By Bobby Gutierrez
Rangely I After a 42-18 pounding of the Del Norte Tigers last Friday, the Rangely High School football team is now 2-0 and they will play another home game on Yaeger Field, this Friday at 7 p.m.
“We are young but sure don’t play like it,” Rangely head coach Paul Fortunato said. The Panthers are averaging 43 points per game, after winning their first game of the season on the road, beating Dove Creek 44-30.
“We came out firing,” coach Fortunato said of the first home game of the season, where sophomore running back AJ Lujan returned the opening kick to the Tigers’ 25-yard line and freshman running back Tytus Coombs ran it in for a touchdown two plays later, giving the Panthers an early 6-0 lead.
The Tigers tied the game with a touchdown of their own on their first possession but the Panthers wouldn’t let them on the board again until late in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Devin Moore led the Panthers on offense, scoring Rangely’s next two touchdowns, including a 30-yard run on fourth down, then again after sophomore Tristan Moore recovered a fumble at the 50 and Lujan ran the ball down to the 10-yard line. Ramirez also rushed in for the two point conversion and the Panthers led 20-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers capitalized on another Tiger fumble, which was recovered by Stetson Cudo, when senior Troy Allred caught an over-the-shoulder pass in stride from Ramirez, who rushed in for the two point conversion.
Ramirez broke free on a long run, moving the ball to the eight-yard line before running in for his third touchdown in the first half, giving his team a 34-6 lead at halftime.
The Panthers kicked off to start the second half and their defense stopped the Tigers after four plays, then Ramirez scored his fourth touchdown and added his second two-point conversion of the game to send his team into the final quarter with a 42-6 lead.
“We thought it was a good time to get some of the younger guys some game time and our second team finished the third and fourth quarters against Del Norte’s varsity and did a good job,” coach Fortunato said. “We saw a bunch of improvement from the same situation they were in last week against Dove Creek.”
Coach Fortunato said the Panther JV team lost 20-0 to Del Norte on Saturday but “they played hard and are getting better every week.”
“It’s a young JV team with little high school experience,” coach Fortunato said. “They will be fine, they just need some more time.”
Ramirez led the varsity with 155 yards rushing on 12 carries, four touchdowns, two, two-point conversions and a touchdown completion for 23 yards. Lujan gained 70 yards on 11 carries and Coombs rushed for 39 yards on three carries.
Allred led the Panther defense with nine tackles, senior Mikey Sheppard and Lane Gillard each recorded eight, Coombs finished with seven, while Moore and Grady Nielson each had eight, Ramirez, Daiman Geyler and Zach Sulser all finished with four and Trenton Files had three.
The Panthers will host the Soroco Rams this Friday, with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
“The Rams are off to a 2-1 start this season and have a good athletic team,” coach Fortunato said. “Please come out to Yaeger Field this Friday, it should be a good game.”
By Bobby Gutierrez