There was tough-sledding in first-half action during last week's homecoming win over Cortez. The visiting Panthers were determined and physical in the opening quarter with a defense that held Delta to just six points.
Eventually, and with the help of Jonney Ponce's three touchdowns, Delta broke open a tight game in the third quarter with 20 points to win going away, 41-12.
A 21-yard pass from Cade Gafford to Ryan Whiteside got the Panthers on the board first. Ponce's kick for the extra point was wide, leaving the score at 6-0 with 3:08 left in the first period. The scoring drive covered 69 yards.
Ponce continued his one-man wrecking crew show with Delta's second touchdown from 6 yards out with 2:24 left in the first half. The drive covered 55 yards this time and Ponce carried the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion, giving the Panthers a 14-0 advantage at halftime.
Delta controlled the line of scrimmage to begin the third quarter and after an interception that gave Delta its first possession of the second half at the Cortez 20, Ponce ripped into the end zone from 9 yards out for his second TD of the game. The PAT kick was good, making the score 21-0 with 10:16 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers stopped Cortez's next drive by recovering a fumble on Cortez's 16-yard line. An 8-yard run by Ponce pushed Delta's lead to 27-0 and with the PAT, Delta led 28-0 with 9:57 left in the third quarter.
Delta's defense held Cortez, and the Panthers of Delta began their next drive on their own 33. A 5-yard plunge by Derek Horn upped the score to 34-0 with 3:08 left in the third quarter.
Another recovered fumble gave Delta its next possession at Cortez's 35. The third quarter ended shortly after that.
Gafford hit Devan Williams for a 34-yard scoring strike with 11:16 left in the fourth quarter. Ponce's kick was good, giving Delta a 41-0 lead and a running clock the rest of the way.
Cortez scored its first touchdown of the game with 4:22 left in the ballgame. Randy Haley bulled his way across the goal line from 1 yard out. The PAT failed, leaving the score at 41-6.
A fumble at Delta's 26 provided Cortez with another scoring opportunity with 1:00 left in the game.
Haley scored Cortez's second touchdown of the game from 26 yards out with :30 remaining in the game. A two-point conversion attempt failed, making the final score 41-12.
Delta had 259 rushing yards and another 141 through the air for a total of 400 yards. Gafford was nine of 18, with two touchdowns and one interception. Whiteside had 90 yards on six receptions and a touchdown. Williams caught one pass for 35 yards and a score, with Tyler Sandoval hauling in two passes.
Ponce was Delta's leading ground gainer with a career mark of 205 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns. In all, Ponce scored 23 of the Panthers' 41 points, including a two-point conversion and three PAT kicks.
Horn had 10 carries and 51 yards and Sandoval had two runs for 3 yards.
Defensively, Delta got solid play from numerous athletes. Cordell Stroud had six tackles, with Bodie Giron getting five and Sandoval another four.
Easton Byers had one sack for 5 yards and Saul Sanchez returned an interception 40 yards. Stroud picked up a fumble and returned it 30 yards.
Cortez's offense generated 26 yards through the air and added 143 on the ground for a total of 169. Haley carried the ball 12 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Delta (4-2, 3-1) is at Edwards for its next 3A conference battle with Battle Mountain's Huskies (0-6, 0-4). Game time is set for 7 p.m.blog comments powered by Disqus