Football Team Still Bracing for Playoffs
Last Friday, the Panthers ended their regular season play at home under the Friday Night Lights during a frigid evening.
The game was quickly coined the “Panther Snow Bowl 2022” by fans as the field was still covered in snow from the small winter storm that struck the area the night before.
The game featured another tough defensive match that was basically decided in the final minutes of the game with a 14-0 Panther loss. However, the game stayed close throughout the contest and the stands were still packed, even with temperatures that hovered right around freezing.
And regarding the good news: The Panthers will still most likely see postseason play for the first time in more than two decades. As the time of this article writing, the official playoff schedule had not been determined. However, fans and school staff were all convinced that the Panthers would still play a playoff game this week.
The Panthers officially finished their regular season with an overall record of 6-3 and a league record of 3-2, which marks the team’s first winning season in recent years. With the Panthers’ loss to Florence and Alamosa, the boys ranked third in their tough 2A League 7.
The game started off with a Panther fumble that seemed to stick the Panthers with horrible field advantage for the majority of the game. The first half of the game pretty much looked the same as the Alamosa Mean Moose would get the ball in the center of the field and then the Panthers would stop them.
Alamosa would then punt leaving the Panthers buried deep in their own territory. Then when the Panthers went to punt, Alamosa would again get the ball in the center of the field.
The game actually went back and forth like this for basically the entire first half leading to a 0-0 score at the half. Then, the momentum started to change in Alamosa’s favor in the third quarter.
As soon as the second half started, the Mean Moose defense made a big play when they intercepted a Panther pass and got the ball on Woodland Park’s 22-yard line. Alamosa made it into the red zone, but then turned the ball over when they missed a field goal on fourth down.
The Panthers were then forced to punt, giving the ball back to the Alamosa offense. The Mean Moose then made a long running play to put them on the Panther 3-yard line. Shortly after, Alamosa was the first to put points up on the board with a rushing touchdown and extra point making the score 7-0 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Panther offense continued to struggle and they were forced to punt once again. When the Mean Moose got the ball back, luck really started to run out for the Panthers.
Alamosa’s offense got more aggressive and started passing just about every play. The Panthers were doing a decent job holding them until the team got riddled with two pass interference penalties, both on third downs that many fans labeled as “really bad calls” by the refs.
Alamosa then made a long pass with around two minutes left in the game to put them on the one yard line. The Mean Moose scored with a running play and put up the extra point to make the score 14 to zip.
The team’s star quarterback, junior Bryce Broeker, ended his regular season play with 22 completions out of 49 attempts and 250 rushing yards over 79 carries. And while playing defensive end, Broeker also made a total of 28 tackles and four sacks. Broeker was also the team’s punter on special teams and he kicked 15 punts for 561 yards.
Senior Aiden Hernandez also proved to be a star on both sides of the ball. Hernandez ran for 501 yards over 83 carries, and crossed the goal line seven times. On defense, Hernandez picked up eight sacks and 54 tackles.
Sophomore Aidan Hood was the second best rusher on the team with 66 carries for 347 yards. Junior Griffin King led the team on catching passes with 8 receptions for 112 yards.
Even though the results were not out by press time, the general consensus around Panther Stadium was that the Panthers would be competing in a playoff game, but most likely it would occur on the road. And, there is a good chance that the Panthers will travel to Alamosa to play the Mean Moose for the second week in a row. Prior to last week’s loss, the Panthers were ranked ninth statewide and the Mean Moose were ranked eighth.