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Comets defeat Huskies, 33-16, to open district play

Comets defeat Huskies, 33-16, to open district play
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City sophomore Chase Crooks (No. 65) takes advantage of a rare opportunity to run with the ball after scooping up a blocked punt during the Comets’ 33-16 away victory over Oelwein on Friday. The play helped the Comets tie the score after the Huskies took an early lead. Charles City would go on to score 27 unanswered points while evening its overall record at 2-2 and winning its first Class 3A-District 3 game of the season.

By John Burbridge

OELWEIN — There is such a fine line between a touchdown … and a touchback.

Late in the third quarter of Charles City’s Class 3A-District 3 game against hosting Oelwein on Friday, Comet junior Trever Heitz appeared to have crossed that line — meaning the goal line — after breaking to the outside while breaking several tackles on the way, and diving over the pylon to cap what appeared to be a 24-yard TD run.

It would have given the Comets a three-possession lead going into the fourth quarter. But in a scenario/ruling that seems to be more common in football these days, 6 points were not only taken away from Charles City, but so was the possession.

The official trailing the play ruled that not only didn’t Heitz cross the plane of the goal line with the ball, but was in the process of losing possession of it before landing out of bounds adjacent to the end zone.

Thus, the play was ruled touchback as the Comets’ sideline and fans … well … sort of begged to differ.

The Huskies, down 27-16, looked poised to seize momentum while taking advantage of their good fortune as they drove the length of the field and got inside Charles City’s 10-yard line. But Oelwein was unable to convert a fourth-and-four snap, halting the drive.

Several plays later, Comet junior Jeremiah Chapman broke free for a 97-yard touchdown run — one of the longest in school history (maybe the longest pending verification) which capped the scoring in a 33-16 final.

Charles City improved to 2-2 overall while winning its first district game of the season. Oelwein fell to 2-2 and 0-1.

Chapman had 126 yards on just four rushing attempts. He also recovered a fumble on defense and returned it 45 yards to set up a scoring drive that put Charles City ahead for good early in the second quarter.

Though he had a touchdown taken away from him, Heitz had 100 yards on 19 carries.

Comet quarterback Alec Staudt had touchdown runs of 9 and 16 yards, and completed a 19-yard TD pass to Ian Collins.

Collins also had a 20-yard TD run, but like Heitz, also had a TD taken away from him after he improvised on a halfback pass play gone wrong and reversed the field several times on a 65-yard run that covered about 165 yards only to have it all nullified due to a block in the back.

The Huskies struck early when a nice play-action fake by quarterback Jacob King helped Nick Dittmer sneak behind the Comets’ secondary for a 52-yard score.

Charles City responded during the ensuing possession by driving all the way to the Oelwein 3, but a penalty and several plays going for negative yardage pushed the Comets back as they eventually turned over the ball on downs.

But when the Comets’ defense forced Oelwein to punt after three plays, Charles City senior Mitz Concepcion managed to block the punt before sophomore Chase Crooks scooped the ball up and returned it inside Oelwein’s 10-yard line.

Staudt scored on the next play which, when including Heitz’s PAT run, tied the game at 8-8.

That was the start of 27 unanswered points from the Comets.

Oelwein eventually stopped the run with Gage Voshell’s 9-yard TD run late in the third quarter. But beforehand, Charles City began the half with a scoring drive that took more than five minutes off the clock.

Both of Collins’s TDs came on fourth-and-long snaps.

Comet sophomore Cael Boelen led the defense with three solo tackles for losses, including a quarterback sack.

Junior Caden Collins had eight total tackles for the Comets.

Comet sophomore Mario Hoefer had the game’s lone interception.

Though the Comets had a couple of touchdowns taken away from them, they didn’t give anything away against the Huskies. For the first time all season, Charles City didn’t have a turnover.

The Comets will host Waterloo East (1-3) next Friday (Sept. 27) for Charles City’s Homecoming.

Scoring By Quarters

CHARLES CITY 8 12 7 6 — 33
OELWEIN 8 0 8 0 — 16
Scoring Summary
O — Nick Dittmer 52-yard pass from Jacob King (Cameren Palmer run) 8-0, 10:11 1st
CC — Alec Staudt 9-yard run (Trever Heitz run) 8-8, 4:27 1st
CC — Ian Collins 21-yard pass from Staudt (Pass failed) 14-8, 11:10 2nd
CC — Collins 19-yard run (Pass failed) 20-8, 4:58 2nd
CC — Staudt 16-yard run (Kaleb Byers kick) 27-8, 6:59 3rd
O — Gage Voshell 9-yard run (Andrew Rote run) 27-16 2:16 3rd
CC — Jeremiah Chapman 97-yard run (Pass failed) 33-16, 3:45 4th