Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 | 10:30 p.m.
Despite losing its initial six games, the Panthers (2-6, 2-3 Northwest) could reach the playoffs with a win next week against Centennial in the regular season finale.
“Even though our record doesn’t indicate it, we have played hard all year,” Panthers coach Joe Aznarez said. “Our kids have stayed bought in.
Nick Zuppas’ 20-yard touchdown pass to Earnest Williams in the third quarter gave Palo Verde the lead for good at 10-3. Shadow Ridge scored to trim the deficit to one point, but Palo Verde’s defense stopped a 2-point conversion attempt to hold a one-point lead.
The Palo Verde defense came up big again in the fourth quarter by stopping Shadow Ridge inside the 10-yard line. A few plays later, fullback Bobby Webster broke loose for a 90-yard touchdown run.
“That iced it,” Aznarez said.
Jonathan Schofield added a 55-yard touchdown run for Palo Verde, which opened in 1996 and is a perennial playoff qualifier. That streak will be at risk next week against Centennial.
“We’re playing sound football,” Aznarez said.