LAKEWOOD — In a shortened prep football season with a 6-game regular season and eight teams qualifying for the postseason there is no room for error.
“We just have to keep plowing ahead,” Pomona coach Jay Madden said after the Panthers’ Class 5A Jeffco League opener Thursday night at Jeffco Stadium. “Every week is like a playoff game because you never know where you are going to be at the end of the year.”
Pomona — No. 4 in the CHSAANow.com football rankings — took care of business against Lakewood on Thursday night. The Panthers rolled to a 42-0 victory. It was the second straight shutout win for Pomona, who defeated Chaparral 35-0 last week.
“Our defense is really looking good this year,” Pomona senior linebacker AJ Zamora said.
Pomona’s defense was impressive allowing just one Lakewood first down on the Tigers’ first six drives of the first half. Pomona junior Dante Kirklin intercepted Lakewood quarterback Max Schadler in the third quarter that set up Zamora’s 2-yard touchdown run that pushed Pomona’s lead to 42-0.
“I thought the kids really flew around tonight,” Madden said of his defense. “If they play that fast they are fun to watch.”
Pomona senior Jack Pospisil was also fun to watch. One of the top wide receivers in the state now turned quarterback for Pomona rushed for touchdowns of 50 and 7 yards, along with throwing a 43-yard touchdown pass to junior Isaiah Alvarez to open up a 21-0 lead in the first half.
“That was actually the first touchdown pass I’ve ever thrown in a game,” said Pospisil of his touchdown pass to Alvarez.
Pospisil has rushed for six touchdowns on the season to give a different dimension to the Panthers’ offense.
“He (Pospisil) has a great arm,” Madden said. “He just runs the show. He keeps the other team off balance because they need to think about him every single play. When he gets in the clear he isn’t going to get caught.”
Seniors Ian Dexter, Ben Cruz and Zamora all had touchdowns runs to help Pomona (2-0 record, 1-0 in league) induce a running clock with a 42-0 lead with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter.
“We have really been focusing and practicing hard,” Pospisil said. “Everyone is super into it this year. Everyone is playing for the team and not themselves.”
Pomona continues conference play with the Panthers hosting rival and No. 5 Ralston Valley (2-0, 1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at the North Area Athletic Complex. The Mustangs took a 21-3 league win over Mullen on Thursday night in their conference opener at NAAC.
“We are super excited,” Zamora said of facing Ralston Valley, who has won its last two meeting against the Panthers. “Two years in a row we have lost to them. We are going to come out, hit them in the mouth and take away their run game.”
Lakewood’s competition doesn’t get any easier. The Tigers (0-2, 0-1) face No. 2 Columbine next Friday night at Jeffco Stadium.
“Our road is not easy. Our league is not easy,” Lakewood coach Jeff Braun said about facing last year’s state runner-up. “I just want my kids to come back and compete.”