Pinning down a single factor behind the Montezuma-Cortez High School football team’s 1-5 start is like trying to pin down a free spirit. It cannot be done. Yet, on a list of the factors that have doomed the Panthers this season, slow second-half starts would be near the top.
Playing on the road against Delta High School on Friday, Oct. 4, the Panthers continued their pattern of second-half doldrums, yielding 20 points in the third quarter in route to a 41-12 loss.
“We kind of had a rough night,” said Panthers’ quarterback Jonathan Walck. “The first half, we started out and it was close. We came out slow in the second half again. We have to start keeping our heads in it and keeping the momentum from the first half.”
Among the bright spots for the Panthers was a competitive first half that saw the team trail 14-0 going into the locker room and the stellar play of junior Randy Haley.
Again carrying the Panthers on his back, Haley rushed 12 times for 130 yards and scored two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns. The junior also led the team with 12 tackles.
Other statistical leaders for the Panthers included Walck with 26 yards passing and David Skaggs with 21 yards receiving.
“It was pretty cold,” said Walck, discussing his team’s difficulty developing a passing game. “The receivers were having a tough time catching the ball. We had a lot of dropped passes. Everyone could have done better overall.”
Hoping to end a four-game losing streak, the Panthers will next play at home against Eagle Valley on Friday, Oct. 11.
“We need to execute and do what we do,” Walck said. “We need to quit making dumb mistakes.”