RANGELY | The Rangely Panthers varsity and junior varsity teams took to the road to take on the Del Norte Tigers on Del Norte’s new synthetic football field. The Panthers may have succumbed to “bus lag” as the Tigers jumped out to 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The Panthers first drive was halted to a holding penalty and a snap infraction that had the Panthers punting from within their own 25-yard line. Freshman Marstan Wagner had his punt tipped to net a two-yard punt on attempt which allowed the Tigers to set up shop on the Panthers’ 27-yard line. Two plays into the drive the Panthers were down 0-6. The next drive held some promise as Rangely racked up 37 yards rushing in the first three snaps of the drive but were stopped when senior Tytus Coombs fumbled. The Tigers took their first snap of the second drive and senior running back Marcos Romero took the jet handoff around the left side of the Panther defense for a 45-yard touchdown.
When all seemed lost for the Panthers on defense, the Panther offense began to click. Junior quarterback Anthony Lujan broke off on 11, 13 and 18 yard runs but another fumble by the Panthers allowed the Tigers another possession. The Panther defense rose to the occasion and forced the Tiger quarterback to throw an errant pass into the hands of junior linebacker Austin Davis. The Panther offense got on the board when Anthony Lujan took a 75 yard run for a Panther touchdown. After the unsuccessful try for a two-point conversion the Panthers cut the Tigers’ lead to 14-6.
The Panthers held the momentum for the rest of the game as the Panthers stopped the Tigers deep in Tiger territory on the ensuing kickoff. Sophomore defensive end Timothy Scoggins wrapped up the Del Norte ball carrier who bubbled into the endzone on the pitch and eventually fumbled trying to toss the ball. The fumble was recovered by linebacker Anthony Lujan. Senior Tytus Coombs added the two-point conversion that tied the game up at 14-14.
The Tigers came out on the next drive attempting to get a late second quarter score. With seven seconds left in the half and already being sacked once by junior defensive end Gabe Polley, Tiger quarterback Preston Terrell attempted a deep pass which came up short of its intended mark. Tytus Coombs intercepted the pass to close out the half with the game still tied.
The second half belonged to the Panthers. Constant pressure on the Del Norte backs and a very physical approach by the Panthers caused the Tigers to turn the ball over on their next two possessions. The Panthers capitalized on the first Tiger turnover of the second half when sophomore linebacker Zane Varner scooped up a Tiger fumble and returned it 20 yards for a Panther touchdown. This opened the floodgates for the Panthers scoring as they put up 20 points to take a 34-14 lead.
In the fourth quarter the younger Panthers started rising to the occasion as junior Ryan Richens stripped the Del Norte quarterback on a passing attempt and Timothy Scoggins was able to grab the fumble and run it to the end zone for the third Panther defense score of the night. Statistically, the Panthers were led by quarterback Anthony Lujan who rushed for 212 yards on 15 carries and two rushing touchdowns. Lujan was also four of 10 on passing for 15 yards. Tytus Coombs added to his 8-man leading rushing yards with 137 yards on 17 carries. This brings Coombs season total to 565 yards on 55 carries and six touchdowns. Sophomore Zane Varner took the field for the first time this season and racked up 45 yards rushing with one touchdown. Ryan Richens led the team in receiving yards with 15 yards and an added two-point conversion. Defensively the Panthers were led by Austin Davis who recorded 10 solo tackles and seven assists, one interception and two forced fumbles. Anthony Lujan and Gabe Polley also added nine tackles each with Lujan also recording a defensive score. Senior Justin Rusher and Zane Varner also tacked on an interception each for the Panthers that led to scores on offense.
The Panthers will travel to Edwards, Colorado on Friday, Sept. 20 to take on the Vail Christian Saints. This will be the first league match-up for both the Panthers and the Saints. The Saints two wins on the season came against Front Range Christian High School and Norwood High School.
PANTHER JV DOMINATES DEL NORTE
After enjoying the varsity victory on Friday, the Panther junior varsity team took on the Del Norte Tigers on Saturday, Sept. 14. The junior varsity team was looking to mark a notch in the win column for the first time this season after losses against 1A Grand Valley and Dove Creek.
The Panthers did not waste time getting on the scoreboard when Marstan Wagner took the jet sweep handoff around the right side for a 65-yard touchdown on the Panthers second play of the game. The two-point conversion failed for the Panthers, making the score 6-0. The Panthers did not look back after this. The Panthers were backed up against their goal line when freshman quarterback Kevin Wren connected with sophomore receiver Justin Cudo on a 95-yard touchdown pass. Wren kept adding scores as he rushed for another touchdown and back-to-back two-point conversions.
The Panther JV defense looked stout throughout the entire game as freshman Corbin Lucero controlled the line of scrimmage from the defensive tackle position along with freshmen Wyatt Wiley and Kasen LeBleu. Junior Anthony Garner led the team in tackles and take-aways as he recorded one strip fumble and an interception.
The Panthers JV team will be idle this week and will be back in action on Monday, Sept. 25 at home against the Plateau Valley Cowboys.
Special to the Herald Times