|Comets run away with the win|
by Norv and Mary Coblentz · October 23, 2013
The West Liberty Comets beat the West Burlington-Notre Dame Falcons at West Burlington Oct. 11 with a final tally of 48-14. While the Comets scored first, the Falcons took the lead in the first quarter and second quarters.
"I'm still a little bit disappointed about some things we've been preaching on," West Liberty Head Coach Ben Slife said. "What I was proud of was when our backs were against the wall, when it was a close game, things were nip-and-tuck, and they (the Falcons) were in the game, we were able to respond to the challenge that they laid down in front of us."
The Comets won the toss and elected to receive. Cooper Koenig received the WBND kickoff and had a huge return, all the way to the Falcons' 23-yard line. The next play, Riley Anderson ran the ball into the end zone for a West Liberty touchdown. The PAT kick was no good, but West Liberty had a 6-0 lead just 23 seconds into the game.
Penalties and mistakes plagued the Comets on their next drive, but they moved the ball well. After an incomplete pass, Carl Guardado ran for a first down. Brett Becker ran the option for another first down, this one at the West Burlington-Notre Dame 44. Guardado had a short run, and Becker got sacked for a fourth down and five. The Comets called a time out then went for the fourth-down conversion.
On a later drive the Falcons recovered the ball in their endzone for a touchback.
The Falcons ran for five yards, stopped by Jesus Garcia. Another carry got WBND a first down at the 42, then the Falcons broke away and ran for a touchdown. The PAT kick was good, and the Falcons had a 7-6 lead with 36.7 seconds left in the first quarter.
Koenig had another big kickoff return for the Comets to the WBND 39. Anderson ran for nine yards, then Becker got a first down at the 24 on a keeper at the end of the quarter. An incomplete pass was followed by another touchdown run by Anderson. Raudel Fierro's PAT kick was good, and the Comets led 13-7 with 11:49 left in the first half.
"He set the tone," Slife said of Koenig's kickoff returns. "It's nice when we can get the special teams to contribute that much. At this point, Cooper looks to be the fastest on our team, so it's great when we can get the ball in his hands."
The Falcons recovered the Comets' kickoff at their own 41. A complete pass got the Falcons a big first down at the West Liberty 40. Another carry made it first-and-10 at the 25. A carry gained three yards for the Falcons. Mason Tvrs made the stop. Another carry, stopped by Robert Torres, made it third down and three to go.
A complete pass made it first and 10 at the 12; Trevor Schneider made the stop for the Comets. Two more carries brought the Falcons to the West Liberty six, and a pass gave them a touchdown. The PAT kick was good, and the Falcons had a 14-13 lead with 7:51 left in the half.
An Anderson carry made it second down and two a few drives later. Becker scored a touchdown on a keeper with 1:18 on the clock. Fierro picked up the ball and tried to run for the two-point conversion, but the attempt failed. The Comets had a 19-14 lead.
With 1:01 left in the half, the Comets moved toward the end zone starting at their own 36. An incomplete pass made it second and 10. Then Becker threw a pass. It was tipped, but Anderson caught it and ran for a first down at the WBND 46. Another incomplete pass and a penalty on the Comets made it second down and 15. Becker connected with Heick for a first down at the 32. There were 38.7 seconds to go in the half.
An incomplete pass and a carry with no gain made it third down and 10. The Comets called a time out with 27.4 seconds on the clock. Becker threw to Koenig for a touchdown. Guardado carried the ball for a two-point conversion, and the Comets took a 27-14 lead into halftime.
"Something we haven't worked on as much as we have in the past is the two-minute drill, but the guys have done it for a few years," Slife said. "I thought we executed it fairly flawlessly in the first half, and I thought that gave us the momentum as we were going into the second half."
"The fumble kind of changed the tide in the first half," West Burlington-Notre Dame Head Coach Jeff Housel said. "We had the lead, and we were running the football. We could have extended that lead. We gave them the ball back, and then to give (up) another one there in the first half was a tough, tough break."
Fierro's kickoff to start the second half buried the Falcons at their own 14, but the Falcons advanced, mostly on their running game. Guardado got a stop after a one-yard run, then Henderson got a stop for a third down and four yards.
A pass made it first down at the 28. An incomplete pass and a run got the Falcons another first down, this one at the 38. The Falcons ran across midfield to the Comets' 38, and two carries later had a first down and goal at the nine. Anderson got a stop, then the Comets' defense made two more stops for fourth down at the 13.
The Falcons threw an incomplete pass. Garcia was on coverage for the Comets, and the Falcons turned it over on downs.
Pinned at their own 13, the Comets went three-and-out, punting on fourth down at the 17. Guardado's 78-yard punt was downed at the WBND five-yard line.
"You've got to give some credit to the West Burlington kids," Slife said. "They battled. They didn't have one of their better players. They came out and played well. Our backs were against the wall in the first half. Then to flip the field position like that (with Guardado's punt) is just huge."
The Falcons fumbled the ball on their first play, and Henderson recovered it for the Comets. On first and goal at the nine, Anderson ran for a touchdown. Fierro's PAT kick was good for a 34-14 West Liberty lead with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
Anderson ran for a nice gain for second down and three, then he ran for a first down at the 45. Palma ran for a big gain and a first down at the Falcons 16. Becker danced into the end zone on a keeper. Fierro's PAT kick was good, and the Comets took a 41-14 lead with 11:10 left in the game.
Later, Anderson returned a punt to the 33. Palma carried for a first down at the 42, then Koenig ran in for a touchdown. Fierro's PAT was good, and with 5:43 on the clock, West Liberty had a 48-14 lead.
A holding call on the Falcons after the kickoff made it first down and 20. It was three-and-out.
Koenig ran down the Falcons' punt at the 32 with 3:06 to go. The Comets ate up the clock and ended the game with a 48-14 win.
There are just two games remaining in the regular season, at Monticello Oct. 18 and against Mid-Prairie at home Oct. 25.
“We've locked up the three-seed now," Slife said. "We've been that the last two years, so hopefully we can improve on that. We've got a tall task in front of us.”