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By Brennan Riker
Special to The Post Dispatch
POST-In dramatic fashion, the Post Bold Gold Antelopes (1-4) outlasted their rival the Slaton Tigers (1-4) in the 88th ‘War on 84’ to give the Bold Gold their first victory of the 2021 season,
snapping a four-game losing streak. The Homecoming win gave the Antelopes their third straight win over Slaton, and it brings the overall series with the Tigers to a 44-41-3 lead for Post.
Post was first to put points on the board in the opening quarter after quarterback Will Fairbanks threw a 31-yard touchdown to a wide-open Zach Courtney to give Post the lead. Post missed the PAT to give the Antelopes a 6-0 edge. Post then got the ball back after Slaton went 3-and-out on offense, and Courtney blocked Slaton’s punt and took the ball all the way to the Tiger 5-yard line. The blocked punt set up a Fairbank quarterback sneak that gave Post a 12-0 lead, as the Antelopes did not get the 2-point conversion.
Slaton responded on their next drive with a long drive that ended in a rushing touchdown from Andre Trotty for the Tigers. Post blocked the PAT attempt to bring the score to 12-6 Post. On the next Post drive, Fairbanks threw an interception that was returned by Trotty for a Tiger touchdown. Slaton missed the 2-point conversion to bring the score to 12 apiece. Both defenses were able to keep the opposing offenses at bay in the 2nd quarter, and both teams entered halftime at a 12-12 tie.
The Antelopes had a solid 3rd quarter offensively and defensively. Senior halfback Steven Huff scored a 8-yard rushing touchdown early in the quarter, and senior Shawn Looney kicked a successful PAT to bring the score to 19-12. Right before the end of the quarter, Fairbanks had a 2-yard quarterback sneak to give Post a 25-12 advantage over Slaton after a missed PAT.
Slaton ended a two-quarter scoring drought in the 4th quarter with 5:11 left in the game. After a steady drive, the Antelope defense was able to bring the Tigers to a 4th & 10 on the Post 15-yard line. Slaton quarterback Benjamin Perez threw a touchdown pass to Trotty, and the successful PAT brought the score to 25-19.
Post then went 3-and-out on the next possession to give Slaton the ball back with 2:24 left in the game at the Slaton 25-yard line. The first play of the drive was a short pass to C.J. Anzley, and Anzley was able to take the ball all the way to the Antelope 19-yard line for a big 56-yard gain. Slaton was able to push the ball all the way to the 1-yard line with over a minute left in the game to spare. The 1st & Goal play was a quarterback sneak that was stopped short. On the next play, Slaton again tried to sneak the ball up the middle, but the Tigers were stuffed by the Post defense. Slaton was forced to use their last timeout with 8 seconds left to set up the last play of the game on 3rd & Goal. On the final play of the game, Perez tried to sweep to the right, and as he was headed to the bottom corner of the end zone, sophomore Cruz Pantoja-Navarro hit Perez out of bounds to keep him short of the pylon as time expired, and Pantoja-Navarro’s game-saving stop won the day for the Bold Gold. Video and photographic evidence proved that Perez never reached the end zone, as Perez was not only out of bounds due to the tackle, but the ball was not close to reaching the pylon or knocking it over.
The Antelopes established a solid running game in this game, rushing for an overall total of 200 yards. Huff had a spectacular game on the ground with 130 rushing yards and a touchdown. Fairbanks produced the second most rushing yards with 42 yards and two touchdowns. Slaton was able to best move the ball through the air with 168 passing yards. The penalty bug struck the Antelopes again, committing nine penalties which cost Post a total of 100 yards. Both teams struggled to handle the ball well on offense, as Post coughed up the ball three times, and Slaton coughed up the ball four times. Junior Sebastian Chapa led the Antelope defense with 19 total tackles, four of those being solo tackles. Courtney recovered three fumbles, and Pantoja-Navarro had one interception. Courtney also had a blocked PAT along with junior Isaiah Crawford.