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RANGELY I The team total on the scoreboard matched the number of players who suited up for the game.
Neither was enough.
The Panthers, who suited up a season-low 14 players, were the homecoming opponent for the second week in a row last Friday, and the result was the same: They lost to host Hayden 47-14.
“We would have had more (players), but we had one kid go to a wedding in Oregon. We had another who called at 2 before we left at 2:30 who said he was sick, and we had another one whose mother didn’t take him to a court appointment, so they put him in jail,” Panther coach Tim Galloway said. “There’s not much we can do. We had to play with what we had. But that makes it tough.”
Also making it tough, in addition to the low numbers, four of the players in the starting lineup Friday for Rangely were freshmen.
“And some of them were looking across at Treyben Letlow, who will play Division I. I’ve heard Oklahoma may be looking at him. He’s the defending state wrestling champ at heavyweight and he’s an athlete,” Galloway said. “He was sideline to sideline all over the place, and we stick our freshmen in there who may be 140 pounds and they’re thinking, holy crap. You can’t ask a freshman to go up against a senior and win.”
Rangely, still looking for its first win of the season, will play in its own homecoming game Friday when the Panthers host county rival Meeker, which is coming off a 37-0 Western Slope League loss last week to Paonia.
“I know what that’s like,” Galloway said of the Cowboys, who have been hit hard with injuries.
Brian Rector and Jake Smith are two of the Rangely starters who are out for the season because of injuries.
For the third time this season, the Panthers “won” the second half last Friday, outscoring Hayden 8-7 in the final two periods. It’s the first half that has been Rangely’s downfall.
Hayden put 33 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter and added another touchdown in the second.
“It was 14-6 at one time,” Galloway said. “But we shot ourselves in the foot. They scored two more touchdowns. Then we were down in a hurry, real quick.”
Rangely scored its first touchdown on an 81-yard pass from Kody Denny to Tobie Gasper in the first quarter. The Panthers added a second score in the final quarter on an 11-yard pass from Denny to Chas Byerly. Cole Barlow ran for the two-point conversion.
Despite the loss, which dropped the Panthers to 0-6 overall and 0-2 in the league, Galloway said his team didn’t quit.
“After the game, the official came up and said what you lack in numbers you make up for in heart,” the Rangely coach said. “We may not be winning any games, but we’re still fighting. Right now, I have 14 (players) who want to be there, and we’ll keep showing up.”
Actually, Galloway is hopeful he’ll have more players suited up for Friday’s homecoming game.
“We should get a few kids back,” he said. “JoD Stults might be able to play. Zakk Wenzel may try to come back and play. Justin Goddard was sick against Hayden and hopefully he’ll be ready to go. Trevor Brown, we’re hoping he’ll be back. So, maybe we’ll be back to 20 instead of 14. That would sure help.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is 7:30 p.m. at Yaeger Stadium.
“It’ll be a Meeker-Rangely battle,” Galloway said. “Even if both teams are down, they’ll fight each other. Hopefully we can make a game out of it and maybe we can steal one.”