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RANGELY I Ah, the what-ifs.
That’s the kind of thing that can drive a coach crazy.
“I counted two touchdown passes that were dropped that were easily scores,” Rangely coach Tim Galloway said after looking at the film of last Friday’s 39-8 homecoming loss to rival Meeker. “Making those plays, that’s the difference between a bad team and a good team.”
Or between a team with an 0-7 record and a team with a 5-2 record.
The 0-7 Panthers had their moments against the 5-2 Cowboys. Just not enough of them.
“I thought we played one of our better games,” Galloway said. “We just killed ourselves again. We had too many mental mistakes. We’re just not good enough to overcome those kinds of things.”
At the end of the first two quarters Friday, the Panthers were faced with overcoming a 26-6 deficit.
“We haven’t been able to play a first quarter all season,” Galloway said. “After that, we played pretty good ball.”
Turnovers hurt the Panthers’ chances against Meeker.
“We basically gave them three touchdowns,” Galloway said. “You take away the three touchdowns and you’re looking at an 18-8 game. I don’t think the final score was really indicative of how we played. I thought we played a lot better than 39-8.”
Rangely’s only touchdown came in the second quarter on a 33-yard pass from Kody Denny to Tobie Gasper.
“I thought Kody played very well,” Galloway said of the junior quarterback.
The Panthers’ other points came in the third quarter when Meeker running back Alema Atoafa was tackled in the end zone for a safety. Atoafa rushed for 151 yards against the Panthers.
“He’s a good, hard runner,” Galloway said of Atoafa. “But if I put (Rangely running back) Cole Barlow behind that same offensive line, he’s that kind of runner.”
As it was, Barlow managed just 15 yards rushing on nine carries. But defensively, Galloway praised the play of Barlow and Justin Goddard.
“They both had outstanding games,” the Rangely coach said. “I think Cole had 18 or 19 tackles and Justin had pretty close to that as well. They were both flying to the ball and making some plays.”
With two games left in the season, the Panthers hope to find their way into the win column. Rangely travels to Leadville on Friday to play Lake County, which is a new team to the Western Slope League. Lake County is 2-5 overall, 0-3 in the league. The following Friday, the Panthers close out the season at home against Paonia.
“We’re looking forward to this one. I think it’s a very winnable game for us,” Galloway said of Friday’s game against Lake County. “They’re struggling and we are as well. Hopefully it’s a chance where we can come out and get a win.”