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|10/30/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
Turnovers mar Rebels' season finale with Panthers
|Northeast junior Mitch Moehr looks upfield during the first quarter of the Rebels’ game with Monticello, Friday night. Moehr had seven catches during the game for 90 yards and a touchdown, while also leading the Rebel defense with eight tackles, including seven solo stops.|
By Ross Eberhart
If the first offensive play of the game did not make it clear, the second one certainly did - there was going to be nothing normal about the Northeast football team's season finale with Monticello.
The Rebels received the ball first in the game and a good kick return allowed them to set up shop on their own 35-yard line.
Northeast's drive, though, lasted a single play as a Will Hasken pass was deflected into the air and intercepted by Monticello.
Fortunately for Northeast, the Panthers' first time with the ball was just as disastrous. Running back Greg Kraus could not fully bring in a handoff by quarterback Cody Jamison and the ball fell to the turf where it was recovered by Rebel junior defensive end Blake Dierks.
The back-to-back plays proved to be a microcosm of an ugly first half that saw the two teams combine for 10 turnovers.
The final two quarters did not turn out much better for the Rebels, who committed nine turnovers in all in a 43-13 setback.
"Turnovers just killed us," Northeast head coach Jerad Block said. "We could not protect the ball. Monticello has been capitalizing on big plays all year and our game was no exception."
The Rebels' second possession after the Monticello fumble proved to be more productive.
Hasken picked up big yards with an option run on first down, while two-straight passes to Tevin Stoecker pushed Northeast even deeper into Panther territory.
It looked like the Rebels would even get on the board first when Hasken hooked up with an open Mitch Moehr in the middle of the field.
Moehr sprinted to the goal line and tried to leap through a Monticello defender. The ball was knocked free on Moehr's way to the ground, but the Rebels argued that the ball had already crossed the plain for a touchdown.
The officials, though, did not agree and with Monticello recovering the loose ball in the end zone, a touchback was called.
The Rebel defense came up big after the turnover and forced a Panther three-and-out to get the ball right back.
A bad punt had Northeast starting its next drive already in Monticello territory, but this possession also ended in a turnover.
And this time the result was a touchdown as Jamison picked off a swing pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, but it was 6-0.
Northeast answered by marching right back onto the Panthers' side of the field. Stoecker had a pair of first down catches to help keep the Rebels moving, while Moehr had one of his own.
The drive, though, came to an unceremonious end as three runs went nowhere and a fourth down pass from Hasken landed just out of reach of Nick Wall in the end zone.
The Panthers came back with a pair of first downs on their next drive, but they were eventually forced to punt the ball away.
The resulting Northeast drive lasted just two plays as a fumble gave the ball back to Monticello near midfield.
Not to be outdone, the Panthers quickly gave the ball back as Hasken intercepted a Jamison pass and returned it all the way inside the Monticello 40.
Unfortunately, the turnovers kept coming. This time Monticello senior Tanner Felton intercepted a Rebel pass on the second play of Northeast's new drive.
Just like Jamison, Felton returned the ball all the way back for a touchdown - 70 yards in all - to make it 13-0.
A penalty on the first play of Northeast's ensuing drive put the Rebels behind the eight ball right away and ultimately the home team was forced to punt the ball away.
Monticello was also called for a penalty to start its drive and the Panthers faced a third-and-long.
Things looked even better for the Rebels when Jamison dropped the shotgun snap, forcing the Monticello quarterback to give up the called play.
Even their opponent's fumbles ended up biting the Rebels, as Jamison's plan B was a 42-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good and it was now 20-0.
With their backs now against the wall, the Rebels answered the latest Monticello touchdown with their own scoring drive.
The Northeast march had a little bit of everything.
And that included another interception returned for touchdown. This one, though, was wiped away when a Monticello defender hit Hasken in the helmet before the throw.
The penalty did not give Northeast a first, though, and a third down incompletion brought out the punting unit.
The Rebels had no intention of punting. Instead, they turned to their bag of tricks for a fake punt. Hasken pitched the ball to Stoecker, who tossed a first down pass to Gabe Empen.
Six plays later, the Rebels were in the end zone as Hasken threw an out route to Wall. The junior receiver did the rest, breaking a tackle attempt and strolling into the end zone for a 27-yard gain. Stoecker added the extra point and it was 20-7 Rebels.
"Our offense was doing some good things," Block said. "Coach (Travis) Eversmeyer had a great gameplan and we moved the ball great against a good defense we just didn't have the points to show for it."
The momentum stayed with the Rebels as Monticello coughed the ball up again after just a single play of its next drive.
Unfortunately, the turnover bug bit Northeast as well with Monticello picking off another pass.
A pair of first downs moved the Panthers into Rebel territory, but the Northeast defense held firm and Monticello was forced to try a field goal.
The plan, though, backfired as Stoecker burst through from the outside to get a hand on the kick causing it to come up short.
Amazingly, Monticello got another chance, thanks to the Rebels' seventh turnover of the game, which came on the first play of Northeast's ensuing drive.
This time, Peyton Paddock's attempt was true and the Panthers brought a 23-7 lead into the half.
It proved to be the third quarter when Monticello, and more specifically - Jamison, took control of the game.
The Panther quarterback scored three rushing touchdowns in the first nine minutes of the period and suddenly it was 43-7.
"Defensively, we played a great first half, but we got complacent in the second half," Block said. "We played on our heels too much and Monticello took advantage of that."
The Rebels, though, had one final touchdown drive in them.
Moehr and Wall both notched first down catches and the former player got free in the middle of the field again later in the drive. Hasken made a perfect pass and Moehr ran into the end zone for a 20-yard score. The extra point attempt went awry and Monticello ran out the clock on a 30-point victory.
It turned out to be a record-setting night for Hasken, who broke the team's attempt mark.
The sophomore, who already holds the mark for most completions, attempted 38 passes Friday to top the previous record of 37 set a year before by Matt Lorenzen.
Hasken completed 21 of them for a career-best 250 yards and the two touchdowns.
Stoecker caught a team-best eight of the passes for 96 yards with Moehr adding seven grabs for 90 yards and a touchdown. Wall added 55 yards and a score of his own.
Hasken also picked up a team-best 49 yards on the ground with Stoecker adding 29 and Nick Bailey 25.
Moehr led the team with eight tackles as well - including seven solo - while Charlie Bormann had seven tackles and Ethan Krogman and Stoecker six for the Rebels, who finished the season 1-8.
"It was tough to send the seniors out on a game like that," Block said. "We were successful at moving the ball, but couldn't get them a victory on their home field to end their careers."