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Sports for October 23, 2008

Going to State

JOHN MALL HIGH – Two members of the Panther cross-country team are heading to Fort Collins to participate in the 2008 state tournament tomorrow.  Melissa Mestas and Shawn  Dieckman qualified at the regional meet this past Friday.  Both earned their berth by qualifying among the top runners at the event and will proudly represent John Mall.

    This is the first cross-country team in fifteen years to participate in the fall sport and Mestas and Dieckman should be the first of many regional champions to represent our school.  The team almost never was.  Coach Jacque Corsentino went to the school board in August to ask if they could offer CC  as an alternate fall sport.  The board agreed but only if they funded their events, fees, transportation and expenses themselves.  “Thanks to the generous support of the community we were able to raise the money we needed,” Corsentino said.  “We are overwhelmed by the community’s continued support.“ 

    For Mestas and Dieckman, their presence in Fort Collins as ambassadors of John Mall High School should be applauded.

Panthers Close Season with Home Win

WALSENBURG-  The John Mall Lady Panthers closed out their regular season with a victory against the Las Animas Trojans last Saturday in exciting net action.  It took the Cats five games to claim victory in an exciting, closely contested match.  The Panthers victory, 25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 18-25 and 15-7 was the end of a bitter-sweet season which saw the Cats struggle for most of the year. 

    The Cats’ post season play continued as they travelled to Westcliffe to face the Cougars of Custer County Tuesday in a do-or-die preliminary district game to determine who would advance to districts.  The Lady Panthers (6-10) were  were successful in defeating the Cougars (7-8) in three games, thus advancing.  The first game scheduled for tonight is back at Custer County.  Their opponent has not yet been named.  The top two winners advance to regional action.  Be sure to visit www.huerfanojournal.com for schedules and scores as this information was unavailable at press time.

  Redskins Attack Advance to

Playoffs 

WESTCLIFFE-  The La Veta Redskins kept their quest for a state championship alive last Friday by defeating the Bobcats of Cotopaxi in a high scoring match 66-22.  La Veta opened the scoring on their first possession with only two minutes elapsed in the first quarter when Stephen Kimbrel scored on a 7-yard run to give the Skins a 6-0 lead.  The Skin defense held the Bobcats on the next possession and received the ball to begin their second drive of the game.  A fumble deep in Cotopaxi territory allowed the Bobcats to come roaring back when the defender ran the ball back 75 yards  for the touchdown.  La Veta responded when Ron Ortivez connected with Dakota Mason for a 30- yard touchdown pass.  The Cats finished off the quarter on a 37-yard run around the end to take the lead after the first, 14-12.  This would prove to be their only lead of the game.

    It would be all La Veta as their offense exploded and their defense shut down the Bobcats.  The Ortivez-to-Mason connection opened up the game as Mason scored on pass receptions of 32 and 25 yards.  He would also take an interception back for 75 yards.  Others getting into the scoring fun included Clancey Kreutzer on a 2-yard run, Travis Brownlee on a 70-yard pass and Sean Sanchez on a 7-yard run.  Kimbrel would find the end zone late in the third quarter running it in from 45 yards. Ortivez completed 4 out of 10 passes for 132 yards, all touchdowns.  The Redskins maintained a solid ground game to eat up the clock en route to their impressive victory.

    The Skins will now travel to face the seventh-ranked Dove Creek Bulldogs for the first round of the interdivisional playoffs.   If the Skins beat the Dogs on Saturday, they will more than likely be at home in the state quarterfinals next week.  The Redskins have been in the playoffs six out of the past seven years and  have not made it past the semi’s.  The Dogs are themselves a high scoring team who have put up an average 51 points against their opponent’s 12 points compared to La Veta‘s 54 and 12 points.  The Bulldog’s success has been their rushing game.  They have a corral of seven running backs who have handled the ball this season.  Most notably, if the  Skins are going to win this game, they need to contain running back Colton Husky, who has rushed for almost 1000 yards this season with a 7.7 yard per carry.  Look for both teams to put up plenty of scores.  

Pigtails for the Lady Skins

LAVETA- The Lady Redskin’s journey back to state begins tonight, October 23 at 6 pm  when they face the Tigers of Del Norte in a pigtail match to determine who will move on to district action on Friday in Center.

    The journey began when they won a pair of matches earlier in the week.  They beat Center decisively in three games last Thursday, 25-18, 25-15 and 25-18.   They then played at Antonito winning a see-saw battle in 5 games, 26-24, 19-25, 22-25, 25-22 and 15-12.   Their chance of advancing almost escaped them as the Skins found themselves down 2 games to 1 before the power hitting of Shea Brgoch, Emily Moll and the rest of the team spirited victory away from the Trojans.  According to Coach Bree Lessar, “the girls looked great Thursday night.  I think we’re ready to head to the district tournament.”

    Call me superstitious, but I think the Ladies should  wear pigtails throughout the state finals.  Be sure to visit www.huerfanojournal.com on Friday morning to see if the Lady Skins advanced and when they will play on Friday.  We will post the winning scores throughout the weekend.

 Panthers Lose Again

WALSENBURG-  The John Mall Panthers lost their last home game of the season, falling to the Trojans of Las Animas in a low scoring battle 13-0.  The two teams remained evenly matched in the first quarter, failing to drive the ball downfield and forcing punts in a defensive battle.  After 12 minutes of play, the game was scoreless.

    The Trojans scored first off a Harley Tenerio 4-yard run up the middle to take an early second-quarter lead, 7-0.   The Cats came roaring back off a Clayton Archuleta 55-yard kickoff return to the Las Animas 20-yard line before he was brought down by wide-out Jake Six of Las Animas.   Archuleta then brought the Cats to a first and goal off a Charlie Whitehead 146-yard pass giving the Panthers a first and goal.  Unable to capitalize,  the Cats faced  a fourth and goal from the 22.   Whitehead’s 37-yard field goal attempt was wide left and left the Panthers without  a score.  This would prove to be the Panther’s only trip into the red-zone until late in the fourth quarter.

    The Panther’s strong defense continued throughout the rest of the first half, including an interception attempt by Zack Vigil.  Vigil had daylight to the end zone, but the pass from Gustavo Souza came like lightning and before Vigil could react, the ball bounced off his numbers. This kept the Trojans alive as they drove the ball downfield but time ran out in the half with the score remaining 7-0.

    The Trojan’s offense came to life in the third as the Panthers began to give up big plays.  The Trojans scored again midway in the third to open up a 13-0 lead   The Trojan speedster, Emilio Pax also had a 39-yard touchdown called back late in the quarter and the Panther defense held the Trojans on  fourth and 22 from the Panther 39 to end the quarter.

    The Panthers got back into the game in the fourth as they drove the ball downfield until a Whitehead shoulder injury forced him out of the game which ended the drive, and the Panther’s chances for a last quarter comeback.  One more attempt late in the game fell short after an interception in the end zone kept  the Panthers scoreless again.  The Cats will close out their season next week against the Crowley County Chargers.

    The Panthers played with tenacity and determination as if every down were their first and as if they were playing in a state championship game. The Panthers will continue to rebuild, growing in size and strength over the next two years.  With the group of junior high players entering high school over the next two years, look out league.