Fourth quarter interceptions positioned the visitors from John Mall High School for two touchdowns in just two minutes, 35 seconds on Friday.
But it was the Walsenburg visitors' first six-pointer during last Friday's final quarter which proved most crushing.
Ignacio senior Dustin Sanchez had just scored a sterling 61-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion carry in the third quarter, giving the Bobcats a 23-22 lead.
The Panthers countered with a 13-play, 58-yard march which sapped 7:34 off the IHS Field scoreboard clock. It ended with junior Wesley Van Matre crashing in for a 2-yard TD with just 5:35 left in the battle.
He then made the two-pointer, regaining the guests a 30-23 lead, and JMHS quickly added on a first-down, 38-yard TD run by senior Phillip Valdez with 3:48 remaining, then a one-yarder with 1:13 to go.
In was John Mall's first win since October of 2016 after they had to cancel part of their season in 2017.
Sanchez finished the game with an outstanding 165 yards on just 11 carries, and sophomore Dylan Labarthe gained 63 on only seven.
"We were right in there," said Labarthe, acknowledging the fact that Ignacio (2-2, 0-0 1A Southern Peaks) led after the first, second and third quarters. "Things just got to us - the flags, everything - so that's what brought us down. But other than that I thought we played well as a team; I was pretty proud of everyone."
The visitors started the game intercepting Bobcat junior Ian Weinreich (3-of-14, 33 yds., TD, 3 INT) on just the third play from scrimmage. After the Panthers went three-and-out and punted, IHS struck first when Weinreich lobbed a 17-yard jump ball to freshman Sean Campbell in the front corner of the end zone.
Cesar Pedregon's PAT split the uprights, and the 'Cats led 7-0 with 6:38 left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Ignacio capitalized with a six-play, 79-yard drive, powered by a 53-yard Sanchez dash and capped with 8:17 left by a 16-yard Labarthe run. PAT holder Lee-Roy Monroe then flipped a sneaky two-point pass to junior Colten Jackson, increasing Ignacio's lead to 15-0 and showing that the 'Cats had learned from the previous week's blowout loss at Newcomb, N.M.
"We just had a different mentality coming into this," Labarthe said. "Our last game didn't go so well, so we wanted to turn things around and got it going with our running game. Things just kind of fell apart at the end."
The Panthers' pursuit began in earnest with a 23-yard score with 4:10 left before halftime, sewing up an eight-play, 50-yard series. A two-pointer trimmed IHS' lead back down to 15-8.
Labarthe, however, prevented any more damage before the break by intercepting the ball and setting the Bobcats' offense up at the JMHS 45 with 13.5 seconds left.
In the third quarter, John Mall had two possessions and touchdowns of 4 and 44 yards, and the Panthers (1-2, 0-0 1A Santa Fe) had their first lead, 22-15, with 6:08 left, then they started their drives for multiple touchdowns.
Ignacio takes this weekend off and will next see action Sept. 29 when the team travels to non-conference Colorado Springs Christian.
"We just need to work together, talk more," said Labarthe. "Break down on our tackling and just focus."
TURNING POINT: Pedregon hunted down and dropped Valdez for a 13-yard loss on the fourth quarter's first play, but was ejected later in the Panthers' prolonged possession for throwing a punch. The ball was advanced via penalty from the IHS 8 to the 4. Labarthe deflected John Mall's subsequent throw to the end zone, but when the Panthers scored two plays later, the series' effects became noticeable.