By James Bartolo
Following a heartbreaking 55-54 double overtime loss to Pueblo West, the Pueblo South Colts mended their wounds Friday night by collecting a 49-7 victory over the Coronado Cougars.
The Colts took charge immediately following the opening kickoff as senior kick returner Thomas Pannunzio dashed 92-yards along the left sideline for the first of many touchdowns from South.
“When I scored that first touchdown I was first thinking that this was just what we needed as a team.” Pannunzio said.
“We needed more energy than what we had and that play gave us the spark we needed for the rest of the game.”
On offense, the Colts confused the Cougar defense early on by balancing quality rushes from senior running back Steve Brock with a pair of receptions from wide receiver Marcell Barbee, the second of which gave the Colts their second touchdown of the game, making the score 14-0.
Following a forced fumble and recovery by senior defensive tackle Parker Stephens, the South Colts offense found themselves in the red zone once again.
Rolling out to his right, South quarterback Zach Cozzolino was able set his feet and released a 23-yard dagger to Pannunzio who barely managed to keep himself in bounds, giving the Colts a 21-0 lead.
Coronado senior quarterback Toby Smith struggled for the majority of the first half and threw an interception that was returned 55 yards for a touchdown by the 6-foot-3 Marcell Barbee.
Thomas Pannunzio scored his third touchdown of the game with 4:29 left in the by receiving a 26-yard pass from Cozzolino. Pannunzio recorded a total of 86 all-purpose yards for the night, 53 of them being receiving yards.
Trailing 35-0 in the final minutes of the first half, the Coronado Cougars scored their first and only touchdown with 4-yard rush by junior running back Troy Renner.
With just 47 seconds left in the first half, Colts tight end Jeremy Cody bobbled a 14-yard toss from Cozzolino before reeling it in to give the Colts their sixth touchdown of the game.
The Colts’ final score came with 6:45 left in the third quarter as Cozzolino’s lob slipped through the arms of Cougar defender Tyler Clark and into the hands of Colts wide receiver Jesse Anzar.
South used their fourth quarter lead to get their younger players some reps including sophomore quarterback Logan Petit and running back Connor Huth, who rushed for 57 yards on 9 carries for the night.
“It’s always a benefit to play a lot of guys and hopefully get everyone valuable experience. A lot of guys played well and we are excited about all the children we have in our program.” said South Head Coach Ryan Goddard.
The 3-1 Colts have gotten off to a hot start as they have scored at least 35 points in each of their opening four games.
This early success is something that Pannunzio attributes to excellent team leadership.
“Everywhere you look there is someone who gets looked up to and that helps a lot more than just having one or two main leaders.”
Next week the Colts will face their crosstown rivals, the 0-4 Pueblo East Eagles in the 58th annual Cannon Game.
In their last meeting, the Colts fell to the Eagles 24-14 and are looking to redeem themselves.
“This upcoming week, we just have to focus on our improvement and keep working to get better.” Goddard said.