Rangely falls behind early; plays better in 2nd half

Rangely captains from left, Kindal Cushman, Cole Barlow, Adam Dahl and Patrick Phelan prepare to take the field prior to the start of Friday’s home game against Aspen.

Rangely captains from left, Kindal Cushman, Cole Barlow, Adam Dahl and Patrick Phelan prepare to take the field prior to the start of Friday’s home game against Aspen.
Rangely captains from left, Kindal Cushman, Cole Barlow, Adam Dahl and Patrick Phelan prepare to take the field prior to the start of Friday’s home game against Aspen.
RANGELY I In the season opener two weeks ago, Rangely “won” the first half.
Then, last week, in the second game of the season, the Panthers almost “won” the second half.
Now, they just need to play a complete game, said first-year coach Tim Galloway.
“We need to put four quarters together,” Galloway said of the Panthers, who dropped their second game of the season last Friday against visiting Aspen, 42-6.
“They’re a good team, but not 42 points better,” Galloway said of Aspen, which is a 3A school; Rangely is 2A. “They’re a good team, don’t get me wrong. But if we come out and play, we can play with anybody.”
Rangely lost its season opener Sept. 5 against Grand Junction Central’s junior varsity, 16-14.
“They have to start believin’ they can win,” Galloway said of his team. “We can preach it to ‘em all we want, but they have to believe in themselves.”
Aspen jumped out to a fast lead Friday, scoring 27 points in the first quarter alone. The Panthers trailed at halftime, 36-0.
“That first half, we were so tentative,” Galloway said. “We were back on our heels. Our heart wasn’t in it in the first half. They weren’t scared, just nervous. It’s very tough to overcome (a losing mentality). We’re trying to get the kids to believe in themselves. To change that around in one year is tough.”
The Panthers looked like a different team in the second half Friday, playing Aspen even, with both teams scoring a touchdown. Rangely scored late in the fourth quarter — on a Patrick Phelan to Adam Dahl pass — but failed to convert on a two-point conversion.
“We went for two. We told the kids, ‘Let’s win the second half,’” Galloway said. “But we didn’t get the play off (in time).”
While Rangely ended up on the losing end for the second time this season, Galloway liked what he saw from his players in the final two quarters Friday. The Panthers shut out Aspen in the fourth quarter.
“The kids didn’t quit,” he said. “They kept fighting. That’s what’s important.”
Rangely will play its first road game of the season this week when it travels to Coal Ridge, which is a 3A school, like Aspen.
“They’re a bigger school,” Galloway said of the Panther’s upcoming opponent. “They were fairly good last year.”
Despite some of its players being dinged up after the Aspen game, the Panthers should have everybody available for this week’s road game.
“They should all be ready to go Friday,” Galloway said. “I like playing on the road. It’s an us against the world mentality. Plus, there are distractions at home, like there was a dance Friday after the game. I look forward to seeing how we play on the road. We’re still a work in progress, but the future is bright.”