Football: Holy Family smites Middle Park |

Football: Holy Family smites Middle Park

In last Friday’s final home game of the 2007 season, Middle Park High’s battle-scarred football team suffered a 57-0 shutout to Holy Family, one of the state’s top teams.

Bad luck continued to plague the Panthers who entered the game once again short of some of its key starters, who were sidelined due to injuries or illness.

“We’re still haven’t played a game this season with our whole squad,” said coach Marc Loberg. “Our starters Mitch Strang and Ben Shipman were unable to play last Friday. That’s a sixth of our starters this year. We’re not very deep this season.”

Holy Family’s Tigers, which have a 95-player program, were in top form Friday. After taking the opening kickoff, they quickly drove across the field. In a final three-yard push, they scored their first touchdown, followed by an extra-point kick.

Middle Park wanted to respond immediately, but a fumble on the kickoff return gave the ball back to Holy Family. On the first play, the Tigers quarterback threw a 26-yard pass to score, followed once again by a kick through the uprights for the extra point.

The Panthers attempted to move the ball on their next possession, but the Tiger defense was rock solid. The ball was eventually punted away allowing Holy Family’s offensive machine to begin rolling once again.

With 25 seconds left in the first quarter, the Tigers scored a third TD on a 26-yard rush that was once again followed by the inevitable extra-point kick.

Despite the best efforts of the Panther defense, the Tigers scored two more touchdowns and extra-point kicks in the second quarter. The Panther offense again did not have any success, even giving up the ball to an interception just before halftime.

Entering the third quarter, Middle Park took the opening kickoff, but quickly lost the ball to a fumble. Holy Family’s offense seized the opportunity and drove down the field to score. Two more TDs followed before that quarter ended.

The fourth quarter remained scoreless as Middle Park’s defense stopped Holy Family’s younger players from adding anything more to their team’s already enormous score.

While Friday’s shutout loss did not improve Middle Park’s season record, the team does have some impressive results compared to last year.

“Our offense continues to stay ahead of last year in points, rushing yards and passing yards,” Loberg said. “Our defense held our last three opponents to 46 fewer points than they scored against us last season. So we are improving as a team.”

Loberg had special praise for the team’s offensive linemen for their performance in Friday’s game.

“Rodney Garrett, Aaron Trainor, Mitch Sprague, Sam Damon and Aaron Wood had our best blocking game of the season,” he said. “On defense, Justin Cisneros and Jordan Reynolds made some great open field tackles. Zane Bickler had some solid tackles from our linebacker position.”

Also notable are the impressive league standings for individual Panthers, including:

– Mike Schmidt ” sixth in the league for rushing despite having missed three games due to injuries.

– Chad Sprague ” second in the league and seventh in the state for the number of receptions.

– Alex Morrow ” leads the league in tackles. For quarterback sacks, he is second in the league and sixth in the state.

“We’ve improved but we still need to cut down on the number of our turnovers,” Loberg said. “We’ve got to fix that this week.”

Middle Park High’s football players will be playing their final game of the 2007 season Saturday night in Aurora. They will be taking on Bishop Machebeuf’s Buffalos.

The opening kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday’s game will be held at the Aurora Public Schools Stadium, which is adjacent to Hinckley High School.

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