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RANGELY I Wins for the Rangely Panther football team and first year head coach Paul Fortunato have been hard to come by this season but the Rangely players and coaches earned a victory over the Lake County Panthers in the 2011 homecoming game held last Saturday on Yeager Field.
“It was great to get a homecoming win, especially for our seniors, in the last home game of their high school careers,” coach Fortunato said.
Rangely seniors Patrick Brown, Kody Denny, Nathan Fortunato, Justin Goddard and DJ Jamerson played and won their final home game 28-26.
Lake County scored first and took a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter. The Rangely Panthers were able to gain two first downs in their first possession but couldn’t make a first on a fourth down attempt. Rangely’s defense held Lake County but the offense gained a first in four attempts, giving the ball back to Lake County.
Rangely’s defense gave the ball back to its offense late in the second quarter and senior quarterback Denny marched his team down field with runs from Colton Coombs and a Wesley Goddard touchdown run capped the drive. Jamerson kicked the extra point and gave his team the lead with less than two minutes to play in the first half.
After a running attempt, the Lake County quarterback connected with a receiver for a 50 yard touchdown and gave Lake County a 13-7 lead halftime.
“We gave up a huge momentum shift with a big play,” Fortunato said of his opponent’s score before halftime.
Rangely came out ready to play in the second half, receiving the ball to start the third quarter, when Denny drove his team 61 yards, ending in a five-yard touchdown run by Coombs. Jamerson added another extra point kick and Rangely led 14-13.
Rangely’s defense continued to do its job, forcing Lake County to punt after three plays. Justin Goddard blocked the punt and Wesley Goddard recovered it on the 34-yard line. Four plays later, Coombs rushed into the end zone, this time from eight yards out and Justin Goddard ran in a two-point conversion, to give the home team a 22-13 lead, with 12 minutes to play.
Lake County wasn’t finished and surprised Rangely’s defense again, with a 60-yard touchdown pass and an extra point to pull within two of Rangely.
Rangely answered with a 58-yard drive, culminating with a 12-yard touchdown run by Justin Goddard. Jamerson’s extra point kick was no good but his team extended its lead to 28-20.
Again, Lake County scored on a 38-yard reception and pulled within two, with about a minute left to play.
“We almost ended up giving it back to them on those two big pass plays but they continued to play hard and make big plays when they needed them,” Fortunato said of his team.
One of the big plays came from the defense again, when Lake County tried to tie the score with a two-point conversion, which failed when sophomore Cameron Enterline intercepted the pass attempt. Lake County tried an on-sides kickoff but Denny recovered it and took a knee to run out the clock and give his team a 28-26 Homecoming victory.
Rangely will play its final game of the season in Paonia this Friday.
“Paonia is always tough, always one of the teams to beat and they always play extra hard against us,” Fortunato said. “It should be interesting.”