Panthers look impressive
by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- The John Mall Panthers came up short in their season opener against Sargent, falling 41-14. This was the inaugural game at the new sports complex as the Farmers spoiled the Panthers’ chances of a home field victory. The Panthers however, made a strong offensive showing, led by Clayton Archuleta, Zach Harriman, Jacob Wiggins and Charlie Whitehead.
On their second possession, the Panthers drove the ball downfield executing a solid mix of running and passing plays. The drive began on the Panthers’ 8-yard line. Facing a third and fourteen, Whitehead’s 22-yard screen pass to Harriman gave the Cats a first and ten at their 44-yard line. The next play, Whitehead scrambled out of his pocket for a 9-yard completion to Wiggins. The Cat QB again dropped back and threw to Archuleta for a first down to the Farmer 29-yard line. Facing a third and twelve, Archuleta came through again with a 13-yard completion, keeping the drive alive. The Panthers drove inside the 5-yard line for a first and goal, but on the subsequent play a fumble turned the ball over to the Farmers. Quarterback Brandon Paulson then executed an almost flawless 88-yard drive which resulted in a 65-yard touchdown pass to freshman Colton Cooley. Cooley has the distinction of scoring the first touchdown at the new Panther complex, a notoriety the Cats would like to forget. The Farmers found pay dirt again before the Panthers scored.
The first Panther score came from the efforts of several John Mall athletes off a mixture of short passes and impressive runs. The Panthers’ first score came off an 8-yard touchdown pass to Dominic Wiggins ending a six-game scoreless streak which extended from last season. The point after failed and the Panthers found themselves right back in the game trailing 15-6 with 2:56 remaining in the half.
The Farmers found themselves in scoring territory once again when Paulson found receiver Eric Paulasio in the Panther secondary for a 46-yard reception to the Cat sixteen with 35 ticks remaining. Three Cats broke up two pass attempts in the end zone before Paulson scrambled to the left side and scored with twenty-two seconds remaining in the half, giving the Farmers a 21-6 halftime lead.
The Farmers’ first possession of the second half resulted in a touchdown putting the Panthers three TD’s behind. The never-say-die Panthers took to the field and put together an inspiring drive, putting new life in the Panther spirit. Whitehead helped to drive the Panthers’ offense downfield but faced a fourth and twenty-three at the twenty-fourth. Whitehead’s completion to Wiggins gave the Panthers a first and goal from the one. One play later, Whitehead snuck the ball over, narrowing the deficit 28-14. This would be as close as they would get. The Panthers’ defense struggled throughout the second half surrendering large runs up the middle of the line.
Even though the Panthers fell to defeat, there were many positive aspects of the game. The offense executed most of their plays without error. Archuleta and Wiggins have the breaking speed which can turn a broken play into a large gain. The Panthers’ smaller line could not contain the Farmer line which allowed pressure on Whitehead, but his scrambling abilities made for some exciting action.
Give these young men a few weeks of experience and the Panthers will surprise their critics. The talent is there.
Redskins dominate Primero
by David Tesitor
LA VETA- The Redskins opened their 2009 season with an imposing victory over the Bulldogs Friday night, 50-12, before an excited hometown crowd. The Skins gave those in attendance an explosive offensive show coupled with a strong defensive effort. La Veta scored on drives of sixty-five, fifty-one, fourteen, forty-eight, ninety-two and thirty-five yards. Their defense had eight sacks in the game, forced three fumbles and had a safety when seniors Jessie Pacheco and Trey Price tackled Brandon McDonald in the end zone.
On the first play of the game, the Skins set the pace when senior quarterback Ron Ortivez connected with Dakota Mason for a 65-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed, and La Veta took the early lead with 18 seconds off the clock. The Redskin defense held the Dogs and took over on downs but failed in their second possession to score, turning the ball over on downs. It was the Dogs’ turn to put on an offensive show when Brandon McDonald connected with brother Willie for a 67-yard touchdown. Several missed assignments and tackles contributed to the long scoring drive. This was the most offense Primero had as the Redskins’ defense shut them down the rest of the game.
La Veta saw the end zone on their next drive four plays later off the strong arm of Ortivez who completed a 15-yard pass to Matt Hammernik and a 32-yard completion to Dalton Mason. Ortivez capped the drive with a 17-yard left side sweep then a cut to the inside for the score. Price also contributed to the offensive explosion with touchdown runs of 35 and 2 yards. Hammernik also saw pay dirt with a 15-yard completion. Ortivez also ran in his second touchdown from seven.
Defensively, Jessie Pacheco led all tacklers and also recovered a Dog fumble. He had four assisted sacks which contributed to La Veta’s dominating victory.
La Veta struggled with some missed calls and assignments, allowing three offensive drives to stall. With the victory, the Skins learned from their mistakes and have a week to correct them. They will travel to Manzanola tomorrow to take on the Farmers.
Weekend net action
by David Tesitor
Huerfano- There was plenty of volleyball action this weekend when both the Panthers and Redskins saw competition. The Panthers opened their season at home against the Custer County Cougars and fell in three games, 22-25, 25-17 and 9-15. The young ladies gave up points to serve which contributed to their loss. According to Coach Mike Vigil, “It’s hard to win when you give up as many points off our serve as we did.” He went on to say that he had great expectations for the weekend tournament.
The next Saturday, the Panthers hosted seven teams, including the Redskins from La Veta. The Skins and Cats finished second and third respectively. In the first round John Mall opened against Dolores Huerta and had little trouble disassembling the Scorpions, 25-11, 22-25 and 15-13. La Veta, playing in the opposite pool, had little trouble defeating Des Moines (NM) 25-10 and 25-8. The victories allowed both teams to advance into the placement rounds.
The second rounds saw an equal amount of excitement and disappointment for both area schools. The Panthers had the daunting task of facing Center, the ultimate tournament winners, falling in two games 25-12 and 25-8. The ladies could not keep up with the hard hitting Vikings. In the other bracket, the Skins defeated Antonito easily 25-22 and 25-14.
The third round pitted the Panthers against Manzanola. Their victory, 25-10 and 25-15, put the Lady Panthers in the third place bracket. They went on to defeat the Del Norte Tigers in three games to claim third. All the Lady Panthers saw plenty of playing time and everyone contributed to their success.
La Veta defeated the Tigers to advance into the championship bracket, 18-25, 27-25 and 15-10. According to Coach Bree Lessar, “This was a hard fought match. All the teams we’ve played are in our league and all were in the Regional Tournament.” The Skins’ victory pitted them against the Vikings, another league foe. It came down to the wire in this seesaw battle against the league’s best teams.
La Veta won the first game 25-21 in a battle which saw very few mistakes. The Vikings came alive in the second in a match which saw the score change several times. In the end, La Veta lost 24-26. The rubber game was marred with poor officiating and missed calls. In the end, La Veta lost 15-17 in a game which saw the Vikings take the final three points. In the game, the solid serving of the entire team allowed only one fault point.
While the two area teams did not square off against one another, they will have their chance September 15 when the Skins travel to Walsenburg. The Panthers will first travel to Rocky Ford tonight with action beginning at 4 pm, then on Saturday to Fountain Valley. La Veta will be in Del Norte tonight at 5 pm and in Sanford this Saturday beginning at 10 am.
Cheerleading Camp set
by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG– The Warrior cheerleading squad will host a day camp this Saturday from 10 to 4 pm at the Civic Park on Pinon Street. The La Veta cheerleaders will take time out of their busy schedules to teach the young girls new pom-pom routines. If you would like to participate in this event please call Serena Andreatta at 738-3139 (h) or 821-9733 (c). All are welcome. They hope to see you there!