Panthers get manhandled by undefeated Conifer Mac McClintock

The Woodland Park Panthers found themselves completely outmatched Friday against undefeated Conifer in a difficult home football duel.

From the outset, the Panthers faced tough odds.

The Lobos where able to jump out to a 7-point lead within the first minute with a drive that was capped off by a 1 yard run by Conifers quarterback Matt Aceto. Then after a less than fruitful drive by Woodland Park, Conifer got the ball back, but not for long as Micheal Gibbs made an amazing diving grab to intercept the ball.

Woodland Park’s offensive was not able to do anything with the ball after the Gibbs interception and gave it right back to Conifer. Then the play that killed all of Woodland Park’s hopes struck with a vengeance.

Aceto, who was given great protection, connected on a deep 65-yard touchdown pass that put the Lobos up 14-0. Woodland Park needed to put points on the board on their next drive, and they were was able to do just that.

Senior running back Dominic Roskam provided the offensive force by garnering a 65-yard touchdown run, which would bring Woodland Park within seven points. The Panthers after the touchdown were able to hold the powerful Conifer offense at bay, but then the Lobos punter was able to pin Woodland Park at the one yard line with the help of some less than stellar officiating, as Conifer’s kick coverage team clearly touched the ball in the end zone.

The Panthers then ran the ball three times and gained minimal yardage. They were forced to punt, but weren’t able to handle the snap and ended up taking a safety, giving them a 16-7 deficit.

After the safety the Lobos got the ball back with great field position. Conifer did not waste this opportunity and drove right down the field on Woodland Park and capped off their drive with another 1-yard touchdown run by Aceto, his third touchdown of the first half.

Woodland Park went into halftime trailing by a score of 22-7 and needed to make some pretty big adjustments to get back into the game.

At the beginning of the second half, Woodland Park incurred another failed offensive drive, giving the ball right back to Conifer. The Lobos could smell blood and drove down the field and score a decisive touchdown to go up 29-7. After this last Conifer touchdown Woodland Park apparently lost all of their momentum and was dead in the water. Neither team would score again in the third quarter. It was not until the fourth quarter that the Panthers showed some life.

Once again, Roskam gave the offense a boost scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run. Woodland Park would make the extra point, something they could not do all last week. The Panthers defense then looked like they were going to stop Conifer and may mount a final comeback.

But on fourth down, the Panther defense roughed the kicker, which killed their chances of a making a final stand. This s a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down. After being given a first down, Conifer threw a quick screen pass that went for 50 yards and set them up for another Aceto touchdown run.

That would make the score 36-14 and that also would be the final score.

On the upside, this wasn’t a huge loss for the Panthers, as it was not a game many pigskin experts would have picked for them to win.

Still, this defeat hurts because the Panthers now have lost back to back games and their overall record is 1-2. Next week Woodland Park goes on the road to face Sierra at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. According to most preliminary reports, this could be a highly contested game.

Volleyball and Soccer updates
As far as other sports in Woodland Park, the volleyball team lost their game against Pueblo West, three sets to zero.

But Pueblo West is ranked as the number eighth school in the state as far as volleyball.

The lady Panthers, though, were able to play with them in all three sets. The boys’ soccer team lost a rivalry game at home against Manitou by a score of 1-0.

The team still has made great strides this year, winning two games, which is more wins than they had the past two years combined. The girls softball team did not fare well against The Classical Academy and lost 16-5. That makes their overall record 3-6 and their league record 1-1. Overall it was a rough week for Panther sports as not a single team was able to put up a win.

The one bright sports star was the Panthers’ golf team, which won the 4A Metro League Championship last week (see related story).