PHOTO: Tanner Felton picks up yardage for Monticello in the state football playoff game Oct. 30 in Waukon. (Photo by Pete Temple)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Waukon was the top rated team in the state in Class 2A football until the final game of the regular season, when the Indians inexplicably lost a game to New Hampton.
The team Monticello saw in the opening round of the state 2A playoffs looked every bit like a potential state champion.
The Indians scored on the first play from scrimmage, racked up 28 points in the first quarter, and rolled to a 48-0 halftime lead before Monticello mounted a second half comeback in a 48-24 Waukon win Wednesday, Oct. 30 in Waukon.
“They are an athletic, good team,” Monticello coach Jon Kyte said. “Waukon is a team that has been there and done it before, and they know exactly how it goes.”
It was a tough ending to an otherwise historic season for the Panthers, who finished 6-4 and reached the post-season for the first time since 1991.
Peyton Paddock started the game the way he has started several this season, by booming his kickoff out of the back of the end zone. Waukon took the ball on its 20-yard line. Marcus Weymiller (nine carries, 188 yards) found a clear path in the middle of the line and raced virtually untouched for an 80-yard touchdown.
“We’ve given up big plays and been able to bounce back from them, but in the first play, going untouched, and being down 13 seconds into the game, that’s kind of a momentum blow to you,” Kyte said. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to start our first postseason game since ’91. You could kind of see their momentum skyrocket, and we weren’t as confident.”
The next sequences were virtually identical; the Panthers went three-and-out twice, and the Indians scored twice. The first of those was on a 14-yard run by Weymiller around the left side. The second TD was a five-yard run by quarterback Parker Hesse. With 3:39 still remaining in the first quarter, the Indians led 21-0.
They made it 28-0 after an interception by Jacob Ronan gave them the ball on the Panther 40-yard line. Four plays later, Ronan caught a pass from Hesse for a 13-yard score.
The Indians scored three more times in the second quarter. Weymiller scored on an eight-yard run. Glyeb Ewing fell on a blocked punt in the Panther end zone for another touchdown.
The only Panther highlight of the first half was when Paddock picked up the ball on the ground out of punt formation, ran to his right and was able to kick the ball downfield. It wound up being a 49-yard punt that was downed at the Waukon 6-yard line.
The Indians responded by putting together a 13-play, 94-yard drive and scoring on an eight-yard run by Weymiller, his fourth touchdown of the game.
Trailing 48-0 at halftime, the Panther coaches changed their approach.
”We told them to go out there and have fun. No stress,” Kyte said. “Don’t be timid. Act like you’re growing up playing at Shannon or Carpenter Elementary School, or in the backyard when you first started playing ball.
”And we did that. We had fun and enjoyed the second half, and with that, we had some success.”
After Greg Kraus returned the ball 34 yards to the Waukon 43 on the opening kickoff, the Panthers advanced to the Waukon 22, and Paddock kicked a 39-yard field goal.
Two big plays set up Monticello’s first touchdown, after Waukon was forced to punt and the Panthers started on their 36. Quarterback Cody Jamison ran for 39 yards to the Waukon 25, and two plays later Jamison completed a 20-yard pass to Tyler Johnson to the 4. Jamison then scored on a four-yard run, and Paddock’s extra point cut the deficit to 48-10.
The continuous clock rule had been in effect because Waukon led by at least 35 points in the second half, but the Panthers were able to stop it by scoring again. Spencer Williams intercepted a Waukon pass and returned it 30 yards to the Indians’ 12, and three plays later Jamison found Jarrett Easton on a 18-yard pass in the right side of the end zone, and Paddock’s point-after shaved the margin to 48-17 with 7:55 left to play.
Monticello forced a Waukon three-and-out, and took over on the Panther 45. Jamison then ran for what appeared to be a 55-yard touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty, and gave Monticello the ball on the Waukon 23. Jamison completed a 19-yard pass to Johnson, and two plays later Tanner Felton scored on a one-yard run with 4:05 left.
The Panther had a chance to score again, after Colton Craig recovered a Waukon fumble, but the clock ran out with Monticello at the Waukon 13-yard line.
“That was a great thing to see. Our guys never did quit,” Kyte said. “It’s always good to see the guys not give up and continue to fight, no matter what the scoreboard says.”
The Panthers were held to just 20 yards in the first half, but the second half success gave them a game total of 228, including 133 rushing yards by Jamison.
Monticello finished with a 6-4 record, including 4-2 in Class 2A, District 4. The Panthers were 2-1 in non-district games, and 0-1 in the post-season.
“I hated to see the season end for our seniors and for our whole team, but for coaches and players, it’s a building block,” Kyte said. “It’s a learning experience of how to prepare, now that we’ve been there.
“The best thing is, we were one of those 32 teams that made it in. I told the guys, ‘There’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’ve done a lot, and laid a great foundation for where this program is going to be going in years to come.’ ”
Class 2A state playoff
(first round, at Waukon)
Monticello 0 0 10 14 – 24
Waukon 28 20 0 0 – 48
Wau - Weymiller 80 run (kick failed), 11:47 remaining.
Wau - Weymiller 14 run (Hesse run), 7:02.
Wau – Hesse 5 run (Ewing kick), 3:39.
Wau - Ronan 13 pass from Hesse (Ewing kick), 2:11.
Wau - Weymiller 8 run (Ness kick), 10:45.
Wau - Ewing recovery of blocked punt (kick failed), 8:46.
Wau - Weymiller 8 run (Ness kick), 2:24.
Monti – Paddock 39 field goal, 6:43.
Monti - Jamison 4 run (Paddock kick), 0:20.7.
Monti – Easton 18 pass from Jamison (Paddock kick), 7:55.
Monti - Felton 1 run (Paddock kick), 4:05.
First downs 9 19
Rushing yards 166 361
Passing yards 62 88
Total yards 228 449
Comp.-att.-int. 4-13-1 6-10-1
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 3-20
Rushing – Jamison 14-133, Felton 10-32, Kraus 3-1.
Passing – Jamison 3-11-43-1-1, Felton 1-2-19-0-0.
Receiving – Johnson 2-40, Easton 2-22.
Fumble recoveries – Craig.
Interceptions - Jamison.
Tackles – Pike 6.5, Felton 5, Holtz 4.5, Jamison 3.5, Easton 3, Eckhardt 3, Decker 2.5, Aitchison 2.5, Craig 2, Johnson 1.5, Rieniets 1, Paddock 1.
Tackles-for-loss - Pike 1.5, Holtz 1, Decker 0.5, Aitchison 0.5, Craig 0.5.