By Wayne Crick
For the first time this season Delta High School’s Panthers played without the services of their all-state quarterback, Nolan Bynum, who will miss the remainder of the 2020 campaign. Delta’s adjustments on both offense and defense left the Panthers vulnerable at times but their most harmful mistakes were miscues and mental errors. A roughing the passer penalty near the end of the first half of play resulted in a Moffat County touchdown with just seconds remaining in the second quarter. That score by the Bulldogs left Delta trailing 19-13 at the break.
The Panthers’ offense dug themselves a hole early in the game when the opening kickoff bounced off a Moffat County player to give Delta a big break with possession at the Bulldogs 30-yard line. The Panthers were unable to push the ball in for a touchdown and lost the chance to capitalize on an opportunity that might have generated a great deal of momentum for Delta.
Delta began the second half with the ball and promptly found themselves facing more peril when a bad snap sailed over quarterback Nathan Scharnhorst’s head and was recovered by the Bulldogs deep in Delta territory. The Bulldogs scored their final points of the game with a touchdown and an extra point to take a 26-13 lead. Inconsistent play through the third period left the Panthers 13 points down entering the fourth quarter.
The Panthers looked good at times on offense and scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and were threatening to score on the game’s final possession. Delta, facing a fourth down at the Bulldog’s 15-yard line with two seconds left, lost its chance for a score when Scharnhorst was sacked in the backfield to end the game.
For the first time all season long the Panthers’ offense was unable to put up numbers that were better than their opponents. Scharnhorst was more than adequate in the passing game with 10 completions in 17 attempts for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Even though Scharnhorst had one rushing attempt that covered 54 yards, he finished the game with 13 carries and 11 yards and one touchdown.
Junior Timothy Horn, who usually has over 100 yards rushing in a game, found the going rougher than usual in a 10-carry game for 21 yards with a 7-yard carry as his longest run of the game.
Senior Colbi Braslin paced Delta’s receivers with seven catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Junior Hunter Goff added a touchdown on one reception and 16 yards.
Moffat County’s statistics weren’t that impressive with junior Ryan Peck throwing for 23 yards on two of eight attempts and no touchdowns. The Bulldogs made their living with the running game against Delta with 217 yards on the ground, led by sophomore Evan Atkin’s 142 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Senior Caleb Frink rushed 18 times for 67 yards and scored two touchdowns. Moffat County won the total yardage battle with 240 yards while the Panthers were not that far behind with 163 yards.
Senior James Goff recorded 14 tackles for the Panthers in the loss with senior teammate Jeffery Griffith close behind with nine tackles. Scharnhorst and Hunter Goff contributed eight tackles each to the 70 tackles recorded by the Panthers. Moffat County junior Logan Hafey had 12 tackles for the Bulldogs with senior teammate Joseph Campagna finishing with nine tackles.
Moffat County kept pressure on Delta’s offense all game long and recorded five sacks in the game for a loss of 24 yards. The Panthers also gave up two interceptions and a fumble in the loss.
With the loss, Delta slips to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the 2A West League. Moffat County took over the lead in 2A WL play with a 3-0 league mark and 3-1 overall while Delta sits in second place. Delta and Moffat County are easily in contention for playoff spots with one game remaining on regular season schedules. The Panthers are scheduled to finish their regular season with Elizabeth (1-4 and 0-3) while Moffat County’s final regular season contest is at Middle Park (0-2, and 0-0).