Panthers nab close victory in West Grand

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RHS Panther senior Anthony Lujan (2) led the team in last Friday’s game in Kremmling with nine solo tackles and four assists for a total of 13 tackles.

The Rangely High School Panther football team traveled to Kremmling, Colorado, in a cold, blustery, rain mixed with snow weather forecast to take on the Mustangs of West Grand High School. The Panthers were looking for a first against the West Grand Mustangs and that was to defeat the Mustangs for the first time since the two teams have joined the 8-man Western Slope League.

The game pitted two of the best teams in the conference against each other. West Grand, due to COVID-19 school closures, was playing their second game in five days after they defeated Hayden High School Tuesday in Hayden.

The Panthers came into the game with the goal of remaining the only undefeated team in the league. By rushing for 253 and passing for another 63 yards, the Panthers were able to defeat the Mustangs in a game that came down to the last play, 14-12.

Offensively for the Panthers, the front line of seniors Gabe Polley, Austin Davis and Ryan Richens, and juniors Timothy Scoggins, Justin Cudo and Byron Mackay, powered the Panther game with eight pancake blocks for the crew.

Junior running back Zane Varner had another outstanding performance as he tallied 183 yards on 22 for the Panthers and capitalized on the two-point conversion that sealed the win for the Panthers in the fourth quarter.

Senior Ryan Richens in his first game of the season due to an injury had 30 yards rushing on five carries and caught four passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns for the Panthers.

The Panthers will play the Nick Lancaster Memorial game in Rangely against the Hayden Tigers Friday at 7 p.m.

Defensively, the Panthers overcame three fumbles by the Panther offense to keep the high-power Mustang offense at bay. The Panthers were led by senior linebacker Anthony Lujan with nine solo tackles and four assists for a total of 13 tackles.

Senior Gabe Polley and junior Timothy Scoggins were the next two in tackles with 10; senior Austin Davis tallied nine along with Zane Varner.

Scoggins led the team in tackles for loss as he was able to make four tackles behind the line of scrimmage including the only sack of the game for the Panthers.

The Panthers will look to keep their winning ways as they will host the Hayden Tigers on Friday, Oct. 30. The Tigers will come into the game with a 0-3 record but the Rangely coaching staff believes that it will be a tough game and plan to prepare accordingly this week.

The game will also be the Nick Lancaster Memorial Game for the Panthers as they honor the former coach and his family for their support of the Rangely High School football program.

Special to the Herald Times