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Panthers lose in fourth quarter heartbreaker

 by David Tesitor

PEYTON, CO- The John Mall Panthers traveled to Peyton to face the Panthers in a battle of the Cats.  In the end, Peyton executed a fourth-quarter comeback, scoring three touchdowns to defeat John Mall, 32-23.  The victory was the first of the season for Peyton while John Mall fell to 1-3.

    The JM Panthers opened strong.  After stopping Peyton’s opening drive, they began their first offensive attack from the twenty.  Clayton Archuleta took the hand off and marched 80 yards down the sideline for the score and the quick 6-0 lead with 11:47 remaining in the first quarter.   Archuleta finished the day with 116 yards on 13 carries.  Peyton came roaring back with a score.  The extra point was good and Peyton led 7-6. Then, Jacob Wiggins put the JM Panthers back on the scoreboard again with a 41-yard run.  After the first quarter ended, John Mall led 12-7.

    It was a defensive battle throughout the second and third quarters.  Both teams managed to score in the second quarter but went scoreless in the third.  By the end of the third, John Mall held onto a 15-13 lead.

    The John Mall Panthers played brilliant ball, but the fatigue began to show as Peyton dominated the final 12 minutes of play.  According to Coach Berger, “I thought we played well enough to win but we just didn’t make the plays we needed to make in the fourth quarter.” Peyton scored  three times to put the final nail in John Malls’ coffin.  A John Mall touchdown in the final seconds was not enough to overcome the Red and White Panthers.  For the day Whitehead threw for 144 yards. Archuleta was the leading receiver with two catches for 67 yards.

    In their defeat, John Mall was strong on defense, forcing five fumbles and recovering four though they had trouble containing the line.  Peyton outweighed the smaller Panthers by twenty pounds.

    John Mall will host the Rocky Ford Meloneers in league action on Saturday. Action begins at 1 pm.