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RANGELY | The Rangely Panthers football team traveled to Kremmling to take on the West Grand Mustangs on a windy and cold Friday, Oct. 4. Rangely came in to this game with a 3-1 mark on the year and the Mustangs with a 3-2 mark. Rangely was coming off a bye week and were eager to take the field and avenge a loss from two weeks ago against Vail Christian. The Panthers received the opening kick and marched the ball for a solid 39 yards but were hindered by penalties on the drive and incomplete pass which caused the Panthers to punt. The Panther defense then forced a West Grand three and out and took the ball back over. The Panthers then drove the ball down the field from their own 38-yard line to the West Grand 24-yard line, but the Mustangs intercepted an Anthony Lujan pass on the Mustangs 2-yard line. This play closed out the first quarter and the score still stood at 0-0.
The Panthers defense again proved itself strong as the Mustang offense could not get their motor running as they are known for with the spread formation, counter dive that they are known for. The Panthers forced another punt after three offensive plays. The Panthers took the ball on their own 27-yard line. After a couple short runs by quarterback Lujan and sophomore running back Zane Varner the Panthers were facing a third down and four yards to go when an errant snap flew over Lujan’s head and bounced back towards the line of scrimmage where the Mustangs were able to secure the fumble. The Mustangs looked to take advantage of the short field percentage and score the game’s first points. The Panthers were able to stop the Mustangs on the first three plays of the drive where the Mustangs faced a fourth down from the Panther 7-yard line. West Grand’s quarterback scrambled for the seven yards on the fourth and goal and put the first points of the game on the scoreboard. The Mustangs completed a pass for the two-point conversion on the ensuing play to make the score 8-0. The Panthers offense was not able to answer on their next drive and the Mustangs again found a way in to the end zone and successfully complete the extra point attempt and make the game 16-0 in favor of the Mustangs. Turnovers and penalties again stalled the Panthers offense as they were forced to punt. Three plays later and a long pass for the Mustangs drove the score to 22-0 in favor of West Grand at the end of the first half.
The Panther defense came out with adjustments in the second half and kept the Mustangs at bay and out of the end zone. The Panther offense again found itself grinding out long drives only to have troubles with penalties to stall the drives and force turnovers in favor of the Mustangs. The Panther offense did find its way into the end zone with three minutes left to play in the fourth quarter. Lujan found wide receiver Ryan Richens open for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The point-after attempt was unsuccessful for the Panthers. The Panthers were not able to secure the ensuing onside kick and the game ended with the Panthers suffering their second loss of the season.
Statistically, the Panthers offense out-gained the West Grand offense 238 to 179 but the Panthers had 79 yards on nine penalties. The Panthers were led in rushing by Varner who accumulated 105 yards on 20 carries. Lujan, a junior, rushed the ball 22 times for 88 yards. Lujan also was two of nine in passing for 21 yards and one touchdown pass.
The Hayden Tigers will be in Rangely for Homecoming on Friday. The Tigers are 2-3 on the year and the Panthers will look to put their record to 4-2.
Special to the Herald Times