No.7 Poudre Impalas traveled to Arvada’s North Area Athletic Complex to take on No.2 Pomona Panthers Thursday night, November 5, 2015 for the start of the state high school football championship playoffs. The night did not go so well for 2nd year coach Marty McVicker as he was hugging his seniors as they left the field for their final season as an Impala. Pomona Panthers beat the Poudre Impalas 44-22 as the running clock mercy rule went into effect in the first half of the game.
Pomona Panthers have made the quarterfinals the last four seasons so Poudre knew that this game would be a struggle. And unfortunately it was a one-sided game the first half. Pomona Panthers scored at will the first half. Pomona who are 7-3 and making a strong statement as a state-title contender came out of the gates fast. The Poudre Impalas who came into the game at 4-6, were introduced to Cameron Gonzales very quickly. Cameron Gonzales started the scoring frenzy with a 4-yard touchdown run on Pomona’s first drive. On Poudre’s ensuring possession, Cameron Gonzales intercepted a pass and returned it 18 yards for another touchdown. The next Pomona Panthers possession, Cameron Gonzales ran for another touchdown. It was a Cameron Gonzales kind of night. When asked on the sidelines “how do you feel?” Cameron Gonzales told the atombash.com, “I feel good. This is our night and we will not let our fans and school down.” And they did not let them down at all.
The second quarter, Pomona Panthers were unstoppable as they produced three touchdowns and a safety all before halftime. Sophomore Max Borghi had 2 touchdowns and quarterback Ryan Marquez ran one in. As the Impalas lined up for another punt, the snap was high and over the head of the punter and this resulted in a safety for the Pomona Panthers. The score was now 44-0 midway through the second quarter. It was not until mid-quarter that the Poudre Impalas found themselves on the scoreboard. Pomona Panthers quarterback Ryan Marquez threw an interception deep in the Impala’s end of the field. Jackson Hamby found himself directly in front of the ball and the receiver. Jackson ran the ball 57 yards and this brought a roar of the fans and players on the Poudre Impala’s side of the field. On the next play, Dillon Foster ran the ball across the goal line and Poudre Impala’s had their first points of the game. The following 2-point conversion was good and the Impalas headed to the locker room ending the first half trailing 44-8. Poudre Impalas needed to put together a complete game in the second half in order to come out victorious.
As the third quarter started, the Impalas came out on the field with their heads held high and had a spark in them with the touchdown and two-point conversion just before the half. On the sidelines, the players said they were prepared and ready for a different half. Pomona Panthers meanwhile took out their starters and let them rest. They did not want to run up the score as well as rest the players for the next game.
The third quarter saw the Poudre Impalas on the board again. Foster had a 13-yard catch and sprinted into the end zone. The two-point conversion was good and once again, the Impalas had an attitude that they could come back in this game and be alive to play next week. The Pomona Panthers second and third string players held tough though and did not allow the Poudre Impalas to score again in the third.
With the time running out and the Pomona Panthers looking forward to next week, Poudre struggled hard and once again, they found the end zone. Jason Woolridge has a 1-yard run but the PAT failed. With that, the game belonged to the Pomona Panthers. Poudre Impalas coach Marty McVicker said, “The playoffs are so much fun, but the finality of it is so brutal”. And with that the Poudre Impalas season had come to an end. They came in ranked 7th and they left with their heads held high and knew that it would be a tough game. What the final score did not show was the amount of talent that the Poudre Impalas have. They are a strong physical team and they have every chance of coming back to the playoffs next year with a different outcome. Until then, the Pomona Panthers advance and will take the field for at least one more time in their season.