WOODLAND PARK — In some ways, it's Nolan Bynum's world and everyone else just lives in it. The Delta quarterback was solid both on offense and defense to keep his Delta Panthers undefeated through Week 3.
Delta traveled over the terrain of the Rocky Mountains to get a 27-2 win over another group of Panthers donning green and white in Woodland Park.
The battle of two of the Class 2A CHSAANow.com top 10 teams lived up to the hype as one quarter and few key turnovers really made the difference.
And if Bynum showed one thing, it's that he's happy to capitalize off turnovers if he gets the chance. The teams got out of the first quarter locked in a scoreless tie, but Bynum quickly found Nathan Scharnhorst for a 25-yard touchdown to get Delta (3-0 overall, 1-0 2A West League) on the board.
He connected with Scharnhorst again for 44-yard touchdown toss to push the lead to 14-0.
That's when the defense stepped up. Colton Johnson intercepted a Mason Pyles pass setting up Bynum's third touchdown pass of the quarter - and the game - with a 48-yard strike to Noah Nortnik with just 23 seconds left in the first half.
"After that second one, when we beat them deep I thought we'd be able to come back to that all night," Bynum said. "They were momentum changers for sure heading into the half."
And they were more crucial than Bynum or his teammates thought they'd be. The Woodland Park (2-1, 1-1) defense adjusted nicely in the second half and didn't get beat by any big throws in the third or fourth quarter.
The problem was the lack of offense. Whether it was Colin Kucera or Pyles taking the snaps, Woodland Park couldn't find a sustained rhythm to get into the end zone. Even when they got within striking distance, disaster struck in the form of a turnover. Bynum had thrown an interception early in the game, but made up for it with a defensive pick of his own in the third. On the first play on offense, Timothy Horn was swallowed up in the end zone for a safety.
It turned out to be a fair trade, giving up two points instead of seven with a Woodland Park touchdown.
"We didn't really plan on that so it was a little surprising," Delta coach Ben Johnson said. "I thought our defense played well. They were solid tonight."
They complimented the second quarter offensive effort nicely and despite playing to good games to start the year, Woodland Park learned quickly that falling behind the 2019 2A runner-up early is not a recipe for success. Joe Roskam will look back to the drawing board and try to push his team forward to a playoff appearance.
"They did a nice job of being able to contain us," Roskam said. "They didn't let get anything vertical and that little nose guard that No. 50 kid (Jeffery Griffth), he's a tough kid. We had a hard time blocking him inside."
Bynum added a rushing a touchdown in the closing two minutes of the game and left the field pleased knowing that the team is capable of jumping on the bus for a long ride and still playing at a high level.
"It's a whole different style of football over here on the eastern slope," Bynum said. "On the western slope, everyone is hard-nosed and just runs the ball right at you. Guys that throw it around are a lot more fun to play against."