Panthers pound Mavericks but playoff push ends
The Middle Park High School football team mauled the Mead Mavericks, 49-8, last Thursday night in Granby to take care of business needed to qualify for a wildcard berth in the 16 team, 2A state playoffs.
The win propelled the Panthers to 6-4 overall and third in the Flatirons Conference behind Faith Christian and Bishop Machebeuf, but it was not enough to earn a wild-card slot.
“I am really proud of how our kids played Thursday night and how they finished the season. We are definitely on a roll right now and wish we could keep playing,” said Head Coach Troy Schmidt. “Obviously we would like to have a few games back, but I thought our young kids learned what it takes to compete at a play-off level during the last half of the season and we cannot wait until next year.”
That level of football had the Panthers up 35-0 with over nine minutes left in the first half. The Panthers dominated all phases of the game by gaining over 490 yards of total offense (including 101 yards through the air), holding Mead to under 150 yards of offense, and dominating the special teams play.
“I really thought we put a complete game together for the first time,” said Schmidt. “Our running offense is designed to make big pass plays and those pass plays open up our running game. We were hitting on all cylinders last Thursday.”
The offense was led by sophomore quarterback John Stensvad who threw for 101 yards and three touchdowns.
Stensvad also added five extra-points and executed a “perfect on-side kick early in the game,” said Schmidt. The recipient of all Stensvad touchdown passes was junior Adam Weaver had a “break-out receiving performance,” according to Schmidt.
Junior Sam Little added 115 yards of rushing and scored two touchdowns of his own including an exciting 36 yard scamper into the end-zone behind the left side of the Panther offense. Junior Brian Macchione had the longest run of the night when he blasted 73 yards up the middle for a crowd-pleasing touchdown run, and senior Marc Schmidt ended up with 156 yards rushing and also scored a touchdown for the Panthers.
Several young players contributed to the Panther total with junior Simeon Anderson adding 20 yards, sophomore Brendan Jackson with 17 yards of his own, Kale Heckerson pounding for 6 yards, and junior Tyler Wahldecker finishing with 4 yards.
The Panther defense had another great week as they shut down the dangerous triple-option offense of Mead. The Middle Park defense was led again by Macchione who had eight tackles (one for a loss) and a forced fumble that was recovered by sophomore Nick Brynoff who nearly scored on the recovery but was forced out of bounds inside the Mead 5 yard-line. Brynoff also added seven tackles on the night. Schmidt had eight tackles while sophomore Henry Southway was also credited with seven on the night.
“Henry has come a long way and has been key on our defense the last half of the season allowing us to move other players around and make us a much better team,” said Schmidt. Heckerson and freshman Hugh Campbell also made five tackles while Wahldecker had five tackles and a pass defended. Sophomore Mike Retzer made five tackles along with freshman Skyler Anderson. Junior Simeon Anderson defended a pass and finished with four tackles.
It was another game in which every member on the team got to play and “was another great team win by everyone on the roster,” added Schmidt. “We continue to build our program with a team that is full of a bunch of great kids who have bought into our system. I would not trade a single one of them.”
The Middle Park Panther football team would like to thank the entire community for your support and look forward to an even better year next year.
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