Pigskin Season Crumbles After Stellar Start
~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Heartbreakers don’t count in high school football. If they did, the Woodland Park Panthers would be one rich football team.
Last week, the WP Panthers’ football team fell again, this time in a close one against the Englewood Pirates.
It is now official: The Panthers have lost four games in a row after they succumbed to the Pirates on the road by a close 12-10 score.
The Panthers gave their fans an early thrill when they came into the shortened pandemic season and won their first two games to start the year. They even snagged attention as a team to watch in the region.
But then, their momentum changed and they started losing games consistently. One of the big hurdles initially dealt with the reality of the Panthers playing great powerhouse squads due to a fluctuating coronavirus schedule.
The Panthers’ coach Joe Roskam expressed his disappointment, following last week’s losing effort. “Terrible!” the coach exclaimed, in describing the bout of losses. “Yeah because we lost again to two terrible teams! But we did kick a 51-yard field goal!”
The coach was referring to a drive in the second quarter of the game when the Panthers were down 12-0. The offense tried to get towards the red zone but they fell short and then started losing yards to get moved back down the field. Fourth down came around and Junior Panther Kicker Alex Vonderharr put the long shot through the uprights to put the Panthers on the board for the first time in the game.
Even though the game’s score was close and this season has been very different than previous years, their coach was still not happy with the way the team has been performing. “It shouldn’t have been close; that’s the problem,” Roskam said. “I don’t want to make any excuses. It is what it is. We are ok. We just have to get better, I guess. We just got to perform, line up and play and execute and we just didn’t do that.”
The Panthers did perform pretty well defensively as they only gave up two touchdowns all game. The defense kept Englewood from scoring in the entire second half so they didn’t add any points to their halftime score of 12-3.
The team also had one player on injury reserve after a hit during the game against Centauri that forced Senior Linebacker /Center Darren Genger to get carted off the field by emergency services staff. According to Roskam, Genger was ok after the hit but he did not play in the game against Englewood last week due to suffering from an ankle injury.
The offense appeared to liven up a little in the second half, but they just could not put up enough points on the board. The Panthers did score a touchdown in the second half when Junior Quarterback Mason Pyles threw a pass to Senior Wide Receiver Tyler Baldus to make the score 12-10. No more scoring would occur during the bout.
With the Panthers 2-4 overall record and 1-3 league record, they fell to fourth place in their 2A West League. Moffat County took first place in the league with an undefeated league record. Delta took second, and Englewood grabbed third place with 2-1 league records. Elizabeth and Middle Park both fell behind Woodland Park in the standings
Final Game Of Coronavirus Season Slated For Friday
Even though the Panthers did not get a good enough record to see post-season play, their season is still not yet over. According to the coach, the team will be playing against the winless Widefield Gladiators at home this Friday at 6 p.m.
This Friday, the Panthers have a big chance to redeem themselves during their last game of 2020 even though the game means nothing as far as the playoff scene goes. Since the Gladiators have not won a game this year, the Panthers should emerge as the victors this Friday. That could become a boost for ther graduating Panther seniors, so they can finish off their last season in winning style.