Fall sports underway for panthers
The fall sports season is starting off fairly strong for the Middle Park Panthers.
Varsity teams from Middle Park High School (MPHS) competed last weekend in football, volleyball and soccer with the panthers winning two out of three of the early season competitions.
The fall season kicked off for the panthers on Friday August 26 with the MPHS football team scoring a solid win against the Aspen Skiers. The panther boys took home the win with a final score of 22-14.
“One of the best aspects of the way we won was that our guys had to play four quarters to win. They had to overcome a lot of adversity,” said Brandon Wilkes, Head Football Coach for MPHS. “We played our best football in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line. What makes me happiest is we were tested and we stood up for the test and showed a lot of toughness.”
Junior running back Blake Weimer led the team in offensive yardage, racking up a total of 206 all-purpose yards over the course of the game including 112 yards rushing and five yards receiving. On special teams Weimer managed to drive for 27 yards from punt returns and 52 yards during kickoff returns.
Junior quarterback Sam Colley also helped the panthers significantly Friday night running in two touchdowns of his own and completing a 29-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Mitch Gardner.
On the defensive side of the ball junior linebacker Will Delay led the panthers with seven tackles Friday night. Senior linebacker Benji Jacobs supported those efforts by stopping five drives of his own. Junior Blake Weimer also plays on defense for Middle Park and made significant contributions from that side of the ball as well.
Weimer recorded two interceptions in his role as defensive back, one more than his fellow defensive back – and team quarterback, Sam Colley who managed one interception. Mitch Gardner also had a standout night on both sides of the ball. Along with his receiving touchdown on offense Gardner recorded one solo sack and one assisted sack on defense.
The Middle Park football team’s next game for the 2016 season will be a rivalry game against the Estes Park Bobcats this Friday, September 2, beginning at 7 p.m. in Granby. The game will determine control of the Trail Ridge Trophy for the coming year.
The lady panther’s volleyball teams also kicked off the year with a varsity win as the team faced off against the Faith Christian Eagles Saturday afternoon August 27. It was a bit of a rough start for the panthers Saturday as both the MPHS volleyball C-Team and Junior Varsity (JV) team lost best of three matches against their Faith Christian counterparts. Both the C-Team and the JV recorded one set win each in their respective matches but weren’t able to secure a match win against the Front Range school.
Despite the loss panther’s Head Coach Kate Lapham was proud of the young ladies for their performance. “I thought that all three of our teams showed maturity and composure on the court in their first home match of the season,” Lapham stated. “Even though the C team and JV didn’t pull out a win, they played with heart and determination up to the very last point.”
The panthers Varsity squad faired better though, defeating the Faith Christian Varsity team in four sets. According to the high school athletic statistics aggregation web site MaxPreps the panthers won the first set by a score of 25-18 and the second set 25-22. The varsity ladies dropped the match’s third set, 23-25, but took home the match win in the fourth set with a 26-24 tally.
The panther’s leading scorer on Saturday was junior Bailey Martin who racked up 12 kills. Martin was followed closely by junior Kiera Barr who tallied 11 kills. Also contributing significantly to the offensive side of things was junior Layne Neiberger who served up three aces and was the team’s primary setter scoring 43 assists.
Defensively the panthers were led by Kiera Barr who had 32 digs during the match last weekend. Senior Annalys Hanna was the team’s second leading defender with a total of 26 digs.
“I think that the Varsity team looked like one cohesive unit on the court that connected and communicated really well with each other,” Coach Lapham stated. “Our defense was really scrappy and it seemed as though we were determined to not let any ball hit the floor.”
Lapham went on to explain the lady panthers have, historically, struggled to finish strong during such tight matches but added, “tonight the girls competed at a high level every point with close scores in all four games, and were able to finish on top against a very strong 3A team.”
The MPHS volleyball team’s next scheduled match will be held on Friday September 9 beginning at 6 p.m. in Granby against the Estes Park Bobcats.
The panther boy’s soccer team also competed in their first match of the fall season on Saturday August 27. The match was held in Lake County against the Lake County Panthers. The panther men lost a heartbreaking season opener to Lake County with a final score of 2-3.
The soccer boys will take the pitch for the second time this season today, Wednesday August 31, in Granby against the Sheridan Rams. The match is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Look for the Panthers Fall Soccer Preview coming soon in the Sky-Hi News.