Down goes #1

Norv and Mary Coblentz · Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The West Liberty football team stunned top-ranked and previously undefeated 2A Williamsburg on Friday, Oct. 6 with a 14-9 win over the Raiders.

The win puts the Comets in second place in Class 2A district 5, tied with the Raiders. The Comets are now 4-1 in the district.

Those district wins came against Mid-Prairie, Northeast, Anamosa and Williamsburg, while the one loss was against Mediapolis in a close 20-21 game.

"We kind of knew (that whoever) would have the big plays was going to win," West Liberty Head Coach Jason Iske said of last Friday’s game.

The Comets had the big plays with two 80-plus yard touchdowns.

The first came in the first quarter when Seth Feldman handed off the football at the 19 yard line to Tanner Iske, who ran for 80 yards for a touchdown.

Quarterback Feldman got a touchdown of his own after a fake handoff. He ended up running the ball a good 80 plus yards for a touchdown with six minutes left in the half.

“I knew they were good up front,” said Williamsburg Head Coach Curt Ritchie said. “They have very good offensive and defensive alinement. They're a little bit older and more mature.”

“I knew they'd give us some trouble up front,” he added. “We kind of got beat at our own game. We got beat up front and we gave up big plays. We're used to making big plays."

Williamsburg had a safety in the second quarter and a touchdown with PAT kick in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Comets or their defense.

Williamsburg fell out of the rankings after the loss. However, West Liberty remains unranked this week as well.

It would seem the Comets now have good momentum. They’re going to need it too going up against the Mt. Vernon Mustangs on Friday, Oct. 13, at home at 7:30 p.m.

The Mustangs, also members of Class 2A district 5, have gone undefeated in the district sitting on a record of 5-0. This may be the Comets toughest opponent yet.

“I think we'll be just as confident as we were this week,” said Coach Iske. “I don't think we'll get too high off of this. (It was a) tremendous effort by our defensive players. Our front four did a great job.”

“Coy Ruess and Jackson Gingerich are the heart and soul of our defense,” he added. “Obviously their offense (Williamsburg's) is amazing, so we wanted to keep it out of their hands as much as possible. Lucky for us, we popped a couple.”

Overall the Comets record is five wins and two losses. This Friday’s match is their second to last regular game of the season and last game at home.

First Half

The Comets won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Bryce Esmoil kicked off to begin the game. Bryce Esmoil kicked off. The ball was caught at the five-yard line and returned, but there was a fumble, and Coy Ruess recovered the ball for the Comets.

The Comets started with a first down at the 27. Seth Feldman handed the ball off to Joe Kelly who gained four yards. Feldman ran the ball and got another. Another carry was short, and an incomplete pass brought up fourth down. The Comets had to punt.

The Raiders began their drive at the 26. They were called for holding bringing up second and long. Two plays later, and the Raiders punted on fourth and eight. The Raiders downed the punt at the 38.

Feldman handed the ball off to Michael Harman who was tackled for a loss. Joe Kelly got the handoff next and made it to the 41. An incomplete pass brought up fourth and seven, and Esmoil punted.

The punt rolled to the 33 and was downed by Eli Gingerich. The Raiders ran with the ball, and Daufeldt got the stop for no gain. Another handoff and run was stopped by Jackson Gingerich. A.J. Lenz stopped the next run.

The Raiders got a first down, then Williamsburg slipped at the 40 under pressure from Daufeldt. J. Gingerich got the stop to bring up third and 13. T. Iske broke up a pass play, and the Raiders punted. The punt rolled to the 19.

Feldman handed off the ball to T. Iske who found a hole and ran 80 yards for a touchdown. Esmoil's PAT kick was good, and the Comets had a 7-0 lead with 4:35 left in the first quarter.

Esmoil kicked off. The kickoff was caught at the six and returned to the 22 with Kelly getting the tackle.

It was three and out for the Raiders. Their punt rolled to the 32.

Runs by Kelly and Feldman brought third down and two. Kelly ran for no gain. With 23 seconds left in the first quarter, the Comets took a time out.

Esmoil's punt was picked up at the 20, and Feldman and Justis Dengler made the tackle. The Raiders handed off the ball, and Daufeldt got the tackle as the first quarter ended.

The Raiders got another first down at the 30 with J. Gingerich getting the tackle. Daufeldt and Polman got a tackle for loss to bring up third down and 11. The Raiders’ punt rolled to the 21.

It was three-and-out for the Comets, and Esmoil’s punt was downed at the 45. The Raiders fumbled the ball forward for a one-yard gain. Daufeldt made the stop. Dengler got the next tackle, but the Raiders got a first down at the 20.

The Raiders ran for no gain with J. Gingerich getting the tackle. An incomplete pass with coverage by Nathan Schemmel and another incomplete pass with Jonathan Kelley on coverage forced the ball over on downs to the Comets with 7:53 left in the half.

Feldman handed off to Kelly twice to bring up third down and nine. Feldman ran the ball in for a touchdown. Esmoil’s PAT kick was good. With six minutes left in the first half, the Comets had a 14-0 lead.

Esmoil’s kickoff was picked up a the 25 and returned to the 44. It was three-and-out for the Raiders. Their punt went out of bounds at the seven.

The Raiders got on the scoreboard when the ball was fumbled in the end zone for a 14-2 score. Esmoil kicked off, and it went out of bounds near midfield. The Raiders didn’t get far on their possession, but the clock wound down to 3:26.

The Comets didn’t manage to score, but they ate up more clock. The Comets turned the ball over on downs with 2.3 seconds left in the first half. Halftime score was 14-2, Comets.

Second Half

Williamsburg kicked off to start the second half. The Comets worked for four first downs. Then, on fourth down and 11, The Comets tried for a field goal. With the wind, the effort was no good. The Comets turned the ball over on downs with less than five minutes left in the third quarter.

The Raiders ran the ball with stops by J. Gingrich, Ruess, T. Iske, and Kelley. An offsides penalty on the Comets gave the Raiders a first down.

Esmoil and Daufeldt got aa sack, a holding call on the Raiders, and a big stop by Dengler and Lenz brought up fourth and three.

The Raiders ran for a first down, but a big stop by Daufeldt, a keeper for little gain, a holding call on the Raiders, and an incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs to the Comets.

The Comets made it to the 40 for second and 10 just after the fourth quarter started. Kelly ran for a first down, then Feldman’s run made it third and one at the 39.

On fourth down and four, the Comets punted. The ball was downed at the eight-yard line with 9:11 left in the game.

The Raiders had a big run. Scheme got the tackle at the 40 for a 32-yard gain for the Raiders. The Raiders handed the ball off, and Lenz got the tackle.

On second and five, Ruess and J. Gingrich got a stop with less than nine minutes left, but the Raiders quarterback ran for a first down at the West Liberty 46.

A three-yard run was stopped by Ruess, then the Raiders found a big hole. Dangler finally stopped the runner at the 12-yard line. A couple of plays later, and the Raiders scored their first and only touchdown of the game. The PAT kick was good for a 14-9 score with 5:50 left in the game.

The Williamsburg kickoff went out of bounds at the nine-yard line.

It was three-and-out for the Comets. Esmoil punted on fourth and 20, and the Raiders signaled for a fair catch at the 37.

Williamsburg had 4:09 to score, but the West Liberty defense was up to the challenge. The Raiders’ first play of the drive got them a first down on the West Liberty 43.

T. Iske got the stop. A couple of running plays with little gain, then the Raiders ran a keeper and go a first down at the 30. Kelly got a tackle for a short loss, then a handoff and a measure by the officials made it first and 10 at the 20. Two more running plays brought up third and four.

Williamsburg took a time out with 1:08 left in the game. The West Liberty defense kept pounding away. On fourth and one with less than a minute on the clock and the Raiders on the 11-yard line.

Daufeldt and Dengler got a huge tackle, and the Raiders turned the ball over on downs. The Comets ran the clock down and took the 14-9 win.

West Liberty stats: Passing: Seth Feldman 4/10, 35 yards. Rushing: Feldman 14/108 yards, 1 TD; Eli Gingerich 1/11 yards; Michael Hartman 1/-3 yards; Tanner Iske 5/76 yards, 1 TD; Joe Kelly 14/46 yards; A.J. Lenz 1/-2 yards. Receiving: Justis Dengler 2/22 yards; Jackson Gingerich 2/13 yards. Scoring: Bryce Esmoil 2 points; Feldman 6 points; T. Iske 6 poings. Tackles: Austin Beaver 1 solo; Spencer Daufeldt 10 solo, 4 assists, 2 solo TFL, 2 assists TFL, 1 sack assist; Justis Dengler 5 solo, 1 assist; Esmoil 3 solo, 2 tackles, 1 solo TFL, 1 assist TFL; Esmoil 3 solo, 2 assists, 1 TFL, 1 assist TFL, 1 sack assist; Feldman 1 solo; J. Gingerich 5 solo, 4 assists, 1 solo TFL; T. Iske 4 solo, 1 assist; Jonathan Kelley 1 assist; Joe Kelly 7 solo, 2 assists, 1 solo TFL; A.J. Lenz 5 solo, 2 TFL, 1 TFL assist; Brent Meyers 1 solo; Cobain Polman 3 solo, 2 TFL, 2 solo TFL, 1 solo sack; Coy Ruess 4 solo, 4 assists. Fumble recoveries: Ruess 1. PAT kicking: Esmoil 2/2. Kickoffs 3/145 yards. Punting: Esmoil 5/179 yards; Kickoff returns: Lenz 1/11 yards.
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