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RANGELY I The Panther football team lost 30-69 to the Hayden Tigers last Friday on Yaeger Field in Rangely for their second league loss of the season. The Panthers currently have a 2-3 record and will host an undefeated Vail Christian team this Friday, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
“Our guys are getting better despite what the win loss column shows,” head coach Paul Fortunato said. “We have a tough league with some highly ranked teams,” which included Hayden, currently ranked No. 7 by the Denver Post.
The Tigers forced Rangely to punt on their first four possessions, while they scored 20 on their first three possessions.
“Hayden was a good team that I feel we failed to make the right adjustments on and that is my fault as the coach for not having my guys ready,” Fortunato said. “My guys believe in what we as a coaching staff say and do and we failed to prepare our guys correctly.”
The Panthers put points up on the scoreboard late in the second quarter after a 60-yard run by Chas Byerly, then a 15-yard pass from Tobie Gasper to Cameron Enterline. Gasper added a two point conversion but Hayden quickly answered with another touchdown.
The Gasper/Enterline connection worked again for a 35-yard touchdown and Byerly added the two point conversion to end the first half behind 16-35.
Hayden added three touchdowns in the third quarter and held the Panthers to only one, a 70-yard touchdown run by Colton Coombs, with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. One of the touchdowns came with one second left in the third, then Hayden scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Rangely only scored once more.
“The guys are going to continue to work hard and make the right adjustments to be the best they can be,” Fortunato said. “I’m proud of my guys, both JV (they beat Soroco 24-0 on Monday) and varsity because whatever may happen on game day, they never lose focus of their drive to work hard and commit themselves to the program. I have a great group of guys that make my job enjoyable. I believe in this group and I feel they are going to turn it back around.”