Panthers lose playoff game in Kiowa

Rangely seniors Ryan Wilczek (60), Lucas Heinle (10), Wesley Goddard (44) and Cameron Enterline (12) walked to the middle of the football field in Kiowa for the final coin flip of their high school careers. “My seniors did a terrific job in their leadership roles,” Fortunato said. “They showed up every day and worked very hard for me.”

Rangely seniors Ryan Wilczek (60), Lucas Heinle (10), Wesley Goddard (44) and Cameron Enterline (12) walked to the middle of the football field in Kiowa for the final coin flip of their high school careers. “My seniors did a terrific job in their leadership roles,” Fortunato said. “They showed up every day and worked very hard for me.”
Rangely seniors Ryan Wilczek (60), Lucas Heinle (10), Wesley Goddard (44) and Cameron Enterline (12) walked to the middle of the football field in Kiowa for the final coin flip of their high school careers. “My seniors did a terrific job in their leadership roles,” Fortunato said. “They showed up every day and worked very hard for me.”
RANGELY I The Rangely Panther football team ended its season in the first round of the Colorado State 8-Man playoffs Friday with a 40-14 loss to the Indians in Kiowa.
“We had a season that was solid,” head coach Paul Fortunato said of his team that finished 5-4 and advanced to the state playoffs for a second year in a row. “We were a few games away from what our goals were, but it wasn’t for lack of effort and hard work from everyone.”
For the second year in a row, the Panthers would travel to Kiowa for the first round of the state playoffs, losing both times, this time to a senior-dominated (15) team.
The Indians scored on their second offensive play of the game and scored four touchdowns in the first quarter, then started running the clock in the second, when they took a 40-point lead.
“Defensively, we played hard, but we didn’t contain the ends early, and that hurts with a team with so much speed,” Fortunato said. “I was proud of the guys for continuing to push through with the early deficit we had.”
The Panthers didn’t score until the fourth quarter, when sophomore quarterback Kaulan Brady connected with junior Colt Allred on two passes for touchdowns and another to senior Cameron Enterline for a two-point conversion.
“Offensively we struggled to give ourselves time to make plays,” Fortunato said. “We were playing a very fast team, and getting plays to develop was hard for us. We had to resort to passing because our run game was having troubles getting going.”
Brady finished the game with 150 yards, 104 of them to Allred and 43 to Enterline. Fortunato said running backs Lucas Heinle and Ethan Allred ran hard but were unable to get going against Kiowa’s defense.”
Senior Wesley Goddard led the defense with 13 tackles and Colt Allred was in on 11 and recorded a sack. Heinle and Ethan Allred were each in on six tackles, seniors Enterline and Ryan Wilczek were both in on five. Fortunato said Enterline did not have an interception against the Indians but did finish with nine on the season and was appreciative of the leadership he received from his seniors.
“My seniors did a terrific job with the leadership roles,” Fortunato said. “They showed up every day and worked very hard for me. They were a very positive group. Some of these guys came from a zero-win freshman season to be a very strong team within the league. (That is) a huge accomplishment, and this group will always be remembered for the adversity they endured.”
Fortunato will miss his seniors (Enterline, Wilczek, Heinle and Goddard) but is excited about next season already.
“We have some great players graduating who will be hard to replace, but we are returning a great group of kids,” Fortunato said. “We should be able to step right back up and be in contention for a league title. The guys returning are a very hard-working bunch and will be there all summer for weight room and camp, and I think that will be a key to our success next year.”
Fortunato continued, “I want to thank all the parents for their support this year, for team meals and for games. We had support everywhere we went, even when we were six hours away. That means a lot to the guys and the coaching staff. I would also like to thank those four seniors again for all their hard work over the years and for their dedication to our program.”