Comets can’t catch Cadets; fall 34-27 in season-opener
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — In their season- and home-opener against district foe Crestwood, the Charles City Comets were able to activate the highlight reel on numerous occasions.
But even though they were able to pull off numerous big plays, several of which put them right back into the game, the Comets were also plagued with numerous penalties and turnovers and couldn’t rally back to catch the Cadets, who won 34-27 on Friday.
Crestwood got a big game out of senior running back Reece Wilson, who rushed for 161 yards on 26 carries — four of which he took into the end zone.
Cadet quarterback Carter Henry threw for 187 yards through the air, including a 38-yard touchdown pass to Treyton Burnikel, and rushed for 78 yards.
The Comets drew first blood with 7:39 left in the first quarter.
After Charles City junior defensive lineman DJ DeBoest stuffed Wilson short on a fourth-and-one snap, Comet quarterback Marcus Cranshaw connected with sophomore wide receiver Ian Collins on a 50-yard catch-and-run TD.
The Cadets responded with 20 unanswered points, twice taking advantage of shortened fields due to turnovers, with Wilson scoring on runs of 1, 2 and 28 yards to help put Crestwood up 20-7 with 7:08 left in the half.
It looked as if the Cadets were going to run away with it as they got another turnover on the Charles City side of the field. But the Comet defense held strong, helping the team go into halftime with a little momentum on their side.
Comet junior Jeremiah Chapman was able to break several tackles before diving across the goal line to cap a 12-yard TD run with 4:28 left in the half.
On the next Comet possession, Charles City set up to punt it away. Instead, Cranshaw took the snap from the upback position and connected with Chapman on a 25-yard pass play to keep the drive alive.
One play later, Cranshaw found Collins along the sidelines for a 26-yard gain, putting the Comets inside the 5-yard line. After a penalty pushed Charles City back, Cranshaw was able to scramble to daylight on way to scoring from 8 yards out.
With the subsequent botched PAT, the Comets pulled within 1 (20-19) with 20 seconds left.
The Henry to Burnikel connection and Wilson plunging in from 1 yard out for his fourth TD of the game, the Cadet were leading 34-19 with 5:09 left in regulation.
Collins caught his second TD of the night — this one from 26 yards out from Alex Staudt — then caught a conversion pass from Staudt, making the score 34-27 with 34 seconds left in regulation.
When Cadet senior Garret Ollendieck successfully secured the subsequent onside kick, it sealed the victory for the Cadets.
In addition to having more than 100 yards receiving, Collins also connected with Staudt on a 32-yard halfback pass play.
Staudt also intercepted Henry on a deflected pass in the first quarter right after the Cadets recovered a fumble on Charles City’s 20-yard line.
Aside from the fake punts and halfback passes, the Comets got a good chunk of their offensive yardage between the tackles with halfback/fullback Trever Heitz carrying the ball. Heitz, who became the first Comet sophomore to rush for 1,000 yards last season, had more than 90 yards against the Cadets.
The Comets will travel to New Hampton on Friday (Sept. 6).
CRESTWOOD 34, CHARLES CITY 27
Scoring By Quarters
CRESTWOOD 8 12 7 7 — 34
CHARLES CITY 7 12 0 8 — 27
CC — Ian Collins 50-yard pass from Marcus Cranshaw (Kaleb Byers kick) 7-0, 7:39 1st
C — Reece Wilson 1-yard run (Wilson run) 8-7, 4:24 1st
C — Wilson 2-yard run (Run failed) 14-7, 10:18 2nd
C — Wilson 28-yard run (Kick failed) 20-7, 7:09 2nd
CC — Jeremiah Chapman 12-yard run (Kick failed) 20-13, 4:28 2nd
CC — Cranshaw 8-yard run (Kick failed) 20-19, :20 2nd
C — Treyton Burnikel 39-yard pass from Carter Henry (Henry kick) 27-19, 7:44 3rd
C — Wilson 1-yard run (Henry kick) 34-19, 5:09 4th
CC — Collins 26-yard pass from Alec Staudt (Collins pass from Staudt) 34-27, :34 4th