Wranglers destroyed by EaglesSep 17, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer
Friday's game in Sheridan County was expected to be one of the best in Class 1-A, but fumbles, bad snaps and interceptions change the complexion into a blowout.
Host Tongue River moved to 2-1 on the season with a 48-0 route of Shoshoni in the second-ever meeting between the two schools, with both coming in the last 10 months.
Shoshoni could not hang onto the ball. Slick conditions and rain led the Wranglers to 19 fumbles and they lost seven of those. Tongue River defenders picked off a pair of Shoshoni passes, as well.
The Eagles are most likely playing their last season in Class 1-A 11-man football, with only 13 players on the roster and are scheduled to drop to 6-man football next season.
But, they're the defending state champions and they rose to the occasion behind juniors Elias Dillon-Bennett and Zack Schankey, who finished the night with 77 and 66 yards, respectively, in the treacherous field conditions.
Shoshoni's offense misfired the entire game.
The Wranglers rely on misdirection and timing to execute their single-wing sets and the shotgun snaps spun wildly in the wet conditions.
Shoshoni spent as much time chasing loose balls as they did running plays and their collective frustration showed in the game statistics.
The Wranglers picked up just two first downs in the entire game,the first on a broken play after scooping up a fumble early in the first period and the second by penalty late in the game.
Tongue River has just two returning starters from their 2016 state championship season in Kyler Heiling and Jay Keo, but the team has rapidly improved on the season.
Heiling was nearly impossible for the Wranglers to block and finished the game with a whopping 39 defensive points, including three fumble recoveries and one touchdown on a 35-yard scoop and score play in the third.
The Wranglers host their rivals, the winless Wind River Cougars next Friday in their annual classic, a game takes on even more importance than most in the 47-year rivalry as the winner has an open path to the playoffs.
Tongue River 14 7 14 13 - 48
Shoshoni 0 0 0 0 - 0
TR - Elias Dillon-Bennett 12-run (kick) 6:02
TR - Dillon-Bennett 2 run (kick) :47
TR - Zack Schankey 2-run (kick) 3:11
TR - Dillon-Bennett 1-run (kick) 3:05
TR -Kyler Heiling 35-fumble return (kick) :57
TR - Luke Stutzman (kick failed) 5:08
TR - Kyle Breen 20-run (kick) :48