With each passing week, the confidence grows in the Dolores football community. Smiles abounded during a postgame handshake line where the Bears each took turns thanking family, friends, classmates, and Dolores fans on Friday.
While the overall score line didn’t suit the Bears’ ambitions, a strong second stanza helped lift the spirits of the black-and-red clad faithful in a 52-16 loss to Rangely.
The visiting Panthers (1-3) built a 44-0 edge at the break, thanks to a strong rushing output from quarterback Kobey Chism and running back Marsten Wagner. The duo combined for four rushing scores, while Chism tossed his first TD of the season.
“In past years, going into the locker room with that kind of deficit, the players might have hung their heads,” said DHS head coach Joseph Gonzales, “but to score two touchdowns in the second half speaks volumes about where their mental state stands.”
The Bears opened the second half with energy and freshman standout Michael Rantz returned the kickoff to midfield. From there, the Bears methodically moved down the field, as sophomore quarterback Trayton Traweek connected with Michel Millard for a 27-yard gain to push the ball deep into Panther territory.
Then, after showcasing his ability to break big plays with his legs on a first-down run, Traweek turned to the air again. He found Millard for a second strike, this time from 15 yards out, to put the Bears on the scoreboard.
“They ran the plays the way we know we’re capable,” said Gonzales of the scores, “the offensive line started to have a lot more fun, and we let Tray (Traweek) show what he can do.”
Traweek finished with over 150 yards passing, while tossing his first two career touchdowns.
The defense brought an inspired energy in the second half, as well, as senior Ethen Robson delivered another double-digit tackle performance.
“We’re swarming to the ball,” Gonzales said, “and that’s something that we’ve been emphasizing in practice.” The Bears’ defense forced several Rangely punts, setting up opportunities for their dynamic special teams to make plays.
“I really like our speed on special teams,” Gonzales said, “and they know the game scheme, and have been able to execute.”
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Bears showed their big-play capability. Traweek launched a pass down the seam to junior tight end Ty Gaddis, who turned up field, broke a tackle and raced to the end zone for the Bears’ second touchdown.
“We’ve got to take that energy and bring it from the opening kickoff,” Gonzales said, as the Bears prepare to next face Plateau Valley for their homecoming contest at 7 p.m. Friday.