Prep notebook: Peyton football off to promising start

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Photo - The Peyton Panthers take on the Ellicott Thunderhawks at Peyton High School in Peyton, Colorado on Saturday, October 3, 2015. Photo by Daniel Owen.
The Peyton Panthers take on the Ellicott Thunderhawks at Peyton High School in Peyton, Colorado on Saturday, October 3, 2015. Photo by Daniel Owen.

A look back at weekend high school sports highlights from the Colorado Springs area.

Peyton dominates Trinidad in home opener

Coming off a trip to the state quarterfinals a year ago, Peyton coach Richard Deems says his team looks even better this season.

Josh Gonzales had three touchdowns and the Panthers' daunting defense held Trinidad to less than 50 total yards in a 42-0 win on Friday night.

"We're solid across the board," the fourth-year coach said. "At this point in the season this is the best we've looked early on since I've been the head coach at Peyton."

Despite losing several key seniors from last year, the Panthers (1-0) - convincingly and commandingly - shut out Trinidad (0-1) for the second straight opener.

The offense was sound, pounding out 42 points over three quarters.

Gonzales led the way, scoring a TD by punt return, rush, and reception. Trevor Walker added 82 yards and a touchdown on the ground and threw for another.

The defense, meanwhile, was something else, recording 11 ½ sacks. Last year, the Panthers allowed the fewest yards in the 1A Tri-Peaks League.

"We lost a lot of key seniors from last year but we've had a lot of guys step up," Gonzales said. "We know the drive we have to have. We've become a lot more physical over the summer."

Peyton was a perfect 10-0 before it was handed a 63-27 loss by Bennett in the quarterfinal round of the Class 1A postseason.

"We definitely could go a lot further this year if we put in the time and work," Gonzales said.

The Panthers travel to Byers (0-1) on Saturday

Ellicott hopes to rebound after "underperforming' in 2016

Ellicott coach Donte' Stewart has no problem saying his team fell flat at crucial moments last season.

He was glad to see his team spring back in Saturday's opener.

Chiante' Stewart ran for two touchdowns and passed for another in his debut as the team's starting quarterback, and the Thunderhawks overcame a sloppy first half to beat host Ignacio 34-16.

Trailing 8-7, coach Stewart led a boisterous discussion in the locker room. His team responded by outscoring the Bobcats 27-8 the rest of the way.

"They got their butts chewed at halftime," 11th-year-coach Stewart said. "It was good to see."

Tommy Huston added two rushing scores for Ellicott.

Last year, the Thunderhawks went 5-5 and lost in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs as the bracket's 16 seed. Coach Stewart said Saturday's win is hopefully a sign of better things to come.

"It's great knowing we can get into them and they can respond," Stewart said. "That's something we haven't had in a while."

Chaston, Cheyenne Mountain win Stampede

Cheyenne Mountain senior Thomas Chaston didn't have any problem with the state course this time around.

Chaston shaved 45 seconds off last year's time at the state course at Norris-Penrose Event Center to win the Class 4A race in 16:27.40 at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. The Indians placed their first six runners inside the top 25 to run away with the team title.

Chaston held off Air Academy's Cal Banta (16:27.80) at the finish. Last year at state, Chaston finished 34th with a time of 17:12.

Asked about the big improvement, Cheyenne Mountain coach Stan Lambros said he thought Chaston had an "off-state race" last year. But he said the senior "definitely" has taken a step forward.

"He's in a good place," Lambros said.

Not everything went smoothly for the Indians, though. Senior Ryne Johnson gashed open his knee near the start of the race and received stiches afterward, Lambros said.

Johnson finished 20th at 17:39.40.

"When your team is sitting like that you just want everyone to be healthy," Lambros said.

Air Academy girls go 1-2 in 4A race

Air Academy's Tatum Miller won the 4A girls' race in 19:30.10 at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. Teammate Paige Embaugh was second in 19:34.90.

The Kadets are without their No. 1 runner from last year, Maria Mettler. She led the Kadets to a team title in track and field last spring.

But Miller returns after a sensational freshman season, and junior Embaugh, who took fifth at state as a freshman, is back after she missed last year's state meet with a hip injury.

Battle Mountain, the Class 4A defending champs, won the meet with 49 points. The Kadets finished third with 93 points despite not running all their top runners.

"I think we can gain ground on (Battle Mountain)," Air Academy coach Chuck Schwartz said. "We're going to work towards giving everybody a good run."