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Sports for Dec. 18, 2008

Grappling Redskins finish strong

SARGENT-  The La Veta Redskins finished strong at the Sargent Invitational Tournament this past Saturday, crowning four individual champions.  The team also finished second in team standings with 67 points.

    Adam Ortivez (103) pinned Garrett Marquez of Alamosa in 4:32 to claim the championship medal.  Stephen Kimbrel (145) pinned David Strait of Soroco at 1:40.  Kimbrel weighed in early in the morning, then drove to Alamosa to take his ACT test, then back to Sargent to make his first match.  Kimbrel went on to take first prize.  Ron Ortivez III (152) pinned Chance Cooley of Sargent in 3:47 to capture a championship and Nick Northup (189) pinned Ryan Mangum of Mountain Valley in the amazing time of 36 seconds.

    The Redskins only covered half of the weight classes, but due to a complicated scoring system and because their four champions pinned their opponents, the Skins pulled ahead of third-place finisher Sargent.  They clinched their second-place finish when R. Ortivez pinned his Sargent opponent.

Lady Skins and Cats meet again

TRINIDAD- The John Mall Panthers and the La Veta Redskins both traveled to Trinidad High School to compete in the Miner tournament.  They were paired in opposite brackets.

    La Veta squared off against the Kim Mustangs in the first round and was blown away 48-15 in a game which was very uncharacteristic.  Multiple turnovers led to their defeat, and the Skins could not connect offensively.  Their loss sent the Skins into the consolation rounds.  Their opponents were the Hanover Bulldogs and what a difference a night can make.  The Skins took it to the Bulldogs 41-18.  After a slow start, the Lady Skins saw themselves fall behind after the first quarter 9-3, but came alive in the second, shutting down Hanover and exploding with 15 points to take an 18-12 halftime lead.  They continued their dominance and were able to breeze into the consolation finals.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the brackets, the Panthers opened against the hometown Trinidad Miners, losing a heartbreaker 43-36.  In fact, they outplayed the Miners for three and one-half quarters and were leading by three with 2:55 on the clock. A Miner three-pointer tied the game and shifted the momentum to the hometown.  A couple of questionable calls which turned over the ball saw the Cats trail by a bucket.  As time was expiring, the Miners converted four free throws to seal their victory.  The loss sent the Panthers into the consolation rounds also.  Kristin David led all scoring with 23. The next night the Panthers had little trouble defeating the Dolores Huerta Scorpions 42-29, setting up the Redskin-Panther rematch for fifth place.

    The two teams squared off Saturday evening and from the opening tip-off, La Veta came out with an offensive surge and dominant defense, stopping the Panthers in their tracks. La Veta executed a varying full and half-court press, forcing turnovers and not allowing the Panthers to convert many shots.  In the end, the Redskins defeated the Panthers 50-18.  Shelby Morgan led the Redskin attack with 24 points.  Kristin David contributed 8 points for the Panthers while teammate Sandra Vigil hit 7.  As in all the Panther games so far this season, they fought until the final tick of the clock.  Their determination, hustle and drive will carry them through the season. The Redskins will have the remainder of the year off and will begin play Jan. 9 against Center.  La Veta will need to continue their aggressive defense as they enter into a new league and compete against mostly unknown schools.

Redskins down Panthers

WALSENBURG- La Veta came to town last Sat. Dec. 13 and walked away with a victory 72-45.  The Redskins had a distinct height advantage over the Panthers, but the Cats seemed to compensate with their speed.  Panther sophomore Charlie Whitehead battled Redskin junior Dakota Mason and senior Franklin Geiser under the boards for precious rebounds, but the Redskin offensive follow-ups converted to Skin points.

    The Panthers played the Skins closely throughout the first quarter in a game that saw both teams missing opportunities.  After one, the visiting Redskins led the Cats 10-7.

    La Veta opened it up in the second, dominating the inside lanes and boards. Their fast break offense allowed Mason and Geiser to take the ball down court and score with ease. La Veta also executed a man-to-man defense, which forced turnovers.  By halftime, La Veta led 39-19.

    The Panther’s biggest disadvantage so far this season has been the lack of court experience for most of their players. The Panthers do not have any seniors on the team. They have been playing mostly freshman and sophomores.  The three juniors returned from last season’s team, which saw the Panthers graduate nine seniors, comprise the balance of the team.   While the team lacks experience, they excel in hustle, determination and desire.

    Through the second half, the Panthers continued to keep after the ball, never giving up and playing through the final buzzer.  There were outstanding plays like these:  freshman Zach Harriman wrestling the ball away from Geiser, who is six inches taller, forcing a jump ball or Whitehead outjumping his opponents for the rebounds.

    High scorers for La Veta  were Mason with 17 and Geiser with 13.  The Panther’s high scorer was Whitehead with 24 and Jacob Wiggins with 11.  The Redskins are off until after the holidays and the Panthers will travel to South Fork Dec. 20.

    The Redskins defeated the Panthers in the junior varsity game earlier in the evening 84-41.  Panther Mike Maldonado scored 22 points while Josiah Christian hit 15 and Matt Hammernik scored 14.

Cancelled ???

WALSENBURG- The Panther’s game on Saturday against South Fork may be cancelled due to inclement weather.  As of press time Wednesday, John Mall Athletic Director, Pat McDonald said, “It’s too early to make that determination but it doesn’t look good. I won‘t risk our kids on those roads.” We will have the official announcement on our website at early Thursday morning.


HUERFANO- Three area wrestlers were ranked as best in the state according to the Tim Yount wrestling polls.  Adam Ortivez of La Veta was ranked number 2 in the state at 103 pounds; Clayton Archuleta, John Mall (130)  was ranked number 3 and Stephen Kimbrel, La Veta (145) was ranked number 4.

Panthers dominate Trojans

WALSENBURG- A change in the schedule did not stop the John Mall Panthers from defeating Las Animas Tuesday evening, 50-45.  From the beginning, the Cats controlled the tempo of the game, jumping to a 6-0 lead.  Their offense then stalled, allowing the Trojans to get back into the game in the middle of the second quarter and take the lead 14 to 13, but a 5-2 point run shifted the momentum back to the Panthers.  A three-point shot at the end of the half by Colton Gallegos put Las Animas within five.

    The Panthers had a height disadvantage, but were dominant under the boards and in the lane as they shut down the Trojan’s inside game, forcing shots from the outside. The Cat’s fast breaks easily converted into points, and when they missed shots, they followed up with the rebound.  By the end of the third quarter, the Panthers seemed unstoppable, building up a 10-point lead at times and forcing Las Animas to take shots from the outside.  The Trojans managed to convert four three-point shots in the fourth to narrow the gap, but it was not enough because Panther Charlie Whitehead was there to pull down those that were missed.  The game was opened up again when the Trojans fouled Steven Rodriquez after he scored on an easy lay-up.  A foul word was said by Wick Turner of Las Animas, forcing a technical foul.  Rodriquez converted all three free throws giving the Panthers their 10-point margin with 5:09 remaining in the fourth.

    The Trojans managed to scratch their way back into the game but were forced to foul the Cats when they were on offense, hoping to close the gap further, but they fouled the wrong players.  Zach Harriman converted three of four free throws in the stretch while Whitehead converted four of six.  For the night, Whitehead scored 16 and teammate, Jacob Wiggins scored 15.

    The victory over the Trojans should give the Cats momentum as they enter winter break.  This was by far their best outing, and this group of young men is gaining more experience with every game

    The Lady Panthers were defeated by the Lady Trojans 54-25 earlier in the evening.  The Panthers were playing without starter Katie Monahan, due to an injury and without two additional players due to ineligibility.  There were no junior varsity games.

Perfect season ends

WALSENBURG- The John Mall Grizzlies sixth and seventh grade team concluded a perfect 14-0 season last Monday after they defeated the Hoehne Farmers 40-30.  Tono Ortiz hit 14 while teammate Isaiah Vigil scored 10.  On Monday, they went on to defeat Raton 49-34.  Ortiz was also the leading scorer with 12.  This group of young men also went undefeated in football last fall.

    The eighth grade team also won the pair of games, beating Hoehne 38-30 and Raton 67-11.  Dylan Tenorio was high man against the Farmers with 21.  Also scoring for the Grizzlies were Eddie Martinez with 5, Andre Ortiz with 4 and MichaelRyan Griego scoring 4.  Against Raton, Tenorio hit 20 while Ortiz scored 13.  The victories gave the eighth grade team a 10-4 record.

    The Journal would like to congratulate these fine young athletes for making their community and school proud.  Well Done!


WALSENBURG- Last Tuesday, the RE-1 School board extended contract offers to football coach Ken Berger and his staff as well as volleyball coach Mike Vigil for next season.  The hiring of the staff this early will allow coaches to prepare for next season much earlier than last year.