Photo by Credit Nolen Nareedokmai
The Woodland Park Panthers’ varsity football team now faces a 2-8 record and a 0-5 league mark after a disappointing loss to Canon City at home Friday night.
And unfortunately, the Panthers, which are clearly in a rebuilding stage, can’t shake off a winless drought.
Both teams entered the game desperately trying to end their losing streaks. Woodland Park was suffering from four losing games while Canon City incurred losses in six straight, even though they nearly beat one of the league’s premiere teams in a duel against Discovery Canyon.
Woodland Park started with the ball and snagged two first downs. But then on a third-and-long play, senior quarterback Christian Cox threw a costly interception. Canon City was able to capitalize on the Panthers’ turnover and quickly drove down the field, capping off the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to their senior wide receiver Micheal Green that would put the Tigers up 7-0 after the first quarter.
It was not until midway through the second quarter that the Woodland Park offense gained a little momentum. A Canon City fumble set the Panthers up in good field position. After a few short runs, Woodland found the end zone on a Christian Cox quarterback run. Woodland Park would tie the game at 7-7 with only a minute left in the half. With this touchdown and turnaround for the Panthers, it looked like the game would be tied at halftime.
But Canon City had different plans. The Tigers executed a great return, following a Panthers’ kickoff, and got the ball the WP 20-yard line. This kickoff return proved to be a key game- changer moment.
Initially, the defense held strong and appeared they may hold Canon City to a field goal. But when they faced a third-and-10 predicament, the Tigers found a way to get the ball into the end zone. They would miss the extra-point conversion and lead 13-7 at halftime.
During the second half, the Panthers clearly ran out of gas
Halfway through the third quarter, the Tigers found the end zone again this time via a run by their senior quarterback Zac Hanenberg, making the score 20-7. This seemed to be the killer blow for the Panthers. It appeared like it would be an impossible task for the Woodland Park offense to be able mount a comeback from a two score deficit.
The fourth quarter was not much better for the Panthers.
The Canon City offense was able to once again score. This latter score came from a beautiful catch-and-run by senior wide receiver Aaron McCoy. The ball was only thrown about five yards in the air, but after McCoy had the ball in his hands, he put the Panther defense on skates and his impressive breakaway speed left the Panthers in the dust as he scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass.
Towards the end of the game Woodland Park was able to put together a nice drive against Canon City’s prevent defense, capping that drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by junior fullback Josh Simpson. That would bring the score to 27-14, which amounted to the final verdict.
The Woodland Park Panthers have now has lost five games in a row. This Friday (Nov. 4), their chances don’t get any easier when they face an 8-1 Lewis-Palmer team. Lewis-Palmer just beat Falcon 38-8. This is another home game and marks the final pigskin contest of the year for the Panthers. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Woodland Park High School on Nov. 4.
The only remaining sport for the fall season last week was women’s volleyball. The lady Panthers went on the road to play their last game at Mesa Ridge.
The team was not able to win and lost 1-3. That brought their overall record to 11-12.
Fall sports winding to a conclusion
The fall season will conclude with the final Panthers’ football game against Lewis-Palmer. For most part, Woodland Park’s fall high school sports season has left some areas of improvement for the Panthers. Several of the teams have undergone tough rebuilding periods, with the loss of key veterans. Other than the golf team, which had a record-breaking year with their first-ever league title, no other Panther teams got into the playoffs. This is quite a change from last year.