Panthers retain Trail Ridge Trophy |

Panthers retain Trail Ridge Trophy

Middle Park junior Blake Weimer (with ball) runs in a touchdown following an interception during the first half of the Friday night game against Estes Park. The Panthers trounced the Bobcats 51-6 to retain the Trail Ridge Trophy for another year.
Lance Maggart / Sky-Hi News |

The Trail Ridge Road Trophy will be staying in Granby for another year.

Friday night, Sept. 2, the Middle Park High School (MPHS) Panthers football team defeated the Estes Park Bobcats with a decisive win that saw the team’s defense chalk up 20 points as the boys cruised to an easy 51-6 victory.

The game got off to a quick start with Middle Park racking up 35 points before the end of the first quarter as Estes Park struggled to respond. The Panther’s defense kept the Bobcat’s offense on the field for much of the first half as Middle Park repeatedly intercepted passes, pressured Estes Park’s quarterback and generally sowed confusion on the opposing side. The Estes Park Bobcats had no answer for the Panther’s aggressive and dominate play until the fourth quarter when Middle Park’s rivals managed their one and only touchdown of the game.

It was a big night for senior linebacker Mitch Gardner who scored two defensive touchdowns, one on an interception and one following a fumble. Junior defensive back Blake Weimer also scored a touchdown while playing on defense. Weimer completed a 40-yard run following an interception to put six more up for Middle Park. Junior Dustin Wyatt added to the Panther’s defensive tally with a two-point safety.

In total the Panther’s defense recorded five interceptions on Friday including one by Blake Weimer, one by Ben Kuhnel, one by Ricky Mills, one by Sam Colley and two by Mitch Gardner. Dustin Wyatt led the Panther’s defense with a total of three solo tackles Friday night and one assist. Seven other Panther defensemen recorded solo tackles. Sophomore Ben Kuhnel and senior Mitch Gardner tied for most assisted tackles Friday night with four while junior Will DeLay logged three assisted tackles.

Aside from the outstanding defensive performance last week the Panther’s offense continued to dominate the field. Weimer led things for the offense racking up a total of 182 all-purpose yards including 117 rushing yards over 15 carries at an average of 7.8 yards-per-carry. Along with Weimer’s pick-six on defense he scored on rushing touchdown on offense. He was aided in his efforts by senior Benji Jacobs who also scored a rushing touchdown on offense.

Junior quarterback Sam Colley accounted for two of Friday’s touchdowns including one 15-yard rushing touchdown. Colley completed six passes on 10 attempts for a total of 41-yards including one 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Ben Kuhnel. Kuhnel completed two passing receptions on Friday for a total of 30-yards with one touchdown. Senior Mitch Gardner also managed to pull in three passes Friday night for a total of 17-yards receiving.

The Panther’s kicker, senior Elliot Shaw, had a perfect game Friday night going seven for seven on Point After Touchdown (PAT) kicks. In all the Panther’s racked up a total of 271 offensive yards.

The game against Estes Park last week marks the Panther’s second straight win this season. The boys from Middle Park will face off against The Academy Wildcats of Westminster this Fri. Sept. 9 for their next game, which will once again be held at MPHS. The Panther’s first three games this season will be held at home before an extended series of road games. After this Friday the Panther’s will not play at home again until the Homecoming game against Arvada on Oct. 7.

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