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RANGELY I It’s not been the kind of season that was hoped for by first-year coach Tim Galloway.
Making the playoffs is out of the question. And there have been some ugly losses as well as games that could have gone the other way.
But, despite any earlier disappointments, the Rangely Panthers persevered Friday, winning their second game of the season, 19-14, against West Grand.
“It felt good to get (win) No. 2, but we still didn’t play real well,” Galloway said. “We had the ball in the red zone three times in the first half, twice inside the 10, and didn’t score. We still aren’t getting it done.”
Rangely trailed at halftime, 7-0. But the Panthers were not to be denied in the second half.
“We came out and played better,” Galloway said. “The kids decided they didn’t want to lose their last game at home.”
Rangely, 2-6 on the season, did all of its scoring in the second half, with quarterback Patrick Phelan scoring on runs of 4 and 16 yards, and slotback Cole Barlow scored on a 34-yard run. Kindal Cushman added an extra-point kick. The Panthers failed on the other two-point attempts.
West Grand scored its second and final TD in the final minutes of the game. Both West Grand scores came on pass plays.
“I don’t think they really wanted to be (a passing team),” Galloway said of the Panthers’ opponent.
Rangely made West Grand pay, intercepting three passes — one each by Brandon Gray, Phelan and Keane Raley.
“We forced some turnovers,” Galloway said. “We had three interceptions and two or three fumble recoveries. That was the difference. West Grand turned the ball over, and we didn’t.”
Like the Panthers, West Grand has two wins on the season, and one of those was by forfeit.
“They’re a young team like us,” Galloway said. “They’re going to drop to eight-man next year, but they came out and fought hard. They played well, particularly in the first half, but the turnovers got to ’em a little bit and we took advantage of it.”
In the first half, the Panthers moved the ball, but came up empty on the scoreboard.
“We just weren’t finishing,” Galloway said. “That has been haunting us all year long. We’d get inside the 20, but we wouldn’t score. I don’t know if it’s because (the players) haven’t had success in the past, or maybe they’re afraid of success. I bet we had close to 300 yards total offense, but then we’d have a penalty or a fumbled snap. We just can’t overcome that, to make up for those mistakes.”
Still, the Panthers had their moments, especially in the second half. Galloway singled out Phelan, Barlow and slotback Jason Stults on offense as well as Raley, Gray and Justin Goddard on defense.
There have been enough bright spots this season to give Galloway a bright outlook for the future of Rangely football.
“In a way, from my point of view as a coach, it’s been a difficult season,” he said. “But it’s been a good season. We’ve played well in some games; in others, we haven’t. I’d like to see us be more consistent. Looking back (on the season), we just don’t finish things like we need to. But that will come with time.”
Galloway is encouraged about the direction of the program.
“Football is about sacrifice and what’s best for the team. We have to get that back, but our kids don’t quite have that mindset yet,” Galloway said. “I think we’ve got the groundwork to build this program. I couldn’t ask for a better superintendent for football (than Barry Williams), and Mark (Skelton, activities director) has been very supportive, too. Now that we have the foundation, we just have to start laying the bricks, and hopefully we’ll have something in a year or two.”
Meanwhile, the Panthers close out the season on the road Friday — on Halloween eve — at Paonia.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Galloway said. “I’m hoping we come out and play well and send us into the off-season on a high note. We’ll go down there and see if we can’t scare ’em a little bit for Halloween.”