Palisade loses in opener on road

Palisade High School’s football team did a lot of things right Friday night against Woodland Park.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they didn’t do things right at the most crucial parts of the game, falling 17-16.

“We had our chances,” Palisade assistant coach Chuck Nissen said. “There were points where we were having success and didn’t finish.”

Those points of the game stick out mostly in the fourth quarter, when Palisade had the ball inside the Panthers’ 20-yard line twice, and came away with zero points each time, beginning with eight minutes remaining.

The Bulldogs were stuffed on 4th-and-1 at the Woodland Park 1-yard line when Terry Williams couldn’t punch it in. The second big missed opportunity ended up being the game for the Bulldogs as the Panthers recovered a Palisade fumble with less than two minutes left at the Woodland Park 15-yard line.

“There was more than one play that cost us,” Nissen said. “We gave them so many opportunities to stay in the game.”

The Bulldogs spent most of the night playing catch-up after the Panthers scored on the second play from scrimmage on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Lee Stunkard to

Jordan Buss. It wasn’t long before Buss struck again, giving Woodland Park a 14-0 lead in the second quarter on a 35-yard rushing touchdown.

Palisade was able to cut into the lead before halftime, when, with less than four minutes remaining, Palisade quarterback Jordan Salazar scored on a 2-yard run.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 14-14 in the second half when Jesse Brannon found the end zone on an 11-yard run. Brannon had a big day on the ground, rushing for 181 yards on 16 carries. The senior back built up his yardage total with runs of 53 and 31 yards.

After Brannon’s touchdown, Woodland Park went on a time-consuming drive that ended with a Buss 26-yard field goal that gave the Panthers a
17-14 lead.

After Williams was stopped at the goal line, the Panthers took a safety on their next possession rather than punting from their own 4-yard line to bring the Bulldogs to within one. Brannon returned the ensuing free kick to the Panthers’ 40-yard line before the costly turnover gave Palisade its first loss.

“The kids responded well all game,” Nissen said. “(Woodland Park) won the game, but we had our chances.”

The Bulldogs’ running game was a strong point, as Palisade finished with more than 300 yards on the ground, including 69 from Sean Dunn and 48 from Williams.

Palisade will attempt to bounce back next week when it hosts Pueblo County at 8 p.m. on Friday at Stocker Stadium.


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