CENTER — The John Mall Panthers football season ended on a wild and controversial play last Friday when Center lined up for what was the last play of the game… maybe? There was no scoreboard, so all the Panthers knew was that time was running out when the play occurred. The Panthers had taken a late-quarter lead (19-18) before the Vikings’ last-ditch drive and successful long bomb to the end zone rewarded their comeback effort. Time had run out for the Panthers. JMHS lost the game 24 to 19. The controversy began even before the game began. The Panthers had the option to call for a change of venue and play the game in Walsenburg the next day, but as a team, they chose to play in Center. With that decision, the Panthers knew the clock would be in the hands of the hometown officials. The official clock (in the hands of the officials) showed 20 seconds remaining and time running out when the pass was launched. When it was over, seven seconds remained on the clock. In the end, the Panther defenders let the 50 yard bomb from Viking quarterback Jorge
Venzor connect with Nabor Quintana for the winning score. Panther Garrett Quintana had 105 punt return yards and teammate Destry Crocket scored all three Panther touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving. It was a defensive struggle throughout the game. League leading rusher, Evan Gonzalez, was held to 76 yards, and Garrett Quintana to 43. The Cats recovered two fumbles on defense, while the offense lost two. The Panthers have performed better than expected this season and are already planning for next year. While most league teams are losing twelve seniors, the Panthers will lose only one, and the youth of the team, coupled with their experience, will make them a force to be reckoned with next season. Coach Vigil said, “The kids have come a long way this year and I am proud of their accomplishments.” Vigil would like to return as coach next season, and said there are some changes he would like to see before he comes back.