Wolverines drop opener to EvanstonAug 27, 2017 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
Costly red-zone turnovers and undisciplined penalties spoiled the Riverton Wolverines football team's season opener, as the Evanston Red Devils snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 21-8 win Friday evening at Wolverine Field.
The Red Devils, playing back in Class 3-A for the first time since 1990, completed just two passes but rushed 51 times for 309 yards and scored touchdowns in the second, third and fourth quarters, while Riverton found the end zone only once, in the game's final seconds.
"We had too many turnovers, but we had mental mistakes," said Riverton head coach Pat Patterson. "Illegal procedures (Riverton had seven of those) and penalties like that are drive-killers."
In all, the Wolverines were penalized 12 times for 70 yards.
Both teams had drive-killing penalties on their first possessions, but Riverton's defense held strong and started its second possession at its own 22-yard line.
Running back Nic Fenton busted through the middle of Evantson's 4-3 defense for a gain of 12 yards, and quarterback Treyton Paxton felt pressure, sprinted right and found senior receiver and team captain Jaren Draper, who had come back for the ball.
Draper, who finished with 108 yards receiving, turned inside at the 50-yard line, made two Red Devils miss, and advanced the ball to Evanston's 30-yard line.
Fenton again blew through the middle for 10 yards, but Dawson Lane's ensuing fumble ended the drive with 1:00 left in the first quarter.
Riverton held stout on the Red Devils' next drive after Leo Riley stripped the ball from an Evanston running back and gained great field position at Evanston's 39-yard line.
Paxton was sacked for a 20-yard loss and Riverton turned the ball over again when Fenton couldn't hang on after another rushing gain up the middle.
This time, Evanston made Riverton pay.
On third down, Hunter Groll went left, turned the corner and scampered for a 37-yard run and a touchdown.
"We've been a good football team for the last couple of years," said Red Devils coach Pat Fackrell. "Our O-line impressed and did their job well.
The Wolverines fought back and engineered another solid drive. Lane ran hard to Evantson's 15-yard line, but a holding penalty negated the big gain. The Red Devils started bringing blitzing pressure, the wind picked up, and Riverton again had a red-zone drive turned away.
Brodie Roden picked off Lloyd pass just before halftime, the fourth turnover of the game.
The Wolverines lost yardage on their first possession of the second half and Evanston then took control with a clock-chewing, 16-play drive, but the drive had controversy.
Looking at a third-and-2 at Riverton's 34-yard line, Tyus Cornia, the game's leading rusher with 138-yards, appeared to have the ball stripped by Riverton linebacker Caleb Clayson, but the referees had blown an inadvertent whistle, and the down was replayed.
"We were thinking, hey, we got another stop here and our defense was playing well," said Patterson. "The inadvertent whistle was huge."
Nine plays later, Terry Wheaton took the option pitch and sprinted around the left corner to paydirt.
"I'm very proud of our kids and how we controlled the clock," said Fackrell. "That was Evanston football."
Evanston added the dagger with three minutes left in the fourth quarter after Riverton, which had again with started a decent eight-play drive, turned the ball over when the snap to Paxton in the shotgun sailed high and gave Evanston possession.
The Red Devils took just five plays to advance 46 yards and Cornia's one-yard plunge with 3:14 remaining solidified his team's lead.
On the board
But, Riverton didn't quit.
Paxton looked left on first down and then fired a 29-yard strike to Draper in the back of the end zone for the Wolverines' only touchdown.
"We saw some good things tonight, we really did," said Patterson. "We'll heal up, find our mistakes, get back to work, and get ready for Green River."
Riverton has a bye next week and will travel to play the Wolves in Green River on Sept. 8.
Evanston 0 7 7 7-- 21
Riverton 0 0 0 8-- 8
EVAN - Groll 37-yard run (Richins kick), 7:59.
EVAN - Wheaton 6-yard run (Richens kick), 4:49.
EVAN - Cornia 1-yard run (Richens kick), 3:14
RIV - Draper 29-yard pass from Paxton (Draper 2-point conversion) 0:36.
RIV - Paxton 15-29, Fenton 14-52, Lane 4-27. Totals 33-98.
EVAN - Richins 4-56, Groll 7-66, Cornia 27-138, Wheaton 9-36, Lloyd 3-20, Rigby 1- -4. Totals 51-309.
RIV - Paxton 12-26-1 164.
EVAN - Richins 2-6-0 10, Lloyd 0-3-1 0. Totals 2-9-1 10.
RIV - Draper 7-108, Patterson 2-20, Roden 2-18, Muehler 1-18.
EVAN - Cornia 1-2, Anderson 1-8.
RIV - Draper 23, Campbell 15, Roden 13, Werbelow 10, Riley 9, Fenton 8, Werbelow 7, Lane 6, Clayson 5, Alley 4, Adams 4, Poll 3, Yellowbear 3, Nyberg 3, Lange 2, Lawson 2, Garcia 2, Patterson 2.
EVAN - Mathson 24, Griggs 17, Richins 14, Escalante 14, Overy 12, Kunz 11, McDonald 8, Lloyd 6, Thompson 5, Rigby 3, Wheaton 2, Anderson 2, Barker 2, Smith 2.