Pomona Panthers once again in their home stadium dominated a team by 21 points for a final score of 35-14 for a Friday the 13th win. The Pomona Panthers took on the Horizon Hawks in the Class 5A second round at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada. The game was supposed to be closer and provide Pomona a much more challenge. But then again, that was what the sports experts were predicting. Horizon Hawks were taller and had a much larger and physical front line. Even at the coin toss the Horizon Hawks looked dominating. But never count the other team out.
In advancing to the quarterfinals with this win, the Pomona Panthers established superiority early on in this game. The first quarter it was the Pomona Panthers who scored first. With five minutes into the game, junior running back Cameron Gonzales hit the end zone from 41 yards out and just like that, Pomona Panthers never looked back. The Horizon Hawks were trying to play catch up and keep their playoff dreams alive the rest of the night.
Still in the first quarter and Pomona was moving the ball at will, sophomore quarterback Ryan Marquez threw a guided missile for a 46-yard pass to senior Chris Gatseos later in the first quarter and the first quarter came to an end with Pomona Panthers on top of the Horizon Hawks 14-0. Later in the fourth, Gatseos came up with an interception in the Hawks end zone to once again shut down any other scoring attempt the Hawks might have put together.
The second quarter it was running back Cameron Gonzales finding the end zone again on a 5 yard sprint up the middle. The Horizon Hawks were now looking at a three touchdown deficit and it would be hard to climb out of this and move on. With just a couple of minutes left in the first half quarterback Art Toledo hit a wide open Alex Salazar for an easy score.
But that was not enough going into half-time, the Pomona Panthers were riding high on adrenalin and with a second half to play, there was no stopping this team.
Horizon Hawks found the end-zone one more time but this was not enough. Cameron Gonzales scored on a 31-yard run in the third quarter and helped take Gonzales over 1,000 yards on the ground. And who better to cap off the final score but sophomore Max Borghi. Max cruised down the field on a 78-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Senior Masavik Dominguez was trying to help block downfield for Max, but once Max turned on his after burners, Dominquez could not even keep up with him and came back to the Pomona Panthers bench saying “that was the fastest he had seen Borghi run.” Masavik Dominquez added “I have blocked for him several times but this time, there was no one who was going to catch Max.” The closet Hawk within reach of getting Borghi was 7 yards away and with the speed of Borghi, this was just another walk in the park.
And there was no Hawks that were going to catch the Panthers as they put together a methodically well-played game and move on to play another week. They will travel to Legacy Stadium and meet Grandview in the quarterfinals.
Pomona Panthers coach Jay Madden summed up the night, “We want to take it to the next step. We’ve been here the last five or six years and it is time to get it.”