Delta hopes to improve at home, hosts Cougars in second round
DELTA — Winning is all that matters once the playoffs begin.
But it was a very ugly first-round win for the Delta High School’s football team last week: 20 penalties, four turnovers and one unhappy coach.
“I was brutally honest with the kids. I told them that the penalties are unacceptable, the turnovers are unacceptable,” Delta coach Ben Johnson said. “When you start playing better teams you’re not going to win, that’s the bottom line.”
The Panthers completely dominated seventh-seeded Faith Christian last weekend and finished with two runners and one passer who each had more than 100 yards. After turning the ball over three times inside their opponent’s 10-yard-line, they only came away with a 14-7 win.
After battling in two different classifications last year, Delta and Resurrection Christian will battle today in the Class 2A playoffs.
Both teams have had lots of success in past years, but neither has made the state title game in their respective classifications. The second-seeded Cougars from Loveland moved up from 1A this year after losing to Paonia in the 1A state semifinals the past two seasons.
Delta dropped to 2A after making the 3A state semifinals in 2013 and 2015 and the quarterfinals in 2014.
The No. 10 Panthers (7-3) will have a challenge in this week’s quarterfinal matchup if they hope to make their third semifinal game in four years.
Resurrection Christian has averaged 172 yards passing and 158 yards rushing per game this season, led by senior quarterback Brin Hayden, who has nearly 1,400 yards passing and 19 TD passes. He also leads the team in rushing with 369 yards and nine TDs.
The unbeaten Cougars (10-0) beat No. 15 Platte Valley 30-20 last week.
Delta tries to be balanced on offense and has averaged 264 yards rushing and 138 yards passing a game this season.
Senior Damon Jensen is one of the top runners in the state with 1,799 rushing yards, and he finished with 120 yards on the ground last week. Senior fullback/linebacker Tristan Brown had a big game against Faith Christian with his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. He finished with 130 yards on 21 carries.
Delta senior quarterback Kole Roberts has thrown for 1,246 yards this season for Delta.
Johnson is expecting a much better game from his team this week.
“We’re expecting to be real sharp. We emphasized penalties and turnovers all week. That’s part of it, you learn from it and you get better, and I think we’ll play a lot better game,” he said.