By Wayne Crick
Delta High School’s football team had a successful season despite the loss of its all-conference and all-state quarterback, Nolan Bynum, after five games. The Panthers completed the 2020 football season with an overall record of 5-2 and made it to the final four for the second straight year before being knocked out of a second shot at the Class 2A title by Lamar in a 7-6 defensive struggle.
The Panthers had six athletes selected to this year’s 2A West League all-conference First Team. Another seven were honorable mention selections in 2020.
Four seniors, Colton Johnson (RB/OLB), James Goff (OL/MLB), Colbi Braslin (WR/DE) and Nolan Bynum (QB/DB) were honored along with juniors Nathan Scharnhorst (WR/QB/DB) and Hunter Goff (TE/MLB) for their outstanding play in 2020.
Delta’s honorable mention selections included Noah Nortnik (WR), Mason Hatter-Hollowwa (WR/CB), Bradley Hogue (OL), Jeffery Griffith (OL) and Eli Miramontes (OL). Also honored were juniors Treyton Sandoval (OL) and Timmy Horn (RB).
Bynum, an all-conference and all-state selection last year, played in five games before being injured and sitting out the remainder of the season. Bynum, despite his absence on the field, was selected for this year’s Class 2A West League all-conference team for his accomplishments in the five games he played. He completed 50 of 85 passes for 848 yards (which led the field in many divisions) and had seven touchdowns. Bynum threw five interceptions in those five games and made up for the loss of some of the yardage he might have had with 34 carries for 177 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. His offensive statistics for five games included a 205 yards per game average and scored 24 points for the Panthers. Defensively, Bynum was credited with 15 tackles and two interceptions.
Johnson’s credits for the seven games he played in the 2020 season included 24 carries for 132 yards, two receptions for 28 yards, 79 tackles (11.3 average), four sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery and a blocked field goal attempt.
Though James Goff doesn’t have a monumental amount of statistical numbers, his play on both sides of the ball was instrumental in Delta’s success throughout the year. In the seven games he played, Goff was involved in 76 tackles (10.9 average) and had one interception.
Braslin was feared by defensive backs for his ability to find the open spaces and jumping ability as a receiver. He caught 30 passes for 518 yards and four touchdowns during the season. He was an imposing figure on defense with 41 tackles (5.9 average) with 3.5 sacks and scored 26 points on offense.
Scharnhorst’s appearance on the scene as Bynum’s replacement at quarterback was a bit shaky for about a quarter and a half of play. After that, he gained valuable experience with practice repetitions and trial by fire. He connected on 31 of 56 passes attempted for 510 yards and three touchdowns and finished the season with four interceptions. Scharnhorst carried the ball 45 times for the Panthers and gained 204 yards with six TDs. Prior to taking over as Delta’s quarterback, Schranhorst was one of Bynum’s main targets in the passing game with 15 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns. His athleticism accounted for 134.6 yards of offense per game for the Panthers in 2020 and finished the season as Delta’s leading scorer with 50 points. Scharnhorst was valuable on defense with 42 tackles and averaged 5.9 tackles a game.
Hunter Goff saw plenty of action on both sides of the ball with five receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns on offense and haunted the opposition with 76 tackles for a 10.9 average a game on defense. He had one interception in 2020.
Nortnik carried the ball four times on jet sweeps for the Panthers in 2020 and picked up 44 yards. He had range and speed as a receiver and caught 21 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns in 2020 with 13 tackles on defense.
Hatter-Hollowwa, as a receiver, ran the ball five times for 15 yards and caught six passes for 103 yards for some crucial yardage in games. Defensively, he was credited with 27 tackles and one interception.
Griffith’s worth on Delta’s defensive line was often overlooked by opposing teams until he made big plays. He had 38 tackles (6.3 per game) with one sack in 2020.
Horn’s ability to get beyond the line of scrimmage was uncanny in 2020. He ran the ball 117 times in 2020 and gained 652 yards (93.1 yards per game) with four touchdowns and scored 24 points for the Panthers.
Miramontes, another injured warrior for the Panthers, got to play in one game for Delta but had five tackles in that contest and earned a spot on the honorable mention squad based on the respect of league coaches.
Hogue and Sandoval were stalwarts on the line and provided key blocks for Delta’s running game.