Controversy Mars Panther Loss
MONUMENT- The John Mall Panthers traveled to face the Bears of Palmer Ridge last Fri. Sept. 12 and walked away with a heartbreaking 17-14 loss. This was the best outing for the young Panther squad, but controversial calls at the end of the game may have cost the Cats their first win of the season.
After playing defensively the first quarter, the Bears opened the second quarter with a touchdown drive. This was immediately answered by the Panthers off a Steve Ruiz 11-yard run to tie the game up at 7. Another Panther drive failed later that quarter after a 49-yard TD Panther pass was called back for holding. If allowed, the score would have given the Panthers the lead for good. Neither of these teams found a way to score until the fourth quarter when the Bears connected on a 29-yard field goal with 9:21 remaining in the game to give them a 10-7 advantage. Digging deep and looking for a way to win, the Panther offense drove the ball down the field when Charlie Whitehead handed the ball to Ruiz who then ran 36 yards for the touchdown and the lead. The Cat’s defense then took over, forcing an interception on the next drive, but a subsequent fumble on the return gave the ball back to the Bears on their 34-yard line. This was enough of a boost for their offense as they drove the ball the length of the field, capping off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:17 remaining.
Whitehead then took the Panther offensive machine to the field looking for a winning drive. It began on the Panther 22-yard line. A holding call pushed the Cats back, but on the next play, Whitehead passed to Clayton Archuletta putting the Panthers on the 28- yard line with third and four. Whitehead then ran the ball himself sweeping the Bear weak side to the 35-yard line and a first down. A flag was thrown out of bounds in what was an apparent personal foul, but when officials stepped in and marked the ball at the 31 and picked up the flag, Coach Ken Berger protested to no avail. The Panthers faced a four and one and the game. Whitehead, out of the shotgun, dropped to pass the long one, connecting to Archuletta at the Bear 23-yard line with 17 seconds remaining in the game. A quick starting clock began which forced Whitehead to spike the ball to force the clock to stop. Instead, an intentional grounding flag was thrown against the Cats putting them five yards back and out of Whitehead’s field goal range. Opting to go for the win, Whitehead dropped back to pass, but it was dropped, ending the game and the comeback drive.
The Panthers will face Peyton tomorrow, Friday Sept. 19, for homecoming. They will be looking for revenge and their first win of the season.
Farmers Circle the Wagons — Ward off Redskin Attack
LA VETA- Hoehne came to La Veta looking for a battle. In the end, the Farmers emerged victorious in an offensive free-for-all, 46-26. This was the Redskins’ first loss of the season. La Veta received the opening kickoff but was unable to move the ball, going three and out. The Farmers began their drive on their own 35-yard line and in usual Hoehne style, pounded the middle for three straight first downs. The drive culminated with a 22-yard sweep by Cody Roberts. The two-point conversion gave the Farmers the early 8-0 lead. The Redskins answered on the next drive with a touchdown of their own off a Ron Ortivez 40-yard sweep to the left side. The conversion tied the game at 8. On Hoehne’s next possession, quarterback Manuel Pedraza led the Farmers down field when an option sweep to Roberts for 30 yards gave Hoehne the lead with 1:01 in the first. On the ensuing kickoff, Jake Ferrari took the kickoff 58 yards to begin the drive. Two plays later, La Veta hit pay dirt and the quarter ended with Hoehne leading the Skins, 16-14.
The Farmers began their third possession off a Graham Kephart kickoff return to the Redskin 25-yard line. Four plays later, the Farmers scored again when Kephart ran the ball in from the four. The two-point conversion succeeded, and the Skins trailed the Farmers 24-14. After an Ortivez interception, Hoehne took over again and scored right before the half ended, giving the Farmers a 32-14 lead.
When both teams took the field for the second half, the high-powered offensive show continued as both teams continued to drive up the field and score. La Veta however could not catch up as the Farmers scored on every drive. Two costly turnovers late in the third quarter and early fourth shifted the momentum to the visitors. A late score near the end of the game by the Redskins was not enough as Hoehne handed La Vetas their first loss of the season.
The game saw plenty of action as both teams put up close to nine hundred yards of total offense. Redskin quarterback Ortivez ran the offense like a well-tuned machine. For the Skins, Ortivez had 121 yards rushing and 76 yards passing. Jake Ferrari rushed for 30 and received 20 yards. Stephen Kimbrel ran for 19 and had 7 yards receiving. Trey Price rushed for 56 yards and Dakota Mason caught six passes for 49 yards.
La Veta’s next opponent is Sangre De Cristo tomorrow night. Kickoff is slated for 7 pm. This will be the Redskins’ homecoming game.
Next stop: Regional
ROCKY FORD– The John Mall Panther golfers took top honors on Sat. Sept. 13 at the Meloneers Invitational Tournament, shooting a team score of 242. Greg Bobian took individual honors with a three-over-par score of 75. Teammates Justin Eccher and Steve Rodriguez placed third and fourth with scores of 83 and 84. Many of the same teams which participated in the Meloneers Invitational played in the John Mall tournament the day before. The Cats placed third in their tournament.
Last Tuesday, the Cats went to Rye for the final tournament of the season. Results were not available at press time. The season caps off next Tuesday with the Regional tournament, also to be played at Hollydot in Rye.
PUEBLO- The fifth and sixth grade warriors played Rye on Sunday. The T-Bolts ran back a touchdown immediately upon the start of game. The Warrior defense held the T-Bolts scoreless until the third quarter when they managed another TD and PAT. Despite playing great defense, the Warriors were unable to get their offense moving and lost 14-0. They are 3-2 for the season.
In the third and fourth grade game, Rye scored a TD in the first quarter with the PAT blocked. In the second quarter, Alex Berger scored a TD for the Warriors, and the PAT failed. Rye scored another touchdown. The point after failed, and the T-Bolts led at the half, 12-6. After a scoreless third quarter, Rye got on the boards again. Warrior Tim Pacheco answered back with a TD for the Warriors. The T-Bolts scored in the fourth making the final score 30-12. This is the first loss of the season for the third and fourth grade team.
Coal Mining Champ
WALSENBURG- Gary Vezzani of Walsenburg claimed the title in the eighteenth annual 2008 Coal Mining Classic and Senior Open last Sunday. The Coal Mining Classic and Senior Open combined forces in 2006, a year when Vezzani also won.
The tournament was originally scheduled in July, but organizers changed the date because too few participants registered in July. For Gary Vezzani, the victory was worth the wait. Luis Marquez finished second in the first flight and Chris Bush finished third. In the second flight, Louis Vigil took top honors while Andy Farris finished second and Leo Sager finished third. John Galusha finished first in the third flight.
This weekend’s tournament capped off a successful golfing season at the Walsenburg Golf Course.
Cats Lose Home Opener
Editor’s note: The following article reports on the Panther’s second game on September 5. Due to a mix-up last week, this article was not published in the September 11 Journal.
WALSENBURG- The John Mall Panthers made adjustments to their offense from the previous week, but their efforts fell short when the final horn sounded as they dropped their second game of the season to the Center Vikings 34-24. The Panther’s first play of the game saw freshman Steve Riuz carry the ball for 26 yards, giving the Cats hope for a quick offensive series, but the Cats had trouble moving the ball and went three and out, forcing them to punt to the Vikings. Center’s ensuing drive was meticulously executed as they drove the ball 76 yards for the game’s opening score when senior Eric Martinez took the option pitch from A.J. Garcia seven yards for the score. The Viking offense converted three first downs in their drive for the goal line as the Panther defense had trouble controlling Garcia and the option.
The Vikings found the promised land again at 7:26 in the second quarter when Luis Vasquez scored on a five-yard sweep. The two-point conversion was made and the Vikings led 14-0. The Panthers finally found pay dirt late in the second quarter after a solid drive when quarterback Jacob Wigging kept the ball on a five-yard run for the score, giving the Panthers a 14-6 halftime deficit.
It was the Cats who opened third-quarter scoring when Clayton Archuletta scampered 55 yards down the sideline for the score. The conversion attempt failed, and the Panthers saw themselves trailing 14-12. It was beginning to look like the Cats were in the game, but some missed defensive plays and two straight unanswered touchdowns put the Vikings ahead for good 28-12. The Panthers would not give up though as Charlie Whitehead’s powerful arm was called into service, connecting with Dominik Pino for a 25-yard TD pass. There was hope for the Cats who were trailing 28-18, but a quick Viking touchdown midway in the fourth seemed to put the game out of reach. The Panthers would not give up, scoring one last time to close out the scoring.
The Panthers traveled to Monument Fri. Sept. 12 to face the Palmer Ridge Bears. The Bears compete in Class 4A ball which proved to be a true test for the Panthers. See the details in this week’s Journal article.