Wyoming Pushes Until the End, but Falls to 0-2

2015 Wyoming Wolves
2015 Wyoming Wolves

mike_dewittAfter raining all morning – and most of the afternoon – the sun finally broke a few hours before game time and made for a beautiful night to usher in Comstock Park’s home opener against Wyoming.

The Panthers notched a win in week one after beating Cedar Springs in an offensive shootout 48-38 at the Gridiron Classic hosted at Grand Valley State University. Quarterback Pat Naughton finished that game with 330 yards and 3 touchdowns.

First year Wyoming Head Coach Sam Becker had his home opener spoiled by Byron Center in week one 44-26, but the Wolves showed flashes in their first game, especially from Michael Williams. Williams ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown and also scored on a 90-yard kickoff return.

When these two met on Thursday night at Comstock Park High School, Williams showed his spark while Naughton – and the Panther passing game – stayed relatively quiet.

On Comstock Park’s opening possession, Naughton orchestrated a brilliant drive into the red zone. Led by a handful of jet sweeps from Kiemon Cater, the Panther’s caught the Wyoming defense off-guard. Deep in Wyoming territory, Naughton was popped on a designated quarterback plunge and fumbled the ball. The fumble was recovered by the Wolves.

After a quick Wyoming 3-and-out, Comstock Park quickly took the ball down the field and scored on a 1-yard jet sweep from Keiman Carter to go up 7-0 with 3:49 left in the first quarter.

Michael Williams returns a kickoff in Week 1 against Byron Center
Michael Williams returns a kickoff in Week 1 against Byron Center

Not even a minute and a half later, Michael Williams took a hand-off off the left tackle 69-yards to the house. A play action pass to Edwin Martinez Diaz on the 2-point conversion gave Wyoming the 8-7 lead.

Early in the second quarter, after a Panther three-and-out and with Wyoming moving the ball consistently, Comstock Park linebacker Brett Taylor made momentum swinging play. He stood up the ball carrier during a routine 5-yard dive behind the right guard and ripped the ball away. 55 yards later, Taylor was in the end zone and gave the Panthers a 14-8 lead.

Comstock Park would tack on a 24-yard Nik Nava field goal with 20 seconds left in the half to extend the lead to nine.

With only 20 second left before half, the Wyoming offense went to work from their own 38-yard line. After a 12-yard Justin Seitz run, quarterback Brendan Berg eyed Michael Williams screaming down the right sideline. The ball was pushed a little far, but Williams extended his full body and pulled it in at the Panther 12-yard line. With 5 second left, and no timeouts, the Wolves handed it to Williams off the left tackle once again, Williams made two defenders miss and dove towards the pylon for a touchdown with no time remaining. The ensuing 2-point conversation brought the score to 17-16 going into halftime.

The third quarter finally saw Monterio Smith – 265 total yards and 4 TDs in week one – get some touches for the Panthers. On a third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Coach Chapman called a timeout and drew up a drag route to get Smith open in the left corner of the end zone. The play worked to perfection as Naughton hit Smith on the 4-yard pass to give Comstock Park a 23-16 lead with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Comstock Park would fail to convert the PAT as the Wolves attacked relentlessly and were able to block the attempt.

Quarterback Brenden Berg and Coach Sam Becker
Quarterback Brenden Berg and Coach Sam Becker

Wyoming would answer right back with a touchdown of their own behind the running of Justin Seitz. The senior running back picked up chunks of 7-yards at a time and finished off the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with 11:53 left in the game.

The Wolves decided to try for two to take the lead, but would come up short to find themselves down 23-22 early in the fourth quarter.

Senior quarterback Pat Naughton took over in the fourth quarter with consistent yardage on designated runs. Late in the fourth quarter, Naughton punched in a touchdown run from 4-yards out to give the Panthers a 30-22 lead

With one final opportunity to tie things up, the Wolves sputtered on fourth down and gave the ball back to the Panthers. Comstock Park would finish off the game in the victory formation and win their home opener by a final of 30-22.