In a wild and bizzare game at Stocker Stadium, Delta's Panthers managed to rally from a 20-point deficit to score a 56-32 win over Central's Warriors last Thursday night.
The Panthers spotted Central three scores off three straight miscues to start the game. Delta coughed up the football on two fumbles and did not complete a fake punt for a first down to account for the Warriors' first three scores.
Noah Gaylon scored Central's first touchdown on a 3-yard pass from E.J. Barrera. Cade Balleweg scored a two-point conversion with a run into the end zone.
Alex Marquez scooted 11 yards to paydirt for Central's second score. The Warriors led 14-0 after a failed extra point try.
Barrera pushed his way into the end zone from 1 yard out for Central's third score, with a failed PAT leaving the score 20-0 late in the first quarter.
Delta scored its first TD on a 32-yard pass play from Kole Roberts to wide receiver A.B. Ontiveros. An Ontiveros kick for the point after narrowed Delta's deficit to 20-7.
The Warriors used a big-play pass of 75 yards to Gaylon for their next score, adding more pressure to Delta's game plans, to take a 26-7 lead early in the second period.
From there the Panthers took control of the game and erased a 19-point Central lead by outscoring the Warriors 35-6 and taking a 42-26 halftime lead. During the lead-swapping time span, Delta used four players to score 35 straight points.
The first Delta score in the second quarter was a 6-yard run by Tristan Brown. Beau Byers scored on an 11-yard pass from Roberts, Ontiveros caught a 45-yard pass from Roberts and Jonny Ponce scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards. Ontiveros kicked all seven extra points for the Panthers.
In the second half of play, Kory Mills hauled in a 4-yard pass from Roberts to make the score 49-26 after Ontiveros' boot for the extra point.
Central's Darrion Alton was on the receiving end of a 50-yard scoring strike from Barrera late in the third quarter. The extra point attempt failed, leaving Delta ahead 49-32.
Brown's 42-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter closed out the game's scoring when Ontiveros kicked the extra point for a 56-32 score.
Roberts was 15 of 30 passing attempts for 365 yards and three touchdowns. Byers had seven catches for 157 yards, Ontiveros was good for 88 yards on three receptions, Brown one catch for 42 yards, Braden Atchley one for 31 yards, Mills two for 25 and Ponce one for 22 yards.
Ponce led Delta in the rushing department with 148 yards on 23 carries. Brown was good for 60 yards on five totes. In all, Delta rushed the ball 42 times and piled up 212 yards. Added to the passing yardage, Delta's total offensive yardage totaled 577.
Central got 161 yards from Gaylon on five catches and two touchdowns. Darrion Alton hauled in four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
The Warriors picked up 37 yards from Cade Balleweg on 12 carries while Alex Marquez ran for 23 yards, and a touchdown, on two carries. Central quarterback E.J. Barrera also scored a rushing touchdown.
Barrera threw 31 passes and completed 15 for a total of 279 yards for Central.
This week's key matchup is in Delta as the Panthers host Palisade on Friday at 7 p.m. A win by Delta will ensure the Panthers of a league title. Should Palisade win, there will be a three-way tie at the top with Rifle, Delta and Palisade all having 6-1 league records. All that depends on whether or not the 8-1 Bears get by 1-8 Summit this week.