoring on a 19-yard pass from Hammaann to Tony Anstoetter with 2:51 left in the half. Beckman led 21-7 at the break.
Beckman broke the game open by scoring on its first three possessions of the second half. In each case, thanks to punt returns and one interception, the Blazers started each drive in Monticello territory. They scored on a seven-yard pass from Hammann to Nicholas Fallon, a 13-yard pass from Hammann to Steger, and an eight-yard pass from Hammann to Anstoetter.
“We could never get that momentum shifted our way,” Kyte said.
The 42-7 lead put the 35-point continuous clock rule into effect, and the fourth quarter clock ran out with neither team scoring.
West Liberty Friday
Even though Friday’s home game against West Liberty doesn’t count in the district standings, the Panthers hope to avenge a 31-6 loss to the Comets a year ago. West Liberty is having a strong season, with a record of 4-1 in Class 2A, District 5; and 4-3 overall.
The JV game will be played Monday, Oct. 21. Friday’s varsity game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
Dy. Beckman 7 14 21 0 – 42
Monticello 0 7 0 0 – 7
Beck – Steger 3 run (Lueken kick), 1:17 remaining.
Monti – Felton 1 run (Paddock kick), 10:09 remaining.
Beck – Steger 21 run (Lueken kick), 5:28.
Beck – Anstoetter 19 pass from Hammann (Lueken kick), 2:51.
Beck – Fallon 7 pass from Hammann (Lueken kick), 8:04.
Beck – Steger 13 pass from Hammann (kick blocked), 3:57.
Beck – Anstoetter 8 pass from Hammann (Grover run), 1:18.
First downs 22 9
Rushing yards 213 41
Passing yards 257 107
Total yards 470 148
Comp.-att.-int. 14-19-0 10-22-1
Fumbles-lost 3-4 1-0
Penalties-yards 3-30 3-15
Rushing – Jamison 5-21, Felton 14-17, Kraus 5-9, Paddock 1-1, Aitchison 1 (-7).
Passing – Jamison 10-22-107-0-1.
Receiving – Williams 3-73, Johnson 3-22, Kraus 3-17, Felton 1 (-5).
Fumble recoveries – Craig, Jamison, Rieniets.
Tackle leaders – Aitchison 8.5, Johnson 5.5, Paddock 5.5, Felton 5.5, Decker 3.5, Rieniets 3.5, Eckhardt 3, Holtz 2.5, Easton 2, Craig 2, Fuhrmeister 2.