10-22-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma survives two weather delays, two Panther leads to win 24-16

The Coloma Comet homecoming activities which had already been “watered down” because of the limitations placed on all activities by the COVID-19 virus, finally ended much later than usual because of two weather delays during the homecoming football game. The Comets completed their second comeback of the game and defeated their closest rival Watervliet, by a score of 24-16.

Coloma homecoming activities, like most schools, had to be tapered down this year in an effort to keep the COVID virus from spreading, but the game kicked off as planned with the addition of Senior Night thrown in for good measure.

ISAIAH MAKES THE STOP… Panthers Don Smith (12) and Isaiah Yazel (54) chase down Comet running back Dylan Nelson in the second quarter of their game Friday night. Yazel eventually made the tackle after a short gain, but the Comets won the game 24-16. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)

The Comets fell behind 8-0 when Watervliet scored on their second drive in a 1-yard plunge by Don Smith. Smith led the Panthers in yards and carries, with 96 yards on 18 carries for the night. He then added the two point conversion. Coloma came right back with a score of their own as James Mathis capped the drive on an 8-yard scamper to pay dirt. The Comets then tacked on a Jacobie Bonds run for a two-point conversion, knotting the score at 8 at the end of the first quarter.

The first weather delay came during the second quarter, with Watervliet back on top 16-8, when lightning was sighted in the area sending the teams to the locker rooms and the fans to their vehicles. Following a delay of the required 30 minutes, the teams returned to the field and the Comets once again came back to tie the score at 16 as time ran out in the half. The touchdown came on a short 5-yard pass from Drew Goodline to his favorite receiver Cody Palgen and then tacked on the 2-pointer on a run Goodline took in himself. The Comets had numerous chances inside the ten yard line to score the TD, which finally came with just a few seconds left on the clock.

The second half began, with Coloma receiving the kick, and the Comets drove into Watervliet territory. With over 10 minutes to go still in the 3rd quarter, lightning was spotted once again and another delay, that lasted about 45 minutes, sent the players and fans scurrying for safety. The second half was also the wetter half of the night, as it rained steadily making the field and balls slick and forcing the teams to play the game a little closer to the vest. Both teams were able to move the ball effectively, for the most part on the ground, but miscues and penalties cost both teams and the 3rd quarter ended with neither team being able to put any more points on the board.

Coloma finally put together a drive with a little under seven minutes left in the game. Comet QB Goodline lofted a pass up over the Panther defense and Palgen hauled it in and jogged into the end zone with a 42-yard touchdown. Noah Schwanke added the 2-point conversion on an end around, and the Comets led 24-16. The Panthers were not ready to roll over just yet, and drove the ball down deep into Coloma territory. The Comet defense however, after doing a lot of bending on that last drive, finally stepped up and would not break. With under a minute to play in the game Smith, the Panther running back, tried his hand at throwing the ball. With a desperation toss on 4th and 8 from the 15-yard line, Coloma’s Palgen intercepted the ball in the end zone, game over.

It was a great game and back and forth struggle, and definitely worthy of a rivalry game that has been going on for 110 years, minus a couple. Coloma had a very balanced offense, with 321 total yards; 173 came through the air, while they ran for 148 yards.

James Mathis had his second consecutive outstanding game running the football, rushing an incredible 34 times for 141 yards and one touchdown. With some coming on direct snaps, all but a couple carries were right into the te