PHS alumni Blaine Escher, Josh Burns and Lucas Wiggins will make up the majority of the Eagles coaching staff as the program heads into the post-Brent McRae era. Veteran coaches Don Holt and Scott Rienks will help with the transition.
Delta County's football teams were in the spotlight this fall with Paonia and Cedaredge going deep into the 1A state football playoffs.
Paonia fell to the eventual state champion, Strasburg, in semifinal action and the Bruins were eliminated by Strasburg in quarterfinal play, 29-11.
Delta's Panthers were big winners during the 2A prep football season, finishing with an 8-4 season following a loss to Kent Denver in the Class 2A state football playoffs.
Delta picked up several more accolades in the post-season with the selection of 12 Panther football players to the 2016 2A Intermountain League All-Conference team.
In the end, the Eagles just got worn out.
The football team from Paonia High School was up to the challenge but didn't have enough depth to beat an athletic and physical Strasburg team in the 1A state semifinals on Saturday.
Delta's Panthers will have to settle for being one of the top four teams in Class 2A football in Colorado after falling, 21-14, to No. 6 Kent Denver last Saturday. The semifinal round game was played in Denver on a bright, sunny day on a field surrounded with snow.
No. 10 Delta stumbled on its first possession and punted the ball away after three plays.
And then there were two......Meeker and Paonia. Cedaredge's 29-11 loss to No. 2 Strasburg, in Cedaredge, eliminated the Bruins from title contention in this year's 2A State Football Championships.
Delta High School has advanced to the semifinal round of the 2016 Class 2A State Football Championships. The Panthers defeated No. 2 Resurrection Christian, which came into last Saturday's game undefeated (10-0), to earn a berth in the semifinals.
It wasn't easy by any means, but the Eagles are one game away from playing in a fourth consecutive 1A state championship game.
The football team from Paonia High School got just enough big plays on both sides of the ball to defeat Burlington 22-20 in a quarterfinal game last Saturday afternoon at Paonia Town Park.
The football team from Paonia High School saved its best game of the year for the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles dominated from the opening kickoff until the end of the running clock and crushed perennial rival Buena Vista 51-6 last Friday night at Paonia Town Park.
Delta High School's latest adventure was its first-ever sorte into the Class 2A state high school football championships last weekend. The Panthers, No. 10 seeded and 6-3 overall, traveled to Faith Christian High School to take on the No. 7, and 6-3, Eagles in first 2A first round playoff action.
Cedaredge, Meeker and Paonia all move on in Class 1A state football championships. The No. 10 Bruins (8-2) defeated No. 7 Crowley County's Chargers (7-2), 24-7, last Saturday in Ordway in the first round play. No. 1 Meeker mowed down Ellicott (5-5) 43-6 and No. 3 Paonia (9-1) exacted revenge on Buena Vista (6-4) with a resounding 51-6 decision.
Last Friday night's meeting between Cedaredge and Hotchkiss High Schools on the gridiron ended with a 43-6 win for the visiting Bruins.
Hotchkiss had the advantage passing with a 64-22 yard edge but Cedaredge was superior on the ground with 335 yards to just 87 for the Bulldogs.
The Paonia High School football team is headed to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and will face a familiar foe when the 1A state tournament kicks off this weekend.
The Eagles beat Grand Valley 42-8 at Paonia Town Park last Friday night, finishing the regular season 8-1.
To say Delta was dominating would be an understatement in a 41-0 football win over Gunnison's Cowboys last Friday night in Gunnison.
Delta raced to a 21-0 lead after the first 12 minutes of play and then coasted the rest of the way in the must win game.
With just one game remaining on their schedule, Cedaredge's Bruins are listed third in the 1A WSL football standings. Meeker, after its 12-7 conquest of Paonia last week, is firmly in first place with unbeaten records in both league (4-0) and overall (8-0).
Last year's 2A state football champion played like they were champions last Friday night in Delta. The Wolverines from Bayfield limited Delta to 170 yards of offense and shut down the state's leading rusher, Damon Jensen, holding him to just 38 yards on 13 carries.
Delta's Panthers had an easy time of their football contest in Cortez. Delta outscored the host Panthers 21-0 in each of the two quarters in the opening half. Tristan Brown scored two touchdowns on the ground while teammates Kole Roberts and Damon Jensen scored one each.
The Bulldogs are learning that wins in the 1A Western Slope Conference are hard to come by.
The Hotchkiss High School football team twice led the game in the early stages but gave up too many big plays as the visiting Grand Valley Cardinals beat the Bulldogs 36-19 last Friday night.
The Paonia High School football team keeps finding ways to win.
One week after just edging North Fork rival Hotchkiss 7-6, the Eagles shook off a sluggish start and dominated the second half in a 40-10 victory over Olathe last Friday night.
Meeker's Cowboys share the top of 1A WSL football standings with Paonia after their 42-14 win in Cedaredge. Each have a 7-0 overall record and 3-0 league marks. The Bruins fell to 1-2 in league play and are now 5-2 overall.
The annual North Fork football game between Paonia and Hotchkiss ended up being the closest game between the rival teams in recent history.
"They played hard, they played up to their ability and the level they're capable of," said Hotchkiss head coach Curtis Hintz.
Alamosa's Maroons were in town for last Friday night's 2A Intermountain League football matchup and brought a 1-0 record with them. When they left, the Maroon had a 1-1 league record and had dropped to 3-3 overall following a 28-6 loss to Delta.
The final score, 25-0, didn't reflect the true pulse of the game. A slow start, mixed with miscues on both sides of the ball, didn't deter Cedaredge's Bruins from claiming a 1A WSL victory over Olathe's Pirates last Friday night in Cedaredge.
Delta High School made the long trek to Pagosa Springs last Friday and was rewarded for its effort with a 42-0 shutout over the Pirates. A running clock was initiated early in the fourth quarter as the Panthers picked up their third win of the season against two setbacks (Durango and Palisade).
Last Friday's prep 1A football game between the state 1A number three team, Paonia, and the number seven team, Cedaredge, was a win for both teams in regards to half of play.
The Bruins dominated Paonia for the game's first 24 minutes and used two scores in the second quarter to take a 14-6 lead to the locker room for halftime.
The Hotchkiss High School football team knew that competition in the 1A Western Slope Conference wasn't going to be easy.
The Bulldogs got a look at just how tough the league gets when No. 7 Meeker came to Hotchkiss and dominated from the opening kickoff till the last whistle in a 36-7 win last Friday night.
Homecoming week was a successful event for Cedaredge sports venues. The Bruins' softball team defeated Gunnison on Tuesday and the volleyball team was a winner on Saturday.
Delta, playing in its new 2A classification, wasn't able to keep up with 3A Palisade in a battle of fierce competitors last Thursday night at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. The Bulldogs scored the game's first two touchdowns to take an early 14-0 lead and then held on to outscore Delta 20-6 in the fourth quarter for a 41-17 non-conference victory.
Paonia High School is home to the No. 1 ranked football team and volleyball team.
The Eagles went to Carbondale and had no problem with Roaring Fork on the gridiron, winning 55-7 last Friday and improving to 4-0 in nonconference play.
The prescription for a high school football victory doesn't usually include surrendering an opening kickoff touchdown, fumbling away your first two possessions and trailing 12-0 after the first quarter.
The Hotchkiss Bulldogs recovered from all of that and more to beat Vail Christian 34-12 last Friday night on homecoming.
The Paonia High School football team won its third game in a row to open the season and the Eagles might well be back on top of Class 1A once again.
No. 2 Paonia rolled to a 38-0 win at Ridge View in Watkins last Friday afternoon and stands at 3-0.
Behind 100 yards rushing from Pedro Madaleno and 163 yards from Isaac Swoffer, and two TDs each, the Cedaredge Bruins beat VCHS 49-6.
Delta's Panthers own a share of the lead in 2A Intermountain League play. Bayfield, Delta and Gunnison all sport records of 2-1 but have yet to play each other this season.
A return to the gridiron in Craig was a successful one last week for Delta High School.
The Panthers were dominant on both sides of the scrimmage line in a 50-13 win in 3A WSL action against Moffat County.
The Cedaredge Bruins were relentless in a 42-8 gridiron victory over Aspen High School. Cedaredge led 42-0 after three quarters of play and gave up just one touchdown, in the fourth quarter, to go 2-0 after two weeks of action.
The Paonia High School volleyball team may have lost its first game of the year but the Eagles are rolling right along.
Paonia dropped a game to Coal Ridge at home on Sept. 6 but went on to defeat the Titans 3-1.
The Hotchkiss High School football team recovered from a crazy first quarter to beat visiting Coal Ridge 28-14 last Friday night, improving to 2-0 under first year head coach Curtis Hintz.
"I'm just proud of our boys.
Cedaredge Community Methodist Church, 210 NW 3rd Street, hosts "Overtime" every Friday during football season. The doors to the fellowship hall are open from 7 to 11 p.m.
Some of the faces may have changed on the Paonia High School football team, but the results on the scoreboard are still the same.
Behind a dynamic offense and a physical defense, the Eagles opened the season with a 49-7 homecoming win over Center last Friday night at Paonia Town Park.
Cedaredge's Bruins played a steady game with some ups and downs along their way to a 23-10 opening night prep football victory over Monte Vista's Pirates.
The Bruins, in front of a home crowd, started the evening off right with the opening kick off.
The Class 1A Hotchkiss Bulldogs will be led by a new but familiar face this year on the gridiron when league play begins.
Longtime assistant Curtis Hintz assumed the head coaching duties for the Hotchkiss High School football team after Mike Sirko left the Bulldogs after two years to coach at Grand Junction.
In his eighth season, Ben Johnson may be heading into a very rewarding football season at Delta High School. Not that the past few seasons haven't been rewarding, but, dropping from Class 3A to Class 2A could be the beginning of a new era of potential higher rewards.
The Paonia High School football team kicks off the season on Friday night against Center, and for the first time in four years, Taylor Walters will not be on the field.
Walters graduated and took his 125 career touchdowns and two state championships to Colorado Mesa University, where he will play at the next level along with former Eagles teammate Jeramiah Hillman.
The Cedaredge Bruins were 7-3 last year and finished 3-2 in Class 1A Western Slope Conference play. A loss to Crowley County in the first round of state playoffs ended the Bruins' season.
The 1A Western Slope Conference will have a new look this season.
All high school classifications were redone this year for football teams in Colorado.
Delta's Panthers played well enough to have won last Friday's football encounter with Durango, but a number of miscues prevented them from claiming their first win in 2016.
Three interceptions, one for a touchdown, helped doom the Panthers.
Fall sports, with the exception of boys golf, is slated to get underway this week. Golf programs at both Delta High School and Cedaredge High School have been playing since Aug. 11.
Cedaredge junior Isaac Swoffer has been invited to play in the Down Under Sports Tournaments hosted on the Gold Coast of Australia. He will be participating in this international event on the Mountain Conference Football Team during the summer of 2016.
A number of deserving athletes in Delta County were selected to various all-conference and all-state teams from fall sports programs. The following is a capsulation of awards given to Delta County athletes, in some cases both all-conference and all-state honors. This list of elite athletes was compiled by Cedaredge High School's Kirby Henderson.
For the first time in three years, the Eagles came up just short.
Buena Vista shut out the Eagles in the second half of the 1A state championship football game and prevented Paonia from winning its third consecutive title after the Demons won 27-20 last Saturday in Buena Vista.
Turnovers dictated last Saturday's Class 3A semifinal football game outcome between Delta's Panthers and the Roosevelt Roughriders in Johnstown. A promising beginning for Delta turned into a 30-23 loss which eliminated the Panthers from this year's 2015 state football championships.
There were plenty of tears to go around for the Paonia Eagles after they lost 27-20 to Buena Vista in the 1A state championship game last Saturday in Buena Vista.
Paonia attempted to become the 20th high school team in Colorado history to win three state titles in a row.
Here on the Western Slope of the Rockies in Colorado, you can tell the history of a town through the history of its prep sports teams.
In 1902, the town of Paonia was founded by Samuel Wade.
Last weekend's quarterfinal round of this year's Class 3A state football championships featured play between Delta's Panthers and The Classical Academy's Titans. The contest, won by Delta, 27-14, marked the third time in two years Delta has faced TCA on the gridiron.
The Paonia High School football team found itself in unfamiliar territory last Saturday afternoon.
On the road. Trailing the entire game. The Eagles' season and quest for a coveted 3-peat state championship on the line.
Paonia goes for the 3-peat on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Buena Vista. The matchup seemed fated from the very beginning of the season.
Paonia was No. 1 and the Demons were ranked No. 2 until the Eagles lost to 2A Bayfield (currently No. 1 in 2A and playing for the state title on Saturday as well) in Week 4.
Saturday's convincing 47-7 win over Burlington puts the two-time defending state champion Paonia Eagles in the semifinal game at Loveland next Saturday, where they will face the team they defeated to win last year's title.
Saturday's game against the sixth-seeded Cougars wasn't predicted to be a runaway.
Delta's Panthers have made their way to this year's quarterfinal round of Class 3A prep football playoffs. Delta (#3) crushed number seven Harrison, 47-7, in opening-round play and will host The Classical Academy this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Panther Stadium.
Delta, 10-1, hosted third-seeded TCA earlier this season (first scheduled game) and claimed a hard-fought 38-35 decision.
The Jonny Ponce show was a big hit last week when Palisade's Bulldogs visited Panther Stadium for a battle for the 3A WSL championship. Ponce ran for 246 yards and a couple of touchdowns, enabling Delta's Panthers to score a 27-21 decision over the Bulldogs.
Paonia began its quest for a third consecutive 1A state football championship last Saturday with a 49-6 domination of Ellicott that was in doubt for exactly 14 seconds.
That's how long it took Jeramiah Hillman to take the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, and the Eagles just poured it on after that.
Two Western Slope Conference Class 1A football teams are still alive in the playoffs as the 1A quarterfinals kick off this weekend.
No. 3 Paonia (9-1) will host perennial playoff contender Burlington (9-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Paonia Town Park.
The top three teams in 1A football stayed the same most of the year and each squad found out its playoff matchups when the brackets were released last Sunday morning.
Two-time defending state champion and three-time defending Western Slope Conference Champion Paonia (8-1) will play 14th-seeded Ellicott at Paonia Town Park on Saturday.
It was a numbers game last Friday night when the Eagles defeated Cedaredge 48-7 at Paonia Town Park in the last football contest of the 1A regular season.
Six seniors, 15 Western Slope Conference wins. Two state titles, three straight conference championships.
In a wild and bizzare game at Stocker Stadium, Delta's Panthers managed to rally from a 20-point deficit to score a 56-32 win over Central's Warriors last Thursday night.
The Panthers spotted Central three scores off three straight miscues to start the game.
A player was ejected. The head coaches confronted each other during a contentious postgame handshake, and 63 points were scored.
Cedaredge High School's football team rolled over Lake County's Panthers 49-6 last Friday night in Cedaredge.
The Bruins had 387 yards of combined offense and scored seven touchdowns in the course of the game.
Delta's Panthers control their own destiny with two football games remaining in regular season play. A 41-0 win over Eagle Valley last week moves the Panthers to a record of 5-0 in league play and 7-1 overall.
Rambunctious rooting for the home team and celebrations of success at the Cedaredge Bruins' Homecoming game against Aspen drew a yellow flag when the visiting team convinced the ref to have Cedaredge fans tone things down a bit.
But after a delayed review of the episode via the CHSAA rule book, it was found that the ref had been in error and that boisterous Bruin fans were playing by the rules.
The Delta Panthers, with help from Rifle's Bears, stand alone at the top of Class 3A WSL football standings with a 4-0 record.
There's a logjam of teams tied at 3-1 that fill the second to fifth place standings, including Rifle, Palisade, Eagle Valley and Grand Junction Central.
Football action in the 1A Western Slope Conference is only two weeks away from being complete, and teams are jockeying for position in the drive to the state playoffs.
The Bruins were knocked out of first place in the 1A WSL football standings after losing, 32-12, to Meeker's Cowboys last Friday night in Meeker.
Meeker piled up 522 yards of offense, 438 on the ground and 84 through the air, on its way to an important conference contest.
The 1A Western Slope Conference still has three weeks to play, but last Friday's game between Meeker and Paonia went a long way toward determining who will be the conference champion.
Paonia put itself in the driver's seat for a third straight conference title after defeating the Cowboys 34-30 in a wild game at Paonia Town Park.
Another solid performance on the gridiron kept Cedaredge High School's Bruins on top in the 1A WSL standings with a 2-0 league mark and 6-0 overall. Paonia is in second place with records of 2-0 and 5-1
Hotchkiss got just what it needed for Homecoming.
Wade Katzdorn scored four touchdowns, the Bulldogs snagged three consecutive onside kicks and Hotchkiss scored early and often en route to a 61-0 Western Slope Conference win over Lake County last Friday night in Hotchkiss.
Homecoming 2015 was a huge success for Delta High School. The Panthers enjoyed a runaway 42-0 win last Friday night against Summit's Tigers.
Despite knocking off one of the state's top 3A football teams, Delta's Panthers are listed in third place in the 3A WSL, behind Palisade, 2-0 and 5-0, and Grand Junction Central, 2-0 and 4-1. The Panthers are 2-0 and 4-1 as well and have both Central and Palisade left on their regular season schedule.
Action began in the 1A Western Slope Conference last Friday night in Cedaredge, and Delta County fans can anticipate great football games as local teams make their push for the playoffs.
Perennial rivals kicked off against each other when Cedaredge hosted Hotchkiss.
The trip to Steamboat Springs to play football hasn't always been the best of experiences for Delta High School. But this year's visit had positive results as the Panthers rolled up 368 yards of offense in a 49-0 drubbing over the Sailors.
The Cedaredge Bruins went to 4-0 in the 1A WSL standings to take over first place after Paonia's first loss in two years. The Bruins handled Center 40-13 while the Eagles fell 35-0 to Bayfield.
Cedaredge's homecoming festivities included a 35-0 football victory over the visiting Aspen Skiers last Friday night.
The Bruins scored three times in the first quarter and were never threatened in the game.
Paonia had all the motivation it needed going into last Friday night's football game against visiting Centauri.
It was the Falcons who last beat Paonia, a little over two years ago, handing head coach Brent McRae and star quarterback Taylor Walters their only high school defeat.
Monte Vista's Pirates came into last week's contest against Hotchkiss with a 1-1 record and in third place behind Center, 3-0, and Dolores, 2-1.
The Pirates' win elevated Monte Vista's record to 2-1 and it remains in third place in the 1A Southern Peaks League.
Make it 25 in a row for the Eagles.
Paonia's high school football team played in front of its home fans for the first time this year last Friday night and the Eagles showed that the present and the future are looking good.
Following last Friday's 14-12 win in Olathe, Cedaredge has opened the season with a 2-0 record. A week prior, the Bruins dealt Basalt a 21-6 defeat.
Delta evened its prep football record at 1-1 with a 48-13 decision over the visiting Pagosa Springs Pirates. Junior Tristan Brown, playing running back for the injured Jonny Ponce, dominated offensive play for the Panthers with 18 carries, 158 yards and five rushing touchdowns. The Panthers had over 300 yards of total offense.
This year's edition of the Montrose versus Delta football game was evenly played, scorewise, for the first half of play. Each team found the end zone once in the game's first 24 minutes of play. Montrose scored in the first period and the Panthers in the second for a halftime score of 7-7.
The Hotchkiss High School football team is going through some growing pains, but the young Bulldogs are learning along the way, and they are not going to roll over for anybody.
In a scintillating and often frustrating home opener at Hotchkiss last Friday night, the visiting Olathe Pirates stormed back from a late deficit to force overtime and beat the Bulldogs 29-27.
No. 1 Paonia opened defense of its third straight 1A state championship on the road last Friday night at No. 7 Monte Vista.
The Eagles won the game 21-7 behind Player of the Year Taylor Walters and a stingy effort from its young defense.
It was a rematch from a year ago when Delta and The Classical Academy inititated their 2015 prep football campaign in Colorado Springs. Delta came into the game with a pre-season top-10 ranking. The Titans were listed outside the top 10 contenders.
The Hotchkiss Bulldogs had no opening- game butterflies during Zero Week last Friday, going on a seven hour road trip to Ignacio and winning 43-0.
The Paonia football team has its season opening kickoff on Friday night, and the quest for the coveted 3-peat will officially begin.
Cedaredge's Bruins made the Class 1A state playoffs last season and lost to Resurrection Christian in the first round to finish the year at 6-4.
Head coach Brandon Milholland believes there is solid commitment from his staff and players to improve play in 2015.
Two consecutive state titles. A 23-game winning streak. The reigning Player and Coach of the Year.
If the summer camps and noted improvements are any indication, the Delta Panthers could be more than just a force in Class 3A football circles. Delta returns a core of performers who were at the top of the class in many categories at the end of last season's campaign.
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