Panthers lose to defending state champs La Junta, 6-0, on gridiron
Woodland Park had its three-game winning streak snapped on Friday, Oct. 4 with a hard-fought 6-0 loss at defending state champion La Junta in the Class 2A Tri-Peaks League opener for both teams.
Ryan Malden scored the game’s lone touchdown on a 1-yard run with about three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers’ drive was set up when Kyle Keck intercepted Woodland Park junior quarterback Colin Kucera at the La Junta 17. It was the Panthers’ first possession following a La Junta punt.
Kucera has eight touchdown passes and seven interceptions this season.
Woodland (3-2. 0-1) dropped to No. 15 in the CHSAA RPI standings, while La Junta (4-1, 1-0) moved to No. 9.
La Junta has been one of the most dominating teams in the state, at any level, since 2015. The Tigers were 13-0 last season. They were also 13-0 in 2016 when they won the state championship. They lost in the 2017 state title game to Bayfield.
Since the start of the 2015 season, La Junta teams are a combined 52-4.
Woodland Park is trying to get to the postseason for the first time since 2000 when it was runner-up in 3A.
The Panthers have played well this season. After losing their opener to Conifer, 35-6, Woodland Park’s has outscored its last four opponents 119-34.
On Sept. 27, Woodland Park trailed Battle Mountain 12-7 at halftime, only to come back and win 19-18.
“It was tough sledding,” Woodland Park Joe Roskam said of the game that was played in Edwards. “It showed the maturity of our team to go on a long road trip to face a physical team and fight back.”
Woodland Park continues league play this week with a home game on Friday against Lamar (3-2, 0-1, No. 14 in RPI).
The top 16 teams in RPI advance to the postseason.
The Class 4A boys’ state golf tournament was played Monday and Tuesday of this week. The results did make the Courier’s print deadline.
Woodland Park senior Zak Ludwick and junior Evan Cisneros competed in the event.
Look online at https://gazette.com/pikespeakcourier/ for results. The story will be in the Oct. 16 Courier print edition.
ON THE PITCH
The Woodland Park boys’ soccer team will continue Class 4A Metro League play Thursday at Sierra (2-7, 1-2). The Panthers (2-7, 0-3) have lost conference games to Canon City, Widefield and The Classical Academy.
Woodland Park’s leading scorers this season are Greg Pappadakis (3 goals), Sam McMillian (2) and David Pedroza (2).
- Compiled by Danny Summers