MPHS football: Team sees improvement, not loss |

MPHS football: Team sees improvement, not loss

Despite losing 31-7 in last Friday’s home game, Middle Park High’s football team can be proud of its best defensive performances in years against top-ranked Faith Christian.

In last year’s game, the Panthers fell to the Eagles 49-0. That was an improvement over the 2006 game when Middle Park got stomped 72-0 by Faith Christian.

“We’re progressing,” said Coach Marc Loberg. “We’d have liked it to be even closer, but it showed our defense is getting stronger with every game.”

The Eagles, currently ranked sixth in the state, are well known for running up the score on their opponents. However, in Friday game, the Panther defense was able to limit them to only two touchdowns each in the first and second quarters.

In the second half, Middle Park’s defense proved itself to be even tougher, allowing Faith Christian only three points in a field goal in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was the Panthers’ best because they completely squashed all attempts by the Eagles to score.

Not only did they hold their opponents scoreless in that final quarter, but an interception and 54-yard return by Middle Park junior Jordan Reynolds scored the Panthers’ first touchdown against Faith Christian in five years. Reynolds then followed it with a picture-perfect kick through the goalposts for the extra point.

“That was our first defensive touchdown in a game since 2005,” Loberg said. “It was fantastic.”

While Middle Park’s offense was unable to break through Faith Christian’s rock-solid defense, the Panthers did show marked improvement against the Eagles.

“In last year’s game against Faith Christian, we earned only three first-downs,” Loberg said. “This year, we set a goal of making at least seven against them. In Friday’s game, we actually made nine first-downs. We’re starting to figure it out.”

Along with Reynolds’ interception-and-touchdown run, the most memorable play for the Panthers took place just before halftime when they almost scored. A reverse pass by Reynolds to Justin Cisneros was caught, but then a bobbled pitch, fumble and a recovery by Middle Park left the ball short of the goal line.

“We were able to pass against Faith Christian and completed four of them,” Loberg said. “But the thing we’ve got to further improve on is cutting down the number of our turnovers. We had four in Friday’s game, and when you play a top-10 team, you can’t afford to turn the ball over that many times.”

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