Shorthanded Coal Ridge knocked off by Panthers
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – The numbers on the scoreboard didn’t reflect the outcome Brent Hazzard hoped for, but the Coal Ridge senior gushed with pride nonetheless.
With turmoil surrounding the football Titans, Hazzard and company held their own in a 14-6 loss to Delta on Friday.
Coal Ridge was without head coach Scott Parker and a handful of suspended players. Parker, presently under investigation by Garfield School District Re-2 for a coaching code of conduct violation, is currently on administrative leave from his coaching duties. Former Roaring Fork frontman and current Titans assistant Greg Holley is serving as the team’s interim head coach.
Still, Class 2A Coal Ridge hung with the 3A Panthers. A 6-yard touchdown run by Delta’s Chris Lopez put the game out of reach with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” said Hazzard, who played quarterback and safety on Friday. “We’re fighting through so much adversity. We’re having a hard time right now, but I know everyone left it out there on the field. We needed people to step up and the people that stepped up played a phenomenal game.”
Hazzard and teammate Darik Brown staked the Titans to an early lead.
Getting a step on the secondary, Brown hauled in a well-placed pass from Hazzard and took off up the right sideline for a 62-yard score that delivered Coal Ridge a 6-0 lead just 13 seconds into the second quarter.
With their defense providing a short field by recovering a Coal Ridge fumble at the opponent’s 23-yard line, the Panthers bounced back just before halftime.
From that spot, quarterback Mitchel Whiteside connected with his brother, Ryan Whiteside, on a long TD pass. A Miguel Ramirez extra point gave Delta a 7-6 lead with 3:31 left in the second quarter.
Offense was tough to come by the rest of the night, with stalled drives and the occasional turnover flavoring the residue of the first half and much of the second half.
Finally, late in the fourth quarter, the Panthers marched 80 yards and ate up more than four minutes of clock with the night’s final scoring drive. Lopez’s rushing score covered the final 6 yards as Delta iced its second win in three 2011 outings.
“The kids did a nice job at the end to drive the ball down the field,” Panthers coach Ben Johnson said. “They played hard. They did a good job.”
The coach then turned his attention to the Titans.
“I was very impressed with Coal Ridge,” he said. “I understand they were going through a lot of turmoil and they were missing some kids.”
Alex Standish paced the Delta ground game with 93 yards on 17 carries. Zach Decker finished with 67 yards on 12 carries and Mitchel Whiteside completed 4 of 10 passes for 84 yards.
Hazzard completed 5 of 15 passes for 91 yards to pace the Titans, who managed just 89 yards on the ground.
“We learned from today and we know what we’ve got to build on without having those guys,” Coal Ridge’s fill-in quarterback said. “We just need some of the younger guys to step up.”
The majority of the suspended Titans will return after sitting out one more game.
Coal Ridge, now 1-2 overall, opens 2A Western Slope League play next week with a trip to Roaring Fork. Delta opens 3A WSL play with a trip to Moffat County.
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