It was a rematch from a year ago when Delta and The Classical Academy inititated their 2015 prep football campaign in Colorado Springs. Delta came into the game with a pre-season top-10 ranking. The Titans were listed outside the top 10 contenders.
None of the pre-season hoopla mattered as the two teams entertained fans with an exciting contest that saw Delta outlast The Classical Academy by a 38-35 decision.
Last year's matchup between these two schools took place in Delta. The Panthers handed TCA a 27-22 loss. In that game Jonny Ponce ran for 288 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. TCA's quarterback, Austin Bervig, was 19 of 36 passing for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
Statistics from this year's game show just 120 yards of passing offense by Bervig with two touchdowns. Ponce collected 117 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown.Newcomer Kole Roberts was 13 of 18 for Delta in the passing department for 266 yards, and Beau Byers hauled in seven aerials for 132 yards and two touchdowns to highlight Delta's night.
In the beginning of last Friday's game it looked as though Delta was going to be an easy winner as the Panthers got off to a 17-7 first-quarter lead. But by halftime, the Titans had cut Delta's lead to 24-21 by outscoring the Panthers 14-7 in the second quarter.
The game was played evenly in second-half action as each team scored a touchdown in each of the third and fourth quarters.
AB Ontiveros put the Panthers on the scoreboard first with a field goal.
TCA's Jayce Hall scooted 80 yards to give the Titans a 7-3 lead after a Christian Carlson extra point kick.
Junior wide receiver Beau Byers hauled in a pass from senior running back Jonny Ponce that covered 31 yards to the end zone. An Ontiveros kick gave the Panthers a 10-7 advantage. A Byers 1-yard run, later in the quarter, added another seven points following Ontiveros' PAT kick to make the score 17-7.
The Titans began whittling away at Delta's lead in the second quarter. Alex Miller crossed the goal line on a 1-yard run and Carlson's extra point kick made it 17-14.
Ponce and Byers hooked up once again in the second quarter to give Byers his third touchdown of the game on a 13-yard pass play. Ontiveros booted the extra point, boosting Delta's lead to 24-14.
The Classical Academy went on a run that led to a 28-24 lead. The first touchdown came in the waning moments of the second quarter on a Hall 13-yard run that pushed the Titan's point total to 21 points after Carlson's extra point kick. Following halftime, the Titans scored first with Reese Plantenberg hauling in a 21-yard aerial from Bervig that produced a touchdown. Carlson's kick gave the Titans a 28-24 lead.
Delta moved the ball down to the Titans' 2-yard line to set up Tristan Brown's 2-yard plunge for a 30-28 Delta lead. Ontiveros was good with the PAT for a 31-28 Delta lead.
Fourth-quarter action produced just two scores. Ponce toted the ball 10 yards for Delta's final score. Ontiveros, who was five for five in PAT kicks, kicked the extra point giving the Panthers their 38 points for the game.
TCA didn't give up. Sawyer Weeks worked his way open for a pass from Bervig that covered 39 yards and a touchdown. Carlson's extra-point kick made the final score 38-35.
Both teams had prolific offensive games, with TCA gaining 370 yards on the ground and another 120 in the air for a total of 490. Hall was TCA's leading rusher with 207 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Weeks had two catches for 63 yards and a TD.
Delta finished the game with 141 yards rushing and 266 passing for a total of 407.
Defensively the Panthers were led by Brown and Kory Mills who finished the game with 13 and 11 tackles respectively. Sophomore Cameron Schall finished the game with nine tackles. TCA's Miller and Hall had eight tackles while Kyle Peterson had nine.
Up next for Delta is another big battle with a tough foe as the Panthers head to Montrose to face the Indians, a loser to Grand Junction, 14-7, a week ago. Game time is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
TCA travels to Palisade for a Sept. 3, Thursday, game at Stocker Stadium beginning at 7 p.m.