Panthers pounce on Bears
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado ” The Rifle Bears stayed with the Delta Panthers through three quarters but were unable to walk away with a win, eventually losing 34-20. The Panthers improved to 2-2 with the Bears now sitting at 1-3.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes,” coach Anthony Alfini said. “We tried to fight back, it just wasn’t enough. I thought we were well prepared for this game. All we had to do was focus and do our jobs.”
Rifle didn’t even get a chance to start their first drive, fumbling the kickoff and giving the ball right back after they just fell behind 3-0. Delta took advantage and jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a four-yard run from Michael Patton with 4:04 left in the first quarter.
After another Panther field goal to make it 13-0, the Bears Tyrel Lenard had an electrifying 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to cut the lead to 13-7.
The Bears tied the game at 13 on a Joe Burgess touchdown reception from Ryan Rebhan with 2:43 left until the half.
Delta looked to have the final say in the second quarter when they scored on a 44-yard play action pass to Ethan Kraai with 1:04 remaining on the clock to put them up 20-13. Rifle mounted a drive that ended with time running out when Dano Fugita was stopped on a screen to the left, coming up just short of the goal line.
In the third the ball changed hands a number of times due to a missed Delta field goal and turnovers.
Tanner Wilcox had excellent special teams coverage coming up with a fumble on Delta’s 38 yard line. One play later, the pitch left to Fugita looked to be good for a first down but he cut back towards the center of the field finding the end zone to knot it at 20.
From there on out Delta took control of the game scoring two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They stopped a promising Rifle drive with an interception from Cory Hilbome and forced a turnover on downs on Rifle’s next possession.
The Bears head to Cortez on Sept. 26.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.