Youthful Panther football team thumps Estes Park, brings home Trail Ridge Trophy |

Youthful Panther football team thumps Estes Park, brings home Trail Ridge Trophy

Special to the Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado
Courtesy photoThe 2010 Middle Park High School Panther football team.

With only one senior starting on either side of the football, the Middle Park High School football team throttled the Estes Park Bobcats 35-7 in Estes Park last Friday with a ground attack that amassed 470 yards.

“Our offensive line dominated and won the game for us,” said Coach Troy Schmidt.

The Panthers started a junior at center, Daniel Arrellano, sophomores Connor Jennings, Nick Brynoff, Mike Retzer and Kane Hutchinson at the guards and tackles. Junior Adam Weaver and sophomore Steven Kentfield started at the ends and had “tremendous blocks all night long,” according to Schmidt. “The O-line was great – I am very proud of the effort they all put out and Kane (Hutchinson) had three awesome pancake blocks.”

The Panthers controlled the first quarter on offense and defense but had nothing to show for it after turning the ball over multiple times and committing several penalties.

“Turnovers and penalties are the only negatives from this game,” said Schmidt, “but the good news is that they are easily correctable.”

Finally in the second quarter, the only starting senior, Marc Schmidt, started the Middle Park scoring with a 15 yard run off right tackle. Johnny Stensvad then added the extra point to make it 7-0.

The Panther defense continually shut down the Estes Park offense and allowed the Panther offense to get the ball in excellent field position throughout the game. The Panther offense used the second part of a one, two, three running combination with junior Sam Little scoring on a 6 yard touchdown and Stensvad adding the extra point to make the score 14-0 at half.

The second half was marked by great defensive play from all positions. Marc Schmidt led the team with 15 tackles and 1 sack, junior Brian Macchione had 10 tackles (two for losses) at Nose Guard, Steven Kentfield had 9 tackles, Nick Brynoff had 6 tackles and a forced fumble, while “some of the best linebacker play,” according to Schmidt, came from Connor Jennings who had 7 tackles and a fumble recovery.

“Our secondary also played well,” said Schmidt.

Sophomore Johnny Stensvad paced the unit with 6 tackles, a pass break up, and “played some of the best safety I’ve seen in a long time,” added Schmidt.

Meanwhile, Sam Little added 6 tackles and a huge interception while Junior Tyler Waldecker had 3 open field tackles.

This excellent defensive play allowed the Panthers to explode quickly in the second half with Brian Macchione adding the third punch in the one, two, three running combo with 2 touchdown runs and Marc Schmidt capping off the scoring with a 23 yard touchdown run while Stensvad continued his perfect night of extra points to make it 35-0.

Estes Park added a touchdown after all Middle Park starters had left the game to make the final score 35-7.

“Our defense basically pitched a shut-out,” said Schmidt. “Their only score came against our reserve players who got a ton of experience making great efforts trying to preserve a shut-out. Our younger guys got over a quarter of playing time, which will pay off tremendously for us and the future of Panther football.”

“It was great for the kids to get some results after they have worked hard in the weight room and done a lot of the things we have asked them to do,” said Schmidt.

The Panthers hope to get healthy this week by having sophomore Cody Garrett try to earn a spot in the line-up and “two great athletes,” according to Schmidt, Cody Hartman and Brendan Jackson, will be competing for positions after starting the season late.

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