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RANGELY I They didn’t win a game.
But they didn’t quit.
“It was a tough year,” said Rangely football coach Tim Galloway after the Panthers finished the season without a win. “But they kept fighting. They kept battling.”
Rangely lost its season finale last Friday against Paonia 44-8 to finish 0-9.
“It was just one of those years,” said second-year coach Galloway. “We had a lot of kids get hurt and who were out for various reasons. We lost a lot of key kids for a lot of the season.”
Players like Brian Rector, Jake Smith, JoD Stults and Zakk Wenzel missed much of the season due to injuries. And Rangely didn’t have many players to start with. There were games when the Panthers suited up fewer than 20 players, including last Friday’s season finale.
“That hurts your depth when you lose a senior or junior and all you have is a freshman to put in their place,” Galloway said. “We didn’t have the numbers for a JV (junior varsity) program, so the younger kids got thrown to the wolves. But they learned a lot. That will bode well for the future.”
Asked whether Rangely would consider switching to eight-man football, because of the low number of players, Galloway said he didn’t know.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t make those decisions. That lies with the powers that be. That’s their decision. I haven’t been consulted.”
Last Friday’s game was the last one for seniors like Cole Barlow, who rushed for 99 yards on 26 carries.
“My biggest regret is we couldn’t win a game or two for him,” Galloway said of the senior co-captain. “He epitomizes Rangely football. He never complained. He was banged up, but he always gave 110 percent. If we had 23 Cole Barlows it might have been a different situation. It’s hard to say when you go 0-9 he had a great season, but he did.”
Other seniors were Landon Mecham, Brian Rector and Zakk Wenzel.
“It’s tough to see those kids go. They gave a lot to the program, but that’s high school football. You get them for four years and they’re gone,” Galloway said.
Rangely’s only score last Friday came on a 41-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from Kody Denny to Chas Byerly.
“Offensively, Kody and Chas had big games for us,” Galloway said. “Chas had a great year. Sometimes I have to remind myself he’s just a sophomore.”
Returning players like Denny and Byerly gives Galloway hope for the future.
“We should have at least a fairly experienced team, even though we’ll be pretty young,” Galloway said.