ANAMOSA — It’s not how you start the game, but how you finish.
In some cases, that means stepping in to a new position to help carry your team to victory. Lake Stahlberg did just that, moving from right guard to running back to help lead Monticello to a wild 38-34 win over Anamosa.
“I’ve been practicing hard,” said Stahlberg, who finished with 74 yards on the ground. “It wasn’t that bad, but I’m a little tired.”
The Panthers took possession of the Cowbell Cup for the first time in three years, scoring the final points in a game that saw eight lead changes.
“It was back and forth all game,” Panthers quarterback Jacob Manternach said. “I’m just glad we could score at the end and come up with a stop.”
The Panthers just kept hanging around, despite several key injruies. Max Keleher did not play and the next man in was injured on the first play. That’s when Stahlberg got ready.
“We had a wide receiver that was going to come in, but I knew that I was going to come in eventually,” Stahlberg said.
The Raiders came out and looked to run away with the game. Michael Martensen dashed 88 yards on the opening drive for a touchdown. Two drives later, Logan Seeley cut sharply through the line to make the score 14-8.
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Monticello, however, had no plans to go quietly into the locker room. The Panthers put together a 55-yard drive on just five plays, with Manternach scoring the go-ahead touchdown as the half expired.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Monticello Coach Wes Wilson said. “It took us a little while to adjust to their game plan.”
In the end, Manternach was able to hit Avery Martensen on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining.
“That’s a big one for us,” said Wilson. “We’re excited to get the cup back, but this is just one.”