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AV Panthers Are League Champs!

On a wild and wonderful day, the Anderson Valley Panthers Football team defeated the good and proud Point Arena Pirates in Point Arena 42 to 22. With this impressive win, the Panthers have sewn up the league championship for 2014. Congratulations to Coach Dan Kuny and all of his excellent football players.

As the final seconds of the game were clicking off the scoreboard game clock, the Pirates’ fine game announcer said, “The AV Panthers are now the season's league champions. Well done all season. And today, well played. Congratulations.”

It was an exciting game that was closer than the score would indicate. And, it was a charmed game. The weather had been wet and windy and turbulent all day. It was wild; huge black clouds boiled in the sky when I left the house on high Greenwood Road on game day morning.

It had rained hard all night and all morning. The rain diminished and turned into light showers as I got closer to the coast.

I dodged an occasional wind blown limb on the road. But, I didn't dodge one limb well enough because I heard a grinding noise on the final downhill segment just before I got to Elk. I had to get into the water and mud to look beneath the car and find the limb.

Finally, I found it squeezed against the right rear tire. I couldn't pull it out. I backed the car up to attempt to break off the limb. I thought I did, but just because I couldn't see it didn't mean it wasn't there.

I got help from a young gentleman at the Elk Garage who took a look and he told me all that was left of the limb was sawdust. I was on my way to the game once again.

By the time I got to the Point Arena Lighthouse turn off from the Highway, it looked like we’d get a break with the weather. And, we did get a break. It was a gray haze during the first half of the game. In the third quarter blue skies broke through and then we had a brief shower in the fourth quarter. I was watching the game with an old AV High buddy, Tony Summit and another old AV High buddy Tommy Lemons. When the rain came, my notes in ink got smeared a lot, but Tony got me under his big umbrella. Tommy shuffled off to get his rain gear. (We used to go running, now we shuffle.)

The game was charmed to get that lovely break in the storm. Plus the old Point Arena field has good drainage. The gridiron was incredibly nice to play on. It was lush and green.

Panther quarterback Tony Pardini had a good day passing to Tony Natareno, Erin Perez, and Jesus Valdivia. Jared Johnson, and Cesar Soto again acquitted themselves well, running for tough yards to score and battling for first downs.

Josh Chavez caught a terrific long pass in the second half. I noticed that Juan Pablo Segura made the hardest and best timed tackles in last week's Covelo game and again in this week's game against the Pirates. He is getting quicker, more balanced and really delivering some solid blows from his defensive position.

The single most outstanding player in the first half of the game was clearly Erin Perez. He made fierce but beautiful tackles anytime the Pirates tried to run a sweep in his direction. But, he got a stinger at the end of the first half. So, Coach Kuny pulled him out for the second half because he doesn't want to take any chances with his players' health.

Late in the second half, Danny Eligio made the key interception that decided the game for Anderson Valley.

Michael Delgado is a reliable player who is getting better at everything he does on a football field. I am glad he’ll be coming back next year.

The Panthers still have to play Laytonville at Laytonville next week. Point Arena still must play Mendocino next week at Mendocino to see which team get second in the league. The winner of the Mendo-Point Arena game will compete against the Panthers on November 7 for the big Redwood Bowl Game in Boonville. Details to come.

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