Comet season ended by Cougars

Mark and Cindy Becker · Wednesday, November 1, 2017
On Friday, Oct. 27, one the coldest evenings in fall, the West Liberty Comets football team traveled to Cascade to take on the second ranked Cougars in a 2A First Round Playoff game.

In the end, the Cougars came out victorious 49-21, haulting the Comets first advance into the post season for several years.

“We were a little surprised,” said Coach Jason Iske. “We knew they were really good up front, but we have played good defenses before.”

However, the Comets finished the season with a 6-4 record. This was their first playoff appearance since 2013 and their first back to back winning seasons since 2010-2011.

Despite a season opening loss to West Branch, in the following weeks the Comets defeated Highland, Mid-Prairie, Northeast and Anamosa.

They also defeated Williamsburg and Camanche, with the former being the most thrilling win of the season as the Comets toppled a number one ranked opponent.

The success earned them a right go into the post season, where they came up against an undefeated Cascade Cougars in the first round.

“We were able to have success getting outside and that helped our inside run some,” said Coach Iske.

“Ultimately, not being able to work our passing game as much due to the weather, might have been the biggest hamper to our run game,” he added.

Coach Iske also commented about their defensive game plan.

“We knew we wanted to stop their run game first, especially their inside power game. We stacked the box and played man-to-man in order to do this, but we weren’t able to stop them at what they do best,” he said.

Even though game time temperature was in the low 30’s, both teams came out ready to play, with each team scoring early.

Cascade scored first at the 8:25 mark of the first quarter on a rushing touchdown, but the Comets countered just over 4 minutes later on a 4 yard Joe Kelly run, assisted by a big push by the offensive line to knot the score at 7-7.

Cascade would go up by a score after both teams exchanged punts, when the Cougars scored on a second and goal from the 2 yard line early in the second quarter to go up 14-7.

They then were able to capitalize on a West Liberty lost fumble on their next possession and score on a 64 yard run by Colby Holmes to give them a two score advantage at 21-7.

West Liberty again fought back after a failed onside kick attempt was recovered by the Comets. The offense scored quickly on a 53 run by Tanner Iske on a reverse to pull the Comets to within a touchdown at 21-14.

Cascade would be able to penetrate the West Liberty defense for one more score before halftime on a rushing touchdown by the efficient Cougar offense to put the Comets down at halftime 28-14.

Each team would push the ball across the goal line in the third quarter. Cascade would score on a quarterback keeper late in the quarter to put the Cougars up 35-14.

The never say die Comets struck again with another big play and score on a 79 yard pass play from Seth Feldman to Iske, with a nice over the shoulder catch down the West Liberty sideline. At the end of the third quarter Cascade led 35-21.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Cougars would extend their lead to 42-21, with a touchdown pass after given good field position after they recovered a West Liberty onside kick attempt.

Cascade would seal the victory with one last score midway through the fourth quarter to complete the scoring and give the undefeated Cougars the win.

WL -   7   7   7   0   21

C    -   7  21  7  14  49

1st Q - Joe Kelly 4 yd run (Bryce Esmoil PAT good)

2nd Q - Tanner Iske 53 yd run (Esmoil PAT good)

3rd Q - Seth Feldman 79 yd pass to Iske (Esmoil PAT good)

Passing

Seth Feldman - 7-18-124; 1 TD

Rushing

Joe Kelly - 21-116; 1 TD

Tanner Iske - 3-61; 1 TD

Seth Feldman - 14-23

Michael Hartman - 2-8

Receiving

Justin Dengler - 3-33

Tanner Iske - 2-76; 1 TD

Jackson Gingerich - 1-9

Joe Kelly - 1-6
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