Middle Park slams Mead in final game
Granby, CO Colorado
GRANBY – The Middle Park High School Football team dominated a tough Mead team 34-14 on Friday night, Nov. 4. The game was not as close as the score would indicate as Mead added two late touchdowns in the final few minutes of the game against the Panther reserve defense.
The result pushed the Panthers record to 7-3, which is the most wins in 17 years for Middle Park. That record leaves the Panthers in the 17th spot by four-tenths of a point, with the state-playoffs only taking 16 teams.
“It is unfortunate because I think we are definitely better than quite a few playoff teams, but we didn’t get the job done in the close games we lost and that cost us,” said Head Coach Troy Schmidt. “We needed to finish those games. It hurts, but we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
Middle Park’s 3 losses were to Bennett in overtime 20-17, Academy 7-6, and Faith Christian 23-18.
In the Mead game, the Panthers started their dominance early by taking the opening drive of the game for over 75 yards. The drive was highlighted by senior Brian Macchione’s 59 yard run and senior Sam Little’s 11 yard touchdown run. Junior John Stensvad would have another perfect night of kicking, and he added the extra-point to make it 7-0 early.
The Panther defense would also establish itself early with a “three and out” on Mead’s first possession of the game.
“Our defense had their best game of the season. The defensive line played the most disciplined they ever have, line-backers made great reads and pass drops, and the secondary made great plays on passes,” said Schmidt.
The Panther offense would take over at their own 15 yard line and drive into Mead territory, but penalties forced a 40 yard punt by senior Adam Weaver. However, it was another “three and out” for Mead after Macchione’s huge tackle for a loss forced another Mead punt.
This time, the Panthers would not stop themselves and they would drive 66 yards in 6 plays led by Weaver’s 44 yard blast off the right side. Weaver would eventually score from 1 yard out and the kick by Stensvad made it 14-0.
On Mead’s second play of the ensuing drive, senior Simeon Anderson would intercept a Mead Pass and race down the left side-line to return the ball to Mead’s 10 yard line. Little would score from 1 yard out and Stensvad would add another extra-point to make the score 21-0.
The third play of Mead’s next drive saw them taking to the air again, but this time it was junior, Connor Jennings who intercepted a pass and returned it 29 yards for a “pick-six”. The kick by Stensvad made it 28-0.
Macchione would add another tackle for loss on Mead’s next series to force another “three and out” with only a few minutes remaining before halftime.
The Panther offense would drive down the field to Mead’s 14 yard line and call a time-out with two second remaining in the half. Stensvad would continue his perfect night of kicking by drilling a 31 yard field goal as time expired in the first half to make the score 31-0.
After Stensvad made the score 34-0 iwith a 3rd quarter field goal. the 4th quarter would see the Panther reserve players continue to play tough defense. However, Mead would score two late touchdowns, one after a successful onside kick to make the final score 34-14.
Macchione led the defense again and “had one of the best all-around football games I have ever seen,” according to Schmidt. He would end up with 8 solo tackles, 3 assists, 3 tackles for losses and a quarterback hurry. Stensvad would have 8 tackles, Jennings would add 7 along with his interception for a touchdown, junior Nick Brynoff, and sophomore Hugh Campbell would each add 5 tackles, with Brynoff having 1 tackle for a loss. Junior Cody Garrett had his best game of the year with one solo tackle and 4 assists for a total of 5 also.
The Panther offensive attack would be led by Macchione’s and Brynoff’s blocks and junior Kane Hutchinson who had a break-out game with multiple pancake blocks and hustle down field. Statistically, Weaver would lead the way with 14 carries for 137 yards and one touchdown and a 3 yard pass reception followed closely by Macchione’s 10 carries for 124 yards. Little would finish the night early after a gutsy performance with an injury to have 81 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. Southway would pick up the slack with 12 carries of his own for 61 yards and Eaton would finish with 6 carries for 10 yards. Middle Park amassed another impressive rushing total with over 400 yards on the ground.
The Panther football team would like to thank the community for its support.
“We are all disappointed about not making the playoffs, but most of our successes are not measured on the scoreboard,” said Schmidt. “This is a great bunch of young men that our community can be very proud of. … We learned un-believable life lessons during our roller-coaster season.”
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