Homecoming is a special time for any community. High school students celebrate their peers, their band and their football team. Parents and community members enjoy the festival of youth, a rite of passage that they themselves likely remember with fondness.
The tradition of gathering under the bright lights of the football stadium to cheer on the hometown team is integral to the fabric of small town USA.
Friday, Sept. 28, was Homecoming night at Delta High School and was an extravaganza worthy of the Homecoming tradition.
Panther Stadium was full of green, black and gold clad fans, faces painted, bucket drums in hand. Bounce houses entertained scores of young future Panthers. The smell and smoke from the FFA barbecue wafted through the air, providing dramatic depth to the flood lights. The night was electric, the anticipation was palpable, the football did not disappoint.
Aspen and Delta started the game with identical records of 3-1 and both teams were, of course, loathe to lose. Aspen started the brighter team with a hurry up offense and no huddle readiness that immediately put the Panthers on their heels. Delta adjusted their defense and battled back into the lead. The teams traded blows at a very even pace until just before halftime a field goal gave the Panthers the upper hand at 21-20.
The Panther Pride Marching band came on at halftime and provided a field show that kept the fans in rapt attention. Flag team twirling and tossing, brass blazing, drums sounding, each keeping time in tight roll step with the other. The halftime festivities included the traditional giant burlap torch, burning a giant number '19' into the night air. The band was followed by the presentation of the Homecoming royalty. FROM PAGE b7
The underclassmen were represented by freshmen Kayla Guyer and Timmy Horn, while Jada Lannon and Colton Johnson represented the sophomores. The upper class attendees were juniors Sara Geddes and Jarett Hernanadez and seniors Ashley Lahoe and Blake Naranjo. The 2018 DHS homecoming queen and king were Jenna Sutliff and Kolby Keller.
All were carried into the stadium in mint condition classic cars and were accompanied by some adorable little boys and girls who presented the court with their sashes, flowers and crowns.
After halftime the game kicked back off in earnest. Delta held onto a lead that would be contested throughout the second half but never relinquished. Both teams scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. However Aspen failed a pair of two-point conversions, and Delta put a pair of field goals through the uprights. The third quarter ended with Delta up 42-32.
The fourth quarter told much the same story. Delta returned a fumble for six points and converted the two-point attempt. Aspen hit right back with an eight point attack of their own but ultimately couldn't get past the Panthers' resolute defense. The very exciting game ended with the score of 49-40 -- Delta the victors.
The Panthers had a roster full of great performances on the night. Sophomore quarterback Nolan Bynum had 18 completed passes for 287 yards.
The junior class had a very strong showing with Cody Sauve, Gauge Lockhart and Ku Moo combining for 339 rushing yards. Fellow juniors Nathan Workman and Skyler Kraai tallied 218 receiving yards from 13 receptions.
The red zone saw plenty of action with Lockhart punching into the end zone five times. Workman and Sauve contributed with one touchdown each. Junior kicker Felipe Bedoy rounded out the scoring with a flawless performance that saw him put every attempt between the uprights.
The Panthers, who are 4-1 on the season, will host Rifle for a league game on Friday, Oct. 5.