Football: Calhan grief weighs in on defeat

By Kevin Carmody Updated: September 6, 2013 at 11:58 pm • Published: September 6, 2013 | 10:40 pm 0

CALHAN - The reminders were everywhere at Harlan Sprock Field as Calhan played Friday's football game against rival Peyton with heavy hearts.

Most were seen, from the jersey of Jourdan Ellis, displayed on the facade of the press box high over the field, to the many posters and T-shirts showing the emotion for Ellis, critically injured in Wednesday's automobile accident that killed his 14-year-old sister, Jae. The following day, a second Calhan student, Tiffany O'Neill, died after an accident near the same spot on Funk Road.

And some weren't.

"There was a lot of Jourdan's face out there," said Bulldogs senior Wesley Coplen following his team's 41-6 setback. "The coach kept saying his name. We were all looking for him on the field, but he wasn't there. We played a hard game, and yes, the tragedy did affect us. It split us apart, but it'll bring us back together."

Peyton dominated the line of scrimmage, rolling up 347 rushing yards to go with 69 more in the air. Quarterback Tyler Lashley ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another, and running back Zach Kearse gained 117 yards and scored three times to pace the attack for the Panthers (1-1).

"We run a single wing, so we have to wear them down," Lashley said. "We're not the biggest, and we're young. But we're coming together."

Lashley set up Peyton's first score on defense, intercepting a Taylor Thoman pass. Then, the Panthers embarked on a 13-play, 68-yard drive, ending with Lashley's 2-yard run with 6:08 left in the first half that, with the two-point conversion, gave Peyton an 8-0 lead.

Lashley's 1-yard plunge with 29 seconds left in the half extended the lead to 14-0, but Coplen fielded the ensuing squib kickoff, found a seam and raced 69 yards for a touchdown that gave Calhan a boost, trailing only 14-6 at halftime.

The Bulldogs received the second-half kickoff, but the momentum was short-lived after a penalty wiped out a first-down reception. After a short punt, Peyton reassumed control after Kearse's 12-yard run finished a six-play drive and made it a 22-6 cushion after Lashley's conversion run.

Calhan turned the ball over five times and managed 185 yards of total offense. Junior running back Steven Archuleta led the Bulldogs with 83 yards on seven carries.

"We couldn't afford to not come out and play hard," Peyton coach Ken Delahoy said. "We couldn't afford to let their emotion dictate what we do. I coached hard the whole game and I didn't let off. Now that the game is over, now it's time for a release."

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