Chiefs win first game in four yearsSep 10, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer
A pair of fourth-quarter fumble returns by opportunistic Wyoming Indian defenders lifted the Chiefs to their first win of the season, 26-12, over the visiting Wind River junior varsity on Saturday in Ethete.
"I've been waiting four years to say this," Wyoming Indian head coach Todd Ghormley said to his team, "Well, it looks like we won."
The game was hampered by a constant rain of yellow flags. The longest penalty-free series of the game was only three plays by both teams.
The plethora of violations slowed play to a crawl at times and a combined 13 fumbles, with eight of those resulting in a change of possession further slowed the clock.
After a scoreless opening period, Wind River freshman Kaden Dower hit Wyoming Indian quarterback Latrell Ferris as he dropped back to pass.
The ball flew straight into Dower's hands and he raced 42-yards for the opening score of the game.
Wyoming Indian fumbled again on the ensuing kickoff when Julian Guina knocked the ball loose and Dower recovered it at the 30-yard line.
Wind River backed up to a 4th-and-40 on six consecutive penalties and Dower's punt was forced high by a furious Wyoming Indian rush.
Hiissiis Goodnight took a pitch in the left flat and he raced 36-yards for the tying score.
Wind River stalled again, largely on penalties, but a 55-yard punt by Dower pinned the Chiefs deep.
Wyoming Indian punted the ball back after three ineffective plays and freshman Leslie Noseep rattled Wind River punt returned Matt Gordon with the hardest hit of the game.
Dillan Cachelin ran off-tackle on a 27-yard run to the six and Jeriko Martinez score two plays later on a three-yard plunge.
Fumbles came repeatedly to open the second half.
Jeff Locke recovered a Cougars miscue, but the Chiefs fumbled on a fourth-down attempt at the 17-yard line.
A 38-yard pass from Ferris to Noseep ended with Wind River's Owen McAdams recovering the ball at the 21-yard line on the other end of the field.
Matthew Underwood and Theron Mason began playing a lot in the Wind River backfield and the duo sacked Stockman Stagner twice before Mason recovered a fumble on the third hit.
All the Cougars' turnovers eventually paid off for the Chiefs and Ferris found Noseep on an eight-yard strike to tie the game at 12-12.
Haukaas scooped up a Cougars fumble on the next series at the 31-yard line and rolled untouched into the end zone for Wyoming Indian's first lead.
Kyle Laird threw a pass into the flat that went incomplete, but it was behind the line and remained a live ball.
Locke picked up the errant ball and ran down the west sideline for another scoop-and-score play.
Goodnight scored the two-point conversion run and the Chiefs held on for the 26-12 decision.
"We didn't do anything spectacular," said Ghormley. "We're just trying to play fundamental football."
Wyoming Indian plays the Riverton JV next week, while the Cougars have a tough challenge at the varsity level, hosting Class 3-A Rawlins at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Wyoming Indian 0 6 6 14 - 26
Wind River JV 0 12 0 0 - 12
WR - Kaden Dower 42-interception return (run failed) 10:50
WI - Hiissiis Goodnight 36-run (pass failed) 8:27
WR - Jeriko Martinez 3-run (run failed) 3:11
WI - Leslie Noseep 8-pass from Latrell Ferris (pass failed) 9:54
WI - Robert Haukaas 31-fumble return (pass failed) 7:49
WI - Jeff Locke 46-fumble return (Goodnight run) 4:04