Missed opportunities spoil Rangely’s homecoming bid

Rangely’s Keane Raley and his Panther teammates warm up before Friday’s homecoming game against league opponent Hayden. Also pictured is No. 17, Kody Denny.

Rangely’s Keane Raley and his Panther teammates warm up before Friday’s homecoming game against league opponent Hayden. Also pictured is No. 17, Kody Denny.
Rangely’s Keane Raley and his Panther teammates warm up before Friday’s homecoming game against league opponent Hayden. Also pictured is No. 17, Kody Denny.
RANGELY I The way the game started, it looked like it would be the Panthers’ night. But it wasn’t to be.
Hoping to win its first homecoming game in several seasons, Rangely scored on one of its first drives of the opening quarter, with Cole Barlow running the ball in from 3 yards out.
However, that turned out to be all of the Panthers’ scoring. They missed the extra-point kick and ended up losing to league opponent Hayden, 7-6.
“That was a tough one,” said first-year coach Tim Galloway. “It was just one of those deals. Again, we didn’t finish. We’d have two or three big plays and move the ball, then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot. We’re not a third-and-15 team. It’s hard to make that up.
“We also fumbled three times, and lost two,” Galloway added. “That kinda killed us.”
The loss dropped Rangely’s record to 1-5.
Hayden scored its first and only touchdown in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Treyben Letlow. The Panthers held the Tigers’ tall running back to 50 yards on 17 carries — a 2.9 yard per carry average.
“We did a fairly good job, defensively,” Galloway said. “But toward the end of the game, we just couldn’t get ’em stopped.”
As indicated by the score, the two teams were evenly matched.
“I knew Hayden is a good team. I knew it was going to be a fight,” Galloway said. “But I think if we played them 10 times in a row, I think it would be tight every time we played.”
Rangely played without senior co-captain Adam Dahl, who sat out the game with an injured shoulder and may be done for the season.
“He has a torn labrum,” Galloway said of Dahl, who played strong safety as well as slotback and receiver. “If he has surgery on it, he may miss basketball and baseball both. I’m 99 percent sure he’s done for the rest of football season. It was an existing injury, but he got hit (in practice) just right.”
Another senior who is battling an injury is Jason Stults, who plays defensive back and slotback.
“He’s got a lot of heart,” Galloway said of Stults, who missed two games with a knee injury but returned against Hayden. “He should probably be sitting out, but it’s his senior year and he wants to keep going.”
Despite the homecoming loss, Galloway was pleased with his team’s grit.
“That was the first game they played that was Rangely Panther football,” said Galloway, who has been preaching the return of Panther Pride all season. “They were hungry. They were aggressive, the whole time. We didn’t quit. We did the things (Rangely) teams did in the past. Hopefully, we can build on that and keep goin’. I told the players, ‘You have three games left. What do you want your legacy to be?’”
But it doesn’t get any easier. Next up for Rangely is a road game at Meeker on Friday.
“It’s a big rivalry game,” Galloway said. “Everything is on the line for the Rio Blanco County championship. I’m sure our kids will be excited. We’re both coming off close games.
“I know they are a senior-laden team and a good team,” Galloway said of the 5-1 Cowboys. “But we’ll show up and see what we can do.”
The Rangely coach is hoping to restore “a good, healthy rivalry” with Meeker.
“It hasn’t been (like that) on the west end of the county for a while, but it used to be,” Galloway said. “When I first coached here, it was a bragging rights thing, and in talking to some of the old-timers, it used to be a real big rivalry. I’d like to bring that back.”
Galloway is hoping his team will have the same tough-minded attitude against Meeker that it showed against Hayden.
“They did a good job,” he said. “I was proud of ’em. We just need to finish. We just need to get that winning attitude. They played well enough to win.”