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RANGELY I After two non-conference games, the Rangely Panther football team traveled to Collbran last Saturday and won their first eight-man game by shutting out the Plateau Valley Cowboys 62-0.
“The game went really well for the varsity,” head coach Paul Fortunato said. Fortunato was also proud of his JV team, which defeated Hayden Monday last 22-6.
The Panthers took control early, scoring three touchdowns and 21 points in the first quarter, scoring on the ground, by air and a punt return.
Panther senior Tobie Gasper scored the first touchdown on a 10-yard run, then connected with classmate Chas Byerly for a two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead. Senior Colton Coombs put the Panthers on the score board again with a 55-yard touchdown run.
The Panther defense forced a punt and Byerly returned it for another first quarter touchdown. Freshman Kaulan Brady kicked the extra point to put the Panthers up 21-0 after the first 12 minutes of play.
The Panthers added 29 more points in the second quarter with Gasper and Cameron Enterline connecting first on a 20-yard touchdown pass, then again for a two-point conversion. Coombs broke away for another big (40 yards) touchdown run before Gasper scored again on a 30-yard run from scrimmage. Freshman Jimmie Sherman ran in a the two-point conversion.
The Panthers switched quarterbacks and freshman Kelton Elam scored on a 20-yard touchdown and Brady added the extra point before the quarter ended.
“It was nice to be able to get the younger guys some reps at that level to help with the future of the program,” Fortunato said.
Neither team scored in the third quarter but the Panthers added two more touchdowns in the fourth, both on passes from Brady to sophomore Luis Contreras. The Panthers did not make either of the extra-point conversion.
We are very pleased as a coaching staff but we have to take it one week at a time,” Fortunato said. “We are focusing on our home opener with Nucla, who has been known for their strong football tradition. Please come out and support us Friday night, starting at 7 p.m.
Fortunato said in the JV game, Hayden scored on the first play from scrimmage but his team controlled the rest of the game and won 22-6.
The JV Panthers will travel to Oak Creek next Monday to play the Soroco Rams.
This week is homecoming week for the Panthers.