The Thriller At Mitchell; Woodland Park Football Week 7

Mac McClintock, Senior Editor

Woodland Park played in a thriller against Mitchell this Friday. This game was basically a roller coaster ride if you were blindfolded and had death metal playing the whole time. Woodland Park would start with the ball and they came out angry. The Panther offensive line was pushing people around, Roskam was running like he wanted to not only run over people, but completely run through them. The Woodland Park offense for maybe the first time all year looked electric and were going to be unstoppable. The Panthers would cap off this first drive with a statement touchdown, the kind of touchdown that shows many you are not going to let a blow out loss from last week keep you down. The Panther’s missed the extra point so they would only go up 6-0.

When Mitchell got to touch the ball their offense was somewhat different than Woodlands. The Marauders relied heavily on their senior quarterback Sean Cooper, and he looked like he was on target at the start of the game. He quickly responded to the Panthers score with a thirty-three yard touchdown pass. This is where we learned that Mitchell never kicks or punts. Ever. They do not even have a kicker or punter on the roster. So Mitchell went for two and the Panther defense was able to stop a run up the middle. So the game was tied 6-6.

When Woodland Park got the ball back, their offense still looked like it was going to be lights out all night long. It basically played out that Roskam would get 8 yards on his run then the Panther’s would give it to junior fullback Josh Simpson, who would just carry defenders for three to five yard gains and Panther’s first downs. Woodland Park quickly found itself in the red zone and they finally got stuffed on their first down play. The Panthers then turned to their Senior quarterback Christian Cox. Christians first two throws were not completed which forced a fourth down and long situation at the 20 yard line. Head coach Joe Roskam decided to go for it. The Panther’s once again tried to throw it and the pass did not find it’s mark. That marked the end of the first.

The second quarter is where the world started to get all topsy-turvy. Mitchell would start the quarter with the ball and then fumble, giving the ball right back to Woodland Park. Cox then would have his longest run of the year and put the Panther’s in the red zone. It looked like Christian would also finish the drive with a touchdown run, but that was called back because of an illegal block in the back penalty. Even a costly penalty would not be able to stop Woodland Park because Roskam would be able to bully his way into the end zone. The extra point would make it 13-6. The rest of the quarter would turn into a fumble parade. Mitchell already had fumbled once in the quarter and on their next drive, they would fumble on the first play. Then when Woodland Park came back onto the field they would also fumble. Then Mitchell would yet again fumble, and once again Woodland Park would fumble and give it back to Mitchell. Neither team was able to score again and the score at half time was 13-6.

The third quarter was rather pedestrian, and no scoring occurred, so let’s jump ahead to the fourth quarter. Mitchell started with the ball in the fourth and drove down to the 15 yard line. Then Mitchell started getting penalized and started moving backwards. At one point it was a 2nd down and 26 to go. Woodland Park’s defense held strong, recovering the ball with forth down and twenty-three to go. The Marauders elected to go for it, because of course they did. The Mitchell quarterback heaved it up into the air and it fell incomplete turnover on downs, but the officials called pass interference which gave them a first down. Mitchell was able to capitalize on the gift of a penalty and score. They then decided to go for two, and where able to get it. Mitchell would take a 14-13 lead.

This next drive for Woodland Park was a real gut check. What was this team going to do? Would they rally back, or were they going to fail and let one they had slip away? Woodland Park immediately started driving, feeding Roskam as he carried the team down to the thirty yard line. Then after two short runs, Woodland Park faced a third and ten situation. This team believe in Cox earlier, and they still did here. Christian made two great throws to get a Panther first down. Now in the red zone, they handed the ball off to Roskam. He dove into the end zone, but the ball came free. Time almost froze as the ball laid in the middle of the end zone, then after what seemed like ages, Woodland Park fell on the ball. Touchdown Panthers. The Panthers would take a 19-14 lead and try for two to make it a seven point game but they were not able to make it.

So, with four minutes and thirty seconds left, the Panther’s were just one defensive stand from being able to go home winners. The Marauders were able to get a complete first down and got the ball to the twenty yard line with just under two minutes left. Then Mitchell got an illegal block in the back penalty which would back them up. After this is when the whole game changed, with Mitchell deciding to take a deep shot down the home sideline. The pass was incomplete, but there was a flag. The officials called pass interference on a Woodland Park defender who was close to two yards behind the receiver. When asked about the play after the game, coach Roskam said, “A football game doesn’t come down to one missed call…It’s high school football, you’re not going to get guys who get every call.” While it is fair to say that a game does not come down to one missed called it sure felt like this game was decided by one bad call. Mitchell would be able to score and go ahead 20-19 which would be the final score.

While Woodland Park did not win, they did show some fight and for the most part put together one of the most complete games they’ve had all year. It’s hard when a game holds so much drama due to a penalty, because it feels like the game was taken out of the players hands. Despite this, to quote coach Roskam, “It is what it is.” Woodland Park plays at home against Canon City next Friday October, 21st at 7:00.

In other Woodland Park High School sporting news. The Lady Panther’s volleyball team lost two league games, one against Sierra and one against The Classical Academy. Those two loses, for all intents and purposes, eliminates the volleyball team from the playoff hunt. The boy’s soccer team lost 10-1 against Mitchell, making their overall record 4-9. An interesting story to follow is the boy’s and girl’s cross country teams,both of whom will soon be competing in regionals. A week with such a heartbreaking end might might be hard to swallow, but it shows that these teams will keep competing no matter what.