Panthers score on first four drives, overwhelm Camanche

Rylan Cooper of Monticello (13) looks for running room in the Oct. 1 game at Camanche, with help from teammate Gabe Goodyear (76). (Photos by Pete Temple)

Owen Thomas of the Panthers (70) moves in on Camanche quarterback Mike Delzell Friday.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Despite a loss to West Liberty the previous week, the Monticello High School football team still had control of its own destiny in the Class 2A, District 5 race.

     Friday at Camanche, the Panthers played like it.

     Monticello scored on its first four possessions of the game to roll to a 28-7 lead, then used some big plays in the second half – a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown by Gage Guilford, and a 70-yard punt return for another score by Caleb Sauser, to pull away.

     The result was an overwhelming, 55-13 win for the Panthers Oct. 1, that left them 2-1 in district play, 3-2 overall.

     “We had a great week of practice. The guys were focused,” Monticello coach Wes Wilson said. “We have really picked up our tempo, and the guys have played really well. Our execution has been very good. Not turning the ball over has also been key.”

     Camanche has changed the nickname for its athletic teams from the Indians to the Storm, beginning with this fall, but it was the Panthers who thundered through their opponents on this night.

     The Storm struck first, with a 61-yard drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by Tucker Dickherber.

     After that, however, the Panthers were in control.

     Caleb Sauser scored the first of his four touchdowns on the next possession, on a 15-yard play in which he caught a short pass from Preston Ries, juked around two would-be tacklers, and went in for the score. The teams were tied 7-7 after one quarter.

     Monticello put up 21 unanswered points in the second quarter. Ries scored on a 20-yard run up the middle in the first minute of the period.

     Following a Camanche punt, the Panthers took over on the Storm 47 and scored in eight plays, as Caleb Sauser crossed the goal line on a two-yard run. Monticello led 21-7 with 6:40 left in the half.

     Camanche punted again on its next possession, and Monticello put together a nine-play, 75-yard drive, scoring on a two-yard run by Ries with 25.2 seconds left in the half. A key play in the drive was a 38-yard pass play, Ries to Tate Petersen, that brought the ball to the Storm 24.

     Monticello led 28-7 at the half.

     “Our defense settled in,” coach Wilson said. “We didn’t make any adjustments, we just played with more energy after the first drive.”

     The Panthers scored on their first possession of the second half as well, on a one-yard run by Ries to cap a 65-yard drive.

     Then, Guilford stepped in front of a Camanche receiver, picked off a pass, and sped untouched to the Storm end zone on a 70-yard pick six, giving the Panthers a 41-7 lead.

     The Storm came back with a 55-yard pass play, Mike Delzell to Dickherber, to trim the lead to 41-13 late in the fourth quarter.

     Monticello then scored on a six-yard run by Caleb Sauser with 7:37 left in the game, boosting the lead to 35 and forcing the continuous clock mercy rule.

     About three minutes later, Caleb Sauser scored his fourth touchdown, returning a Camanche punt 70 yards for a score.

     In all, the Panthers racked up 466 yards, to 237 for the Storm. Ries finished 16-for-20 for 239 yards, and rushed for 153 yards. Petersen had 163 receiving yards on eight catches.

     Defensively, Rylan Cooper, Ries and Guilford recorded sacks.

Cowbell game next

     Monticello and Anamosa (1-5) are undoubtedly looking forward to their matchup Friday, Oct. 8 in Monticello, as last year’s Cowbell Game was cancelled due to COVID issues. It was the first time in 100 years that the teams did not square off.

     “Records are thrown out during the Monticello-Anamosa game,” Wilson said. “We know we will get their best effort.”


Oct. 1

Monti    7    21   13   14  –  55   

Cam      7     0     6     0   –  13



     Cam – Dickherber 14 run (Snodgrass kick), 9:03.

     Monti – Ca. Sauser 15 pass from Ries (Castillo kick), 7:14.


     Monti – Ries 20 run (Castillo kick), 11:08.

     Monti – Ca. Sauser 2 run (Castillo kick), 6:40.

     Monti – Ries 2 run (Castillo kick), 0:25.2.


     Monti – Ries 1 run (Castillo kick), 7:45.

     Monti – Guilford 70 interception return (kick failed), 4:58.

     Cam – Dickherber 55 pass from Delzell (kick failed), 2:09.


     Monti – Ca. Sauser 6 run (Castillo kick), 7:37.

     Monti – Ca. Sauser 70 punt return (Castillo kick), 4:53.


                                Monti      Cam

First downs              20             9

Rushing yds.           215          90

Passing yds.           251         147

Comp.-att.-int.      12-21-2  17-21-0

Total yards              466         237

Fumbles lost             0             0

Penalties-yds.        7-50        4-30


     Rushing – Ries 20-153, Sauser 8-40, Cooper 8-26.

     Passing – Ries 16-20-239-1-0, Ca. Sauser 1-1-12-0-0.

     Receiving – Petersen 8-163, Ca. Sauser 6-64, Schilling 2-21, Ries 1-12.

     Tackles – Ries 7, Ca. Sauser 5, Petersen 5, Cooper 5, Phelps 4.5, Guilford 4, Co.Sauser 3, Thomas 3, Sternhagen 2.5, Schilling 2, Bartachek 1.5, Husmann 1, Kuper 1, Castillo 1, Graves 1, Besler 0.5, Cleeton 0.5.

     Interceptions – Guilford, Ca. Sauser.

     Sacks – Ries, Guilford, Cooper.

     Tackles-for-loss – Ries 2.5, Phelps 1.5, Guilford 1, Cooper 1, Sternhagen 0.5, Graves 0.5, Thomas 0.5.



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