RANGELY I The Rangely Panthers won their first league game of the season in Hayden, but the team lost one of its leaders for the season.
The Panthers beat the Hayden Tigers, 20-14, in overtime and will host the Rams from South Routt County (Soroco) for their Homecoming game on Yeager Field on Friday.
The Tigers were first to score in Hayden, but the Panthers answered with a touchdown of their own in the first quarter, when quarterback Kelton Elam ran in a quarterback sneak. The attempt at extra points failed and the Panthers trailed 6-8.
Elam was playing for starting quarterback Kaulan Brady, who did play a little before being injured, and senior captain Ethan Allred suffered a broken leg on defense, requiring surgery the next day. The injuries continued as junior Nakoma Bailey broke his wrist in the game and Hayden’s quarterback broke his femur as well.
“After Ethan was injured, the kids were almost in shock,” head coach Paul Fortunato said. “They lost their captain and team leader and it was hard to motivate them, but we had to move on.”
The Tigers increased their lead by six in the third quarter, but the Panthers tied the game at 14, when Jessie Powell scored a touchdown and Colt Allred, who replaced his cousin at fullback, added the extra points.
“After Brady got hurt, we went into the Wildcat offense and rammed it down their throats,” Fortunato said.
Kiki Ruiz carried the ball 18 times and gained 116 yards. Colt Allred ran the ball 22 times and gained 96 yards, Nych Deleon rushed nine times for 47 yards and Powell had six carries for 30 yards.
In overtime, the Panthers were given the ball at the 10 yard line and they have four plays to score, then the other team gets the same opportunity.
Rangely moved the ball to the one-yard line, then scored on fourth down, when Colt Allred threw a shovel pass to Jimmie Sherman for a touchdown.
The Tigers also had their chance from the 10-yard line, but Rangely’s Freddie Ruiz sacked their quarterback for a loss, they then gained four yards on second down, had an incomplete pass on third and Elam intercepted an attempted screen pass to end the game.
The Panthers will host the Rams for their homecoming game on Friday, with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.