Panthers get first win of season over GJ jr. varsity

Captains Adam Dahl, left, and Kindal Cushman, right, lead their teammates onto the field before Friday’s game carrying a heavy-duty chain. “We need to be like links in a chain,” said coach Tim Galloway. “Everybody has a job to do.”
Captains Adam Dahl, left, and Kindal Cushman, right, lead their teammates onto the field before Friday’s game carrying a heavy-duty chain. “We need to be like links in a chain,” said coach Tim Galloway. “Everybody has a job to do.”
RANGELY I Tim Galloway learned something about his football team.
They won’t quit.
Even though the Panthers lost their first three games, and they were behind Friday against Grand Junction High School’s junior varsity, they didn’t fold.
“There wasn’t any panic,” said first-year coach Galloway. “The kids were like, OK, let’s get this done and take care of business.”
That’s what they did.
The Panthers scored the second-half’s only touchdown and held on to beat the Tigers, 14-7, for their first win of the season.
“It felt good,” Galloway said of Rangely’s first win. “But it’s all over now. We’re looking at Hotchkiss. About 24 hours is all you get (to celebrate). Then it’s on to bigger and better things.”
The Panthers open league play Friday with another home game. Rangely will play five of its first six games at home.
Senior quarterback Patrick Phelan, who missed the Sept. 18 game — a loss — due to the flu, was a difference-maker in his return, scoring both of Rangely’s touchdowns on runs of three and one yards. For the game, Phelan rushed for 131 yards on 18 carries and added a two-point conversion following his third-quarter TD.
Grand Junction scored first, in the second quarter.
“We fought back,” Galloway said. “We just hung in there. “
Still, the Panthers missed out on other scoring opportunities, a pattern they’ve had all season.
“Again, we didn’t finish,” Galloway said. “We had the ball three more times in the red zone and didn’t get the job done. That’s three more possible scores we could’ve had, but it’s getting the execution down.”
On the other side of the ball, the Panther coach was pleased with his defense, which allowed only one score.
“Defensively, we played well,” Galloway said. “I had a couple of kids who played really well. Justin Goddard recorded 10 tackles, which was really good, and Logan Osborne had eight tackles, plus a sack and a fumble recovery.”
Galloway also singled out Kindal Cushman, who made a game-saving tackle on a punt return near the end of the game.
“That preserved the win for us,” Galloway said.
The Panthers played shorthanded, due to injuries, sickness and ineligible players. But Galloway was pleased with the way his team responded to adversity.
“They blocked that punt and got up on us early,” Galloway said. “Former Rangely teams, it would’ve been easy to give up. But these kids didn’t.”
However, Galloway knows the schedule won’t get any easier.
“Hopefully, we can keep things going in the right direction,” Galloway said. “With only five league games, they’re all pretty crucial. Everybody is going to be tough. I don’t see anybody in the league being a pushover. If anybody is looking at it, they’re probably thinking we’re the lay-down team. Hopefully we can surprise some people.”