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RANGELY I The Rangely High School Panthers lost their second football game of the season and more players to injury in the 2014 Homecoming game on Yeager Field on Friday.
The Panthers lost 18-10 in a league contest against the Rams from South Routt County (Soroco). Rangely will host the undefeated Norwood Mavericks on Friday.
The Panthers’ eight-man team has lost four starters this season, and senior Kelton Elam stepped in for injured quarterback Kaulan Brady, who is out for the season with a dislocated shoulder. Elam played well.
The Rams were the first to score, taking a 6-0 lead into the second quarter, where the Panthers were the only team to score. A bad snap out of the end zone gave the Panthers a two-point safety and the Panthers trailed by four with a 6-2 score at halftime.
“We couldn’t run the ball,” head coach Paul Fortunato said. “We averaged one-yard per carry and we were stopped on fourth down, three times in the first half.”
Four Panthers carried the ball 30 times and gained a total of 100 yards, the most coming from junior Kiki Ruiz, who rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries.
The Panthers found some success in the air as Elam completed seven of 22 passes for 188 yards, including a touchdown pass in the third quarter to senior classmate Luis Contreras, who finished the game with three catches for 161 yards.
Senior Colt Allred, who is playing fullback for his injured cousin, Ethan Allred, added the two-point conversion and gave the Panthers a 10-6 lead going into the final quarter.
Rangely gave up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and the Panthers ran out of time.
“We had lots of painful injuries,” Fortunato said of the game. “Guys were playing positions they aren’t used too and it makes it tough.”
Contreras also led the Panthers with 13 tackles, Jimmie Sherman had 12, Austin Blakely was in on 11 and Elam finished with 10, including seven unassisted tackles.
The game against the Norwood Mavericks will kick off under the Friday night lights on Yeager Field at 7 p.m.