By Wayne Crick
It’s been a long season already for Paonia High School’s football team. The Eagles are 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the 1A Western Slope League following last week’s 51-8 loss to Gunnison’s Cowboys in Gunnison.
The Cowboys wasted little time in establishing their offense by scoring 20 points in the first quarter. A 17-point effort in the second quarter had Gunnison leading 37-0 by halftime.
Many of Gunnison’s second team players were on the field for lots of game action in the second half. The Cowboys (2-2, 2-1) managed to score 14 points in the third quarter while the defense continued to hold Paonia scoreless in both the third and fourth quarters to give the Eagles their fourth straight loss of the season.
Most of Paonia’s offense came through the air with sophomore Jorge Carrillo throwing for 97 yards and one touchdown on six of 12 passing attempts. Junior Jason Kuntz, Paonia’s starting quarterback for the first three games, was one for five and just one yard to give the Eagles 98 passing yards for the game.
Senior Noah McDaniel caught three passes for 52 yards and scored Paonia’s only touchdown on a pass reception. Sophomore Diego Lareau also had three receptions and finished the game with 34 yards. Senior Dom Felice caught one pass for 12 yards.
Sophomore Easton Tribble was Paonia’s leading ground gainer with 28 yards on nine carries. Felice picked up 26 yards on five carries and Kuntz had five yards on five carries. Carrillo had one yard on two carries for the Eagles ground game. In all, Paonia had 60 yards on the ground and 98 in the air for 158 yards of total offense.
Gunnison generated 117 yards of offense through the air with senior quarterback Nicco Marchiletti completing 10 of 15 passes for one touchdown. Junior Kaleb Vincent snagged three of Marchiletti’s passes for 27 yards and the lone passing touchdown for the Cowboys. Michael Riser had four catches for 51 yards to lead Gunnison receivers.
Gunnison senior Braydon Duncan rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns while Marchiletti scored three times on three carries and 30 yards. The Cowboys sixth rushing TD belonged to Peyton Frias who had two rushes for 30 yards and one touchdown. Gunnison finished the game with 352 yards of offense in the win.
Defensively, Gunnison was led by Vincent and Frias who had six tackles each in the win. Bogdan Maples had five tackles.
Three players had six tackles each to lead the Eagles in tackles. Lareau, senior Simon Cox and sophomore Logan Farnsworth all recorded six tackles in the game. Felice finished with five stops and sophomore Ace Connolly and freshman Lane Allen were in on four tackles each in the loss.
Paonia will be at home this Friday, Nov. 6, with the Cedaredge Bruins (2-2, 1-2) looking to get back on the winning side of the ledger after losing its last two outings to Gunnison (20-7) and Meeker (44-0). Game time for Friday’s game is 7 p.m.