It had been 58 years since Delta had played in a state championship football game. It lost that game in 1961, making 1960 the last year Delta finished on top.
With a 27-19 loss to Sterling in Saturday's 2A championship game in Pueblo, Delta's championship drought continues. Nevertheless, the Panthers are the pride of the Western Slope for coming within a whisker of a title.
Had it not been for windy conditions at the Thunderbowl, Delta's vaunted aerial attack (which averaged 202 yards a game) may have been more effective. But Sterling's stout defense rose to the occasion, scoring a touchdown on an intercepted pass at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter, swinging the momentum in Sterling's favor.
It was a fanastic matchup, pitting two 11-1 teams with similar offenses against each other. Delta led 19-14 with 9:34 left in the game, only to see Sterling score 13 unanswered points for the win.
Delta took the runner-up trophy. It may not be what the team fought for all season, but it's still quite an accomplishment and something to build upon.
Let's hope the Panthers don't have to wait another 58 years for their next shot at a championship.