Comets fall to Mt. Vernon

By Norv and Mary Coblentz · Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The West Liberty Comets football team lost 28-7 to Mt. Vernon on the road August 31. This is the first time since 1999 that the two teams, both former members of the Eastern Iowa Hawkeye Conference, played each other. The Mustangs kept the Comets in poor field position much of the game, and the Comets struggled to put together a drive.

West Liberty had first possession but only got a yard before turning the ball over on downs. The Mustangs returned the favor, turning the ball over on downs after one first down. The Comets took over on their 32 yard line. It was three and out for the Comets, but Elliott Henderson had a nice tackle on the Mount Vernon return, stopping the run at the 26 yard line. The Comet defense was tough, allowing only five yards, but when the Mustangs punted, a Comet fumbled the ball and Mount Vernon recovered on the West Liberty 23 yard line. The Mustangs scored first in the game on a pass play into the end zone with 3:28 left in the quarter. The Comets were called for an illegal substitution, and Mt. Vernon lined up at the five, setting up the successful two-point conversion. The Mustangs led 8-0 .

A touchback gave the Comets first and 10 at the Mount Vernon 20. West Liberty quarterback Tyler Newsom carried twice for 23 yards then a pass from Newsom to Brett Becker put the Comets at midfield. A mixup in the backfield caused a fumble, and the Mustangs recovered it.

As the clock wound down on the first quarter, Mount Vernon gained five yards on two downs including a 10-yard penalty on the Mustangs. Cole Roszell sacked the Mount Vernon quarterback to make it third and 12 to begin the second quarter. Another sack by Roszell made it fourth and 19, and the Mustangs punted.

Starting at the Mustang 16, the Comets managed just five yards before turning the ball over on downs. The Mustangs started with very good field position, near mid-field, but the Comets defense held them to just two yards before Mount Vernon punted. The Comets took over on their own 10-yard line.

Newsom chose a quarterback keeper and gained four yards, then Newsom passed the ball to Troy Heick for a 34-yard gain and a first down. A 54-yard pass play from Newsom to Becker scored the Comets’ touchdown. Raudel Fierror’s PAT kick was good, and the Comets trailed by one at 8-7.

The Mustangs punted on fourth and 19 on the next possession, then the Comets started a drive on their own 13. A quarterback keeper, two incomplete passes, and a sack made it fourth and 13 on the Comets seven. The Mustangs were called for roughing the kicker, and the Comets had a second chance on their own 22. Unfortunately, they gained only two yards before they had to punt. The Mustangs made it to midfield but had to punt again. The Comets didn’t do much as the half ended.

Mount Vernon started eating up the clock in the third quarter, and they moved the ball well in their first possession, eventually scoring their second touchdown of the game with a seven-yard run. The PAT was good, and with 4:40 left in the third quarter, Mount Vernon led the Comets 15-7. The Comets started at their own 20 after a touchback, but they turned it over on downs. The Mustangs moved from their own 43 to the West Liberty 19 before the quarter ended.

In the first play of the last quarter, the Mustangs scored on a 19-yard run. The PAT was no good, and the score was 21-7 with 11:56 left in the game.

After the kickoff, West Liberty got nowhere. The Mustangs went three and out thanks in part to a great tackle by Henderson and good pass coverage by Daniel Jacques. The Comets started at their own 28 and runs by Newsom and Riley Anderson brought them to midfield. Newsom had some good carries, but penalties held the Comets back. Then a West Liberty fumble was recovered by the Mustangs.

With 44 yards to go to the end zone, the Mustangs drove to the West Liberty 31. The Comets’ defense held them to fourth and one, then the Mustangs were called for delay of game. They tried a field goal, but it was no good.

The Comets had another chance, but an interception on the first play of their possession set up another Mount Vernon touchdown. The Mustangs drove from their own 46 yard line and scored on a 27-yard run. The PAT was good, and the score was 28-7 with 1:43 to go. The Comets had the final possession, but they didn’t score.

“We did some nice things but didn’t put enough together to be consistent offensively,” West Liberty Head Coach Ben Slife said. “Defensively, I thought we played a pretty solid game. We had a couple miscues again on special teams.”
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