Delta Panthers lose in Class 2A Championship

Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 10:47 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Delta Panthers football team lost in the Class 2A Championship to the defending back-to-back champion Eaton Reds at a final score of 21-10.

Both teams initially came out slow on offense, the Reds punted the ball on their first possession after not advancing the ball past their 35-yard line.

The Panthers had more success moving the ball, and were able to get it into Reds’ territory, but missed their field goal attempt, maintaining the 0-0 tie.

Eaton’s offense would only stay quiet for so long, with under five minutes in the first quarter Eaton Senior Quarterback Walker Martin threw a bomb to Senior Wide Receiver Austin Martinez in the left corner of the endzone putting Eaton up 7-0 early.

The play also put a Panther’s squad that had hardly trailed all year on their heels.

The Panthers would then try to get their passing game going, but Sophomore Quarterback Ty Reed’s pass also found Martinez’s hands, who was also playing defensive back for the Reds.

The defending champions capitalized on the Panther mistake, with a 20-yard touchdown run by Martin, making the score 14-0 at the time.

Before halftime the Panthers scored their lone touchdown of the game on a short rush by Junior Running Back Esai Carrillo eating into the Eaton lead at 14-7.

A field goal by Senior Kicker Jose Olivas brought the game closer at 14-10, and that was the only scoring play by either team in the third quarter. However, Eaton two long Reds runs put them in Delta territory heading into the fourth quarter.

The Delta defense and special teams made things interesting forcing an Eaton field goal attempt that was blocked by the panthers and scooped up by the Junior Landan Clay.

On maybe the most pivotal play of the game, the Panthers would be in a fourth and short situation and elect to go for it. But the Panther play got blown up in the backfield by Eaton defenders, giving the ball back to Eaton.

Another Eaton rushing touchdown, and an additional late interception by Martinez put the game on ice, and the Reds would win at a final of 21-10.

The Reds have now won three straight Class 2A championships dating back to 2020.