RANGELY I Youth and inexperience continue to challenge the Rangely Panthers football team and both were in evidence on Yeager Field in the first home game of the season. The Dove Creek Bulldogs defeated the Panthers 40-0 last Friday and although the score was closer, the result was the same in the junior varsity game the following day.
“We struggled to connect on several big plays throughout the game offensively, to give ourselves a chance,” Rangely head coach Paul Fortunato said. “We are struggling with youth and inexperience on the front line, making it difficult to get things rolling.”
The Panthers turned the ball over five times with three fumbles and two interceptions but their defensive play in the first half was a bright spot for Rangely.
“The Bulldogs were a senior-heavy and very good team,” Fortunato said. “Defensively, we played very well in the first half, containing them to only eight points but Dove Creek’s big line was just too much for us in the second half.”
Senior quarterback Kaulan Brady completed eight of 17 passes for 72 yards, including five to freshman Devin Ramirez, two to Jimmie Sherman and one to Jesse Powell. Kiki Ruiz had 19 yards rushing and Nych Deleon had nine.
Defensively, Troy Allred led the Panthers with 16 tackles, Brady and Sherman were each in on 12 tackles, Nakoma Bailey had eight and Ramirez finished with five.
Coach Fortunato said the JV team played “extremely well” for their first game of the season.
“Our JV team is all freshmen and they were matched up against several upper-classmen,” he said. “Defensively we played well but gave up three big touchdowns plays, all on missed opportunities. They are putting themselves in the right spot to make plays and the finishing will come.”
Coach Fortunato said Robert Osteen had a “monster day,” rushing for 58 yards and receiving another 35. Osteen also threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Devin Ramirez on a pitch pass that went for 40 yards.
“These freshmen are an exciting group and everyone is excited to see what they are going to do,” he said.
The Panthers will travel to Collbran to play the Plateau Valley Cowboys on Saturday with the kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.