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Panthers roar in 41-0 win

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Photo by Wayne Crick Delta senior Stephen Davignon recovers a loose football during action against the visiting Eagle Valley Devils last Friday. The Panthers rolled to a 41-0 win in the tough 3A WSL.

Delta's Panthers control their own destiny with two football games remaining in regular season play. A 41-0 win over Eagle Valley last week moves the Panthers to a record of 5-0 in league play and 7-1 overall. Rifle and Palisade are chasing the Panthers with identical 4-1 and 7-1 records.

Delta can win the league race with victories in its last two games. The first challenge is with Central, a game that is slated to take place this Thursday, at 7 p.m., at Stocker Stadium.

The Panthers would garner the league title with a win in Delta over Palisade on Nov. 6.

Last week's 3A WSL victory over Eagle Valley was an easy one, with the Panthers doing all their scoring in three quarters.

Cameron Schaal put the first numbers on the scoreboard after he intercepted Eagle Valley quarterback Garrett Martin and returned the ball 28 yards for a touchdown with 9:20 left in the first period. A.B. Ontiveros booted the extra point for a 7-0 Delta lead.

The Devils sputtered, again, on their second possession when Josh Reeder picked up a loose football and carried it to the 4-yard line. From there, Jonny Ponce thundered into the end zone for a score that boosted the Panthers' lead to 14-0 after Ontiveros' kick.

Eagle Valley's next possession ended after three plays and a punt to the Panthers' 45-yard line. A procedure penalty on the Panthers moved the ball back to the 40. Ponce got the 5 yards back on his next run. The game's longest run came on the next play with Ponce exploding up the middle for a 55-yard scoring jaunt with 6:03 left in the first half. The Ontiveros kick made the score 28-0.

The Devils were unable to move the ball on their fourth possession and gave Delta its fourth possession beginning at the Panthers' 30-yard line.

Delta had the ball at Eagle Valley's 5-yard line before a 7-yard loss set up a 29-yard field goal attempt by Ontiveros.

The game moved to the second quarter before Ontiveros' try. As play resumed in the second stanza, Ontiveros' kick was short and wide right to leave the score at 21-0.

Neither team scored on its fifth possession.

Delta's next opportunity to score began with 5:20 left in the half with the ball resting on Eagle Valley's 32-yard line.

A Roberts-to-Braden Atchley pass covering 17 yards, to the Devils' 4-yard line, highlighted Delta's drive. Tristan Brown ended the 10-play, 68-yard drive with his run of 4 yards. Ontiveros' kick gave Delta a 28-0 lead with 1:26 left before halftime.

A quick three-and-out for the Devils gave Delta one last scoring chance beginning at the Panthers' 47-yard line. Roberts hit Ontiveros for 21 yards on the first play of the drive and used tight end Kory Mills for the rest of the yardage for a Delta score. Mills caught a pass for 13 yards and finished the drive with a 9-yard reception for the score with 9.2 seconds remaining before intermission. Ontiveros gave the Panthers a 35-0 lead going to halftime.

The game's final score came midway through the third period.

Roberts helped his own cause with a 21-yard scamper to keep the drive alive. 9-yard passes to Mills and Brown moved the ball to Eagle Valley's 2-yard line. From there it was easy work for Brown as he bulled his way into the end zone with 6:36 left in the game. The PAT try failed, leaving the score at 41-0.

Ponce rushed 14 times for 169 yards to lead Delta's ground game. Mills caught three passes for 35 yards and Brown snagged two for 24 yards.

Defensively, Mills and Brown were the Panthers' top tacklers with 10 each. Sam Komives, Reeder and Logan Church were also busy with eight tackles apiece. Stephen Davignon finished the game with seven tackles.

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