Panther defense dominates to earn 2nd trophy in 2 weeks
Grand County, CO Colorado
The Middle Park Panther High School football team played dominating defense to overpower, 35-12, the Clear Creek Gold Diggers on Friday night, Sept. 10, at Panther Field in Granby.
“The defense played lights-out again,” said head coach Troy Schmidt. “The starting defense has yet to be scored on.”
And, for the second week in a row, every Panther player saw playing time and gained “priceless game experience for the future.”
The Panther defense this week was led by junior Brian Macchione who had a “monster game,” according to Schmidt. “He was taking on double teams all night long and still had 11 tackles, two for a loss, and a quarterback sack.”
Sophomore Nick Brynoff and senior Marc Schmidt led the team with 12 tackles each, juniors Adam Weaver and Tyler Wahldecker had nine tackles each, and sophomore Steven Kentfield, “Played awesome middle linebacker with eight tackles and great reads,” said Schmidt. “However, our unsung heroes were the defensive line who continually took on double teams to free up our linebackers to make plays,” said Schmidt. This includes juniors Daniel Arrellano and Garrett Norris, sophomores Dillon Berger, Kane Hutchinson, Mike Retzer, and freshman Jace Linke.
The Middle Park offense rattled off five consecutive touchdowns before Clear Creek could muster a score. The Panthers started the scoring early after a 45-yard-run by Schmidt, which was followed by a 20-yard touchdown scamper by sophomore quarterback Johnny Stensvad.
“Johnny’s athletic and running ability will open up our passing game tremendously,” said Schmidt.
On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Henry Southway made a great play speeding down the sideline to recover the football deep in Clear Creek territory. Junior Sam Little then scored on a 3-yard touchdown run followed by a two point conversion run by Macchione to make the score 14-0 early in the game.
The Panthers continued to pound the football on the ground with junior fullback Macchione, scoring on a run up the gut of 39 yards for a touchdown. Stensvad added the extra point to make it 21-0. After the defense got another “three and out” the next drive was highlighted by a 16 yard pass from Stensvad to Schmidt and another bruising touchdown run up the middle for 22 yards by Macchione. Stensvad again added the point after touchdown to make it 28-0 at halftime.
The Panther scoring was capped off by a nifty 6-yard touchdown run by Stensvad which he followed with the extra point making it 35-0. Clear Creek did score on a fumble recovery and a kickoff return in the 4th quarter to make the final score 35-12. The Panthers overwhelmed the Diggers with 335 yards of total offense versus only 97 for Clear Creek.
Schmidt had 13 carries for 118 yards, Macchione had 11 rushes for 109 yards, Stensvad ran four times for 49 yards and had the 16 yard pass to Schmidt, junior Sam Little had 7 carries for 25 yards, and Weaver “showed off his speed” on a 20 yard run after a bobbled punt snap.
This week the Panthers will host the No. 3 ranked team in the state, Platte Canyon.
“We are going to find out how good our young team is against a very well coached and tough Platte Canyon team,” said Schmidt. “The starting defense and its scoreless streak will definitely be in jeopardy against these guys. They have been playing for the state championship for the last 4 or 5 years.”
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West Grand seniors Rene Dominguez, right, and Angel Dominguez pass the baton during one of the nighttime relays at the 2021 Joe Shields Invitational at WGHS.