|The WL Comets lose, record now stands at 4-4|
by Norv and Mary Coblentz · October 30, 2013
The Comets' football team's record fell to 4-4 for the season after a 27-17 loss at Monticello, Oct. 18.
There's one game remaining in the Comets' regular season. West Liberty will host the Mid-Prairie Golden Hawks (6-2) Oct. 25.
"Three to three after the first quarter, and then we had a couple of letdowns here and there," West Liberty Head Coach Ben Slife said. "A key injury in our offensive line kind of prohibited us from doing some of the things we were hoping (to do). We don't have a lot of depth, and anytime we've got to shuffle a few guys around up front, it hurts the chemistry of the offense."
The first points of the game came via a field goal by Raudel Fierro for the Comets, giving West Liberty a 3-0 lead with 6:52 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers returned the favor, scoring a field goal at the end of their first drive. Tyler Lyon, Anderson, and then the West Liberty front line got three big stops bringing up fourth down and goal at the eight. But the Panthers kicked a field goal at the end of the first quarter for a 3-3 tie.
The Monticello kickoff to start the second quarter went into the endzone for a touchback. On the Panthers' first play of the drive, Miller got an interception, but the Comets didn't take advantage of the turnover.
Heick made a good catch and appeared to get a third-down conversion for the Comets, but there was a late flag on the play. West Liberty was penalized for an illegal forward pass, bringing up fourth down and 11. Guardado was set to punt, but it was a fake. Anderson got the pass and a first down at the 35. Becker carried for a yard, then an incomplete pass and another short run made it four and five, and this time Guardado did punt. He was hit, and the West Liberty fans wanted a roughing the punter call, but no call was made.
The Panthers started on their own 31, and one pass play later, they were in the endzone. The PAT kick was good for a 10-3 score with 8:55 left in the half.
The Panthers kept it coming when they went for the fourth-down conversion and got it later on. Another first down on a keeper put the Panthers at the West Liberty 40. The Panthers had two incomplete passes with Henderson on coverage. Jesus Garcia and Anderson stopped a pass and run play bringing up fourth and three. After a time out, the Panthers kicked a 51-yard field goal for a 13-3 lead with 1:37 left in the half.
Miller intercepted the ball early on in the quarter, but it was three-and-out for the Comets. They got off a very short punt on fourth and seven.
In response, the Panthers had the ball at the West Liberty 29. A carry, stopped by Henderson and Trevor Schneider, made it second and four. Another carry, stopped by Palma and John Jepson, got the Panthers a first down at the 13. One more run, and the Panthers were in the endzone. The PAT kick was good, and Monticello had a 20-3 lead with 7:04 to go in the third quarter.
The Panthers recovered their own kickoff on the West Liberty 47, but eventually they were forced to punt, it was recovered by Koenig at the West Liberty 10.
The Comets got a first down on two Anderson carries and one Guardado carry. A pass to Koenig made it second and four at the 26. A pass to Miller got a first down at the 33. Anderson ran for another first down, this one at the 46. A pass to Miller gained eight yards, then Anderson got the first down on a run to the Monticello 41. An incomplete pass and a carry for a short loss brought up third and 11 as the third quarter ended.
The Panthers got an interception on the first play of the fourth quarter. On the second they ran 54 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick was good, and with 11:37 left in the game, the Panthers had a 27-3 lead.
West Liberty scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough. Monticello kicked off into the endzone for a touchback. Becker passed to Anderson for an eight-yard gain. Anderson carried again, then Guardado got a first down at the 47. Heick carried for no gain, then Becker threw to Heick for a first down at the Monticello 36. A pass to Koenig gained six yards, then Becker ran for a first down at the 24. A pass to Heick made it first down at the 11, then Becker ran in to the endzone for a touchdown. The PAT two-point conversion pass to Guardado resulted in a 27-11 score with 8:28 left in the game.
Fierro tried an onside kick, but the Panthers caught it at their own 45. An incomplete pass and a carry, stopped by Henderson, along with a block in the back penalty against the Panthers made it second and 14. The Panthers made a complete pass, but the receiver fell down for third down and 18. The Panthers ran the ball, and Henderson ran the ball-carrier out of bounds to bring up fourth down and five at midfield. The Panthers went for the fourth-down conversion, but Henderson stopped them, and West Liberty took over on downs.
A few drives later Becker scrambled for the first down at the 36 then he was sacked. On second down and 14 with 2:50 on the clock, the Comets called a time out. A pass to Koenig and an incomplete pass brought up fourth down and seven at the 28, and the Comets took another time out. A pass to Koenig made it first and goal at the five. With 2:22 to go, Becker threw a pass to Miller for a touchdown. The PAT pass was no good for a 27-17 score.
Fierro's onside kick was caught for the Comets by Guardado, but an incomplete pass and an interception gave the ball back to the Panthers with 2:05 to go.
The Panthers got a first down near midfield, then kept the ball on the ground, eating up the clock to end the game.
"It's a huge game [Friday against Mid-Prairie]," Slife said. "It determines if we get a home playoff game if we beat them. We've got our hands full there."