Big Red to open season against EvanstonAug 24, 2017 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
Ten months ago, the Riverton High School Wolverines football team possessed an offensive juggernaut of a football team and ended the season a yard short of knocking off eventual state champion Star Valley.
This year, the Wolverines again look loaded and poised to spin the scoreboard offensively and have worked through preseason practices getting ready for their home opener, a week-zero game that counts, against now-Class 3-A Evanston this Friday night at Wolverine Field.
Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
"We're getting things ready," said Riverton head coach Pat Patterson, now in his fifth season.
The Wolverines paced through a controlled scrimmage on Saturday and tried to stage "best-on-best" matchups to better simulate game speed.
"We looked more at matchups to evaluate personnel and not so much the team portion of the game," said Patterson.
The veteran coach said his team's morale and team attitude have been most impressive early on with just over 80 players who have slogged through the physical demands of two-a-day workouts.
"We have asked a lot of kids to play positions they have not played before and we have not had anybody balk about it -- just wanting to do what is best for the team," said Patterson.
The Wolverines will look to their team captains, seniors Brodie Roden, Nic Fenton, Brokk Nyberg and Jaren Draper, chosen at the team's banquet last season, to continue providing leadership throughout the season, just like they did in the summer.
"Kids are busy and a lot of our skilled kids played baseball, but we still had a good turnout in the weight room, especially our younger kids that don't have jobs," said Patterson.
"We had good turnout on Monday nights, 15-20 kids, (at seven-on-seven scrimmages).
Assisting Patterson on the sidelines are assistant coaches offensive coordinator Beau Sheets, Matt Mason, Derek Watson, Levi Wille, Aaron Papich and Randy Weber.
Focus on defense
As has been the case the last several seasons, if Riverton wants to advance deep into the Class 3-A playoffs, it must find a way to improve its defense. Last year, Riverton had the best offense in Class 3-A, but only Jackson gave up more real estate than Riverton's 433 yards per game.
"This year I have taken over the defense," said Patterson. "We are determined to do whatever we can to stop the run. We'll be more diligent about watching our positions and making sure kids are doing what they are supposed to do."
The Wolverines have lucked into an exchange student who could be a difference maker as the season progresses.
Maurice Gartenschlaeger has been in Riverton just a few weeks, but already has demonstrated an ability to send kicks to the end zone with ease.
Although it may take some time to learn the rhythm of field goal kicks, Gartenschlaeger was 7-of-8 from 50 yards, 5-of-8 from 55 yards and 1-of-4 from 60 yards in practice, according to Patterson. Wednesday night, punting for the very first time in his life, Gartenschlaeger turned over a spiraling rocket that would have been a 50-yard punt from the line of scrimmage.
Head coach Pat Fackrell brings his Evanston team to Riverton for the first time since 2002 and for the first time ever to Wolverine Field.
The red and blue Red Devils, playing for the first time in Class 3-A, are trying to rebuild a team that lost its senior quarterback in its first game last year and could not dent the win column, finishing 0-9.
"We're excited to pick this game up since we had an open week in week six," said Fackrell. "We will find out who we are and what we can do. I hear we are stepping down and moving down, but there is great football played in Class 3-A, especially this side of the state."
Evanston plans to stage a run-first attack against Riverton, Fackrell said and thinks Riverton will again have a wide-open attack.
"We have a good stable of running backs and a good returning lineup front," he said. "They had a ton of varsity reps last year. We have always run the ball to set up the pass."
Riverton will have a unique week off after its game this Friday and will play its first road game on Sept. 8 at Green River.
Wolverine football schedule
Aug. 25 vs. Evanston
Sept. 1 Open
Sept. 8 at Green River
Sept. 15 vs. Glenrock
Sept. 22 at Douglas
Sept. 29 vs. Lander
Oct. 6 vs. Rawlins
Oct. 13 at Buffalo
Oct. 20 at Torrington
QB Treyton Paxton
TB Nic Fenton
HB Caleb Clayson
WR Brodie Roden
WR Jaren Draper
TE Colton Patterson
LT Jake Fossey
LG Brokk Nyberg
C Chase Garcia
RG Cade Campbell
RT Carsten Werberlow
DE Chase Garcia
DE Carsten Werberlow
RT Hunter Lawson
LT Brokk Nyberg
LB Caleb Claysoin
LB Logan Alley
SS Brodie Roden
SS Nic Fenton
FS Jaren Draper
CB Dawson Lane
CB Aleric Adams