There were a couple of new wrinkles for Paonia High School’s football team in its game in Basalt. Grey Neal was in at quarterback and the offense was off ever so slightly. Class 2A Basalt High School had plenty of beef, and savvy, to make a difference in the game to the tune of 20-0.

Paonia’s passing game generated no yardage in the contest with its ground game being limited to just 36 yards, with Logan Green’s 27 yards on 10 carries leading the way. Basalt threw for 113 yards on 10 of 17 attempts from quarterback Matt Gillis. Jackson Rappaport grabbed five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown with Cole Dombrowski rushing for 24 yards and a touchdown leading the Longhorn’s ground game. Gillis had the third Basalt TD.

To compound matters, the Eagles turned the ball over on two fumbles and an interception.

“Our offense just struggled and we gave them (Basalt) good field position with turnovers,” noted head coach Eric Neal.

Defensively, Paonia had several positive plays which limited scoring by the Longhorns. Justin Holt had a sack for 17 yards and Grey Neal finished the game with 12 total tackles (four solo, eight assists) with senior Levi Peterson contributing six tackles (three solo and three assists). Senior Jai Petmezas finished with five (two solo, three assists) tackles for the game.

This week’s rivalry game against Hotchkiss should be a battle royal. Traditionally, there’s a super competitive edge to the game with nothing guaranteed. There have been some lopsided games and a one-point game (7-6 Paonia) in 2017. Currently, the two teams are even (7-7) over the past 14 years of competition. Last year’s winner, Paonia, won by a touchdown, 28-21. “Its going to be fun,” said Neal.

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