After Delta scored on its opening drive to go up 7-0, the visiting Panthers were on the move again Friday night.
However, the hometown senior Tallon Ralstin thwarted Deltas drive when he recovered Zach Deckers fumble at his own 26-yard line.
Montezuma-Cortez High School would drive 74 yards behind quarterback Jonathan Walck and wide receiver Dakota Buddha Goosen.
Walck hit Goosen over the middle for 21 yards and a first down. On the next play, Walck took it up the middle himself for 43 yards to the 10-yard line setting up first-and-goal. Conover Smith would cap the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to pull M-CHS within 7-6 to the cheers of a packed Panther Stadium on homecoming.
However, that was as close as the home Panthers would get.
The Delta Panthers capitalized on turnovers and turned a close game into a rout.
M-CHS continued to improve on offense, but fell 48-20 in the battle of the Panthers.
This last week, the coaches and a couple of us captains had a meeting, Ralstin said. We decided, we were going to up the intensity in practice. Practice harder, practice longer and were going to get it going.
M-CHS (1-5, 1-4 3A Western Slope League) piled up 314 yards of offense. But it couldnt stop a vaunted Delta (4-2, 3-1 3A WSL) offensive attack of 595 total yards.
Its small victories right now, you know? M-CHS coach Casey Coulter said. John Walck threw the ball great. Weve been working on passing game and we had some great individual efforts tonight. We had some kids step up big time.
After M-CHS scored, Delta responded with its second TD drive. The road Panthers went 76 yards and Rober Williams scored on a 5-yard run. Alex Quniteros point after attempt was good to make the score 14-6, which is where it stood at halftime.
In the beginning of the third quarter, M-CHS had the ball, but committed its first turnover. Williams recovered a fumble for Delta at the 29-yard line. He would complete the 29-yard drive with his second TD run from 3 yards out.
Now up 21-6, Delta would pile it on when Hunter Brasfield intercepted Walcks pass and took it the other way 50 yards for the TD.
The PAT missed, but the visitors had a commanding 27-6 lead that quieted the homecoming crowd.
M-CHS need to answer, and, it did.
Goosen returned the ensuing kickoff to Deltas 46-yard line to setup prime field position. Walck went to work, hitting Alex Lopez on a 25-yard pitch-and-catch play. On the following pass attempt, Walck found a wide open Ralstin on the left side of the end zone for six. Lopezs extra point was good to bring M-CHS within 27-13.
Unfortunately, Delta was too strong Friday. The victorious Panthers added three more touchdowns to lead 48-13 in the fourth quarter.
Ralstin came in at quarterback and led a final scoring drive. From his own 32, Ralstin sprinted down the left sideline 53 yards to the Delta 15. One play later, Tallon found younger brother Keegan Ralstin on a 15-yard right fade rout for a TD. Lopezs PAT at the 3:53 mark resulted in the final score.
The rest of these games are winnable for us. Were not going to go down without a fight, Tallon Ralstin said. Were going to come back on Monday twice as hard in practice. Were going to scheme it up.
Walck passed 12-of-26 for 157 yards and a TD with two interceptions. He also rushed eight times for 59 yards. Tallon Ralstin caught three passes for 46 yards and a score, while throwing a TD pass. He had a game-high 13 tackles on defense and a fumble recovery. Randy Haley recorded 11 tackles
Were young and you sometimes cant really compete against senior teams like you want to, said Coulter about Deltas 14 seniors. Its just little things here and there. A miscue here, a miscue there. It cant happen. But we had good efforts. Tallon did a great job tonight. He was playing like a man possessed. It was awesome to see.
M-CHS will be on the road again at Eagle Valley (No. 10 Denver Post; 5-1, 3-1 3A WSL) on Friday at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Dakota Goosen was carried off the field with an undisclosed injury at the 9:05 mark of the fourth quarter. His timetable for return is unknown.