Middle Park football hungry for league title, playoff appearance
Sky-Hi News intern
Middle Park football went on the road last Friday, Oct. 7, and routed the Jefferson Saints 60-0 in their second 1A League 5 matchup of the season, following a 33-7 victory over the Denver Christian Thunder on Sept. 30. The Panthers had a 46-point lead going into halftime against the Saints. Forest Schofield threw for 107 yards on 8 attempts with 2 touchdowns, finishing the game with a 145.8 quarterback rating.
Zane Martinez put 65 yards on the ground and tallied 132 all-purpose yards in the game, including one interception. It wasn’t just the seniors who put on a show against the Saints. On offense, sophomore Marques Pasillas had two touchdowns, and junior Garret Gillested recorded a pick six for the Panthers defense as well as a rushing touchdown. Juniors Eli Brody and Dante Franks also put up some numbers. Brody racked up six tackles, and Franks added a rushing touchdown and 3 tackles.
Coach Ryan Ledford said he had one goal for his players coming into the season: to compete for a league championship. So far, the Panthers are undefeated in league games. The team’s game against Strasburg Friday, Oct. 14, is the biggest test of the season and will likely be make or break for the team’s league goal.
Ledford has focused on the team’s resiliency throughout the season. He explained that the boys have turned it around, after starting off 1-3. The team has now found its groove, allowing only 7 points in the last 2 games and scoring 93 points against league opponents.
The theme of the season has been rolling with the punches. After losing two senior linemen, Asbai Paddilla and Nick Forquer, to injury, Ledford said he was proud of how underclassmen have stepped into their roles, noting how sophomore DJ Kohlwey played for the injured Padilla.
“The homecoming game (against Denver Christian) was the best game that panthers had played,” said Ledford. “The offensive line blocked well when we ran the ball and the pass protection was great.”
In a team effort, eight Middle Park players have scored touchdowns this year, with senior Zane Martinez leading the team in scores. Zane has five touchdowns and 688 all-purpose yards so far this year.
The Panthers are currently first in the 1A League 5. In the remaining three games, Middle Park will face league opponents in Strasburg, Platte Canyon and Clear Creek. Strasburg will come to the Panther Pit Friday, with kickoff at 7 p.m. under the lights. They’ll go on the road next week to face Platte Canyon Oct. 22, and the final game of the season will be against Clear Creek at home at 1 p.m. on Oct. 29.
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