Have yourself a game, Josh Gonzales.
And have yourself a season, Peyton.
Gonzales made all the big plays for the Panthers in a 27-3 victory at Colorado Springs Christian School on Friday that wrapped up a second-straight 1A Tri-Peaks League title.
The junior hauled in touchdown catches of 76 and 43 yards. He ran for a 7-yard score. He kicked a PAT. He ran in a 2-point conversion. He launched a 59-yard punt that was downed at the 7. And his interception return inside the 10 set up another touchdown.
“I felt it tonight,” said Gonzales, who earlier this season scored four touchdowns against St. Mary’s on just six touches. “I never even got tired once.”
CSCS (6-3, 3-2 1A Tri-Peaks) made the Panthers (8-1, 5-0) earn this, though.
The two Gonzales touchdown catches from quarterback Trevor Walker came in precarious first-half situations. The first was in a 3rd and 21 situation. The second was 4th and 12.
“We’ve just got kids all over that can make plays, and we just do our best to get those guys the opportunities,” Peyton coach Richard Deems said. “Our guys came up with big plays when they needed to tonight.”
The Lions, who led 3-0 after the first quarter thanks to a 36-yard Gregory Olsen field goal, had given up just 31 points in four league games and were accustomed to putting teams in those tricky spots. They weren’t, however, used to seeing opponents wiggle out of those spots.
“We had a couple of freshmen defensive backs who just don’t have the experience yet, and they gave up some big plays,” CSCS coach Jay Kersey said. “I’m proud of our kids, though. Good luck to Peyton, that’s a good football team.”
In pulling away with two second-half touchdowns, the Panthers put the finishing touches on a regular-season that saw them outscore opponents 328-51 and ransack the league by the average score of 38-7.
This was the sixth time in the nine-game season in which the Panthers held an opponent out of the end zone. Their lone loss came on Sept. 8 when Highland broke a tie with a long run in the fourth quarter to prevail 13-7.
The Lions, who could have forced their way into a tie atop the league standings with a victory, must now wait until Sunday to learn if their season will continue.
The Panthers – riding a six-game winning streak – will certainly play again, and they’re excited to see what the postseason might bring.
“This just puts me in awe,” Gonzales said. “I’ve been here since second grade. I’ve dreamed of being a Peyton Panther. To come out and have probably the greatest team we’ve ever had in Peyton history and to be able to spend it with a team where everyone gives it their all, it’s just truly a blessing. It’s amazing.”