10-25-2018 Tri-City Area Sports

View from the Press Box

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma wins slugfest against rival Watervliet 52-36; Win ends playoff drought for Comets

The Coloma Comets came into the final Friday of the regular season needing a win to have any chance of making the football playoffs for the first time since 2008, and the Watervliet Panthers came in wanting nothing more than to make sure that drought didn’t end at their expense.

RECOVERY COMPLETE… With a 5-4 record and enough playoff points to make the berth, the Comets of Coloma are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 after rolling over rival Watervliet 52-36 Friday night. Here, Coloma quarterback Zach Goodline recovered a Comet fumble in the second half of play. Coloma’s opponent in pre-district competition will be Kalamazoo United who is undefeated at 9-0. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The game started with the Panthers setting the Comets back on their heels, as they took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for an opening touchdown capped off by sophomore quarterback Don Smith punching it in from two yards out. The Panthers stuck to a running attack as the Comets defense was set up to stop the normally potent Watervliet passing attack.

The Comets quickly answered back with a touchdown march of their own in a little more than two minutes, and Caleb Ellis took it the final four yards to pay dirt. After tacking on the 2-point conversion the score was knotted back up at 8-8.

Watervliet’s second series brought more of the same, as QB Smith frequently, as he would all night long, called his own number, and the Panthers easily cruised down the field ending with a 10-yard Smith touchdown. The sophomore quarterback would end the night with over 200 yards rushing on 34 carries, with 161 of those yards coming in the first quarter, along with scoring three touchdowns for the game.

However, not to be outdone, Senior Zach Goodline soon came back with a 51-yard touchdown scamper of his own, tagged on the 2-pointer and the game was again tied at 16.

Each team would score once more in the second quarter, and the teams went to the locker room at half time with the score tied at 22-22.

Both teams pretty much kept the ball on the ground as once again rain showers and a pretty stiff wind made throwing the ball a risky proposition.

Coloma started the second half receiving the football, and scored quickly, as Goodline put the Comets on the scoreboard once again on a 40-yard touchdown run. Zack Lake tacked on the 2-point conversion, and the Comets were ahead in the game for the first time, and they would never relinquish the lead. Watervliet scored a couple of minutes later on another Smith touchdown, but on the 2-pointer Kris Lenox tried to go wide, but he was stopped short of the goal line and the Comets led 30-28.

Soon after Watervliet kicked deep for the first time of the night, and with the Comets set up on their own 20-yard line Goodline sprinted down the field shook off a couple of tacklers and went 80 yards for a score that would put them up by 10 points, and that’s the way the third quarter would end.

The play of the game, and the play that put the game away for the Comets, came in the fourth quarter, when, with 8:28 remaining, and the Comets leading 44-28, sophomore defensive lineman James Clay scooped up a fumble at the Watervliet 40-yard line and with an escort of Comets rumbled toward the end zone. He was hit by a couple of would be tacklers, but