Wolverines defeated by DouglasSep 24, 2017 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
Just when you think it wouldn't get any worse on a high school football Friday night, it did.
First, there was a weather delay at cool, rainy Douglas High School the Riverton Wolverines endured prior to kickoff and when play finally started, there were puddles visible on the artificially-surfaced field.
Next, Riverton quarterback Treyton Paxton broke his toe in the second quarter. The tough junior learned there was nothing that could be done to help his "ring toe" on his left foot and was able to fight on.
But, the injury shrank Riverton's playbook.
"I just planted wrong," said Paxton. "It was pretty painful. We didn't run any counters after that, but I wouldn't say it slowed me down."
Then, with the Wolverines knocking on the door and driving in the Bearcats' red zone with an opportunity tie the game in the fourth quarter, Paxton was tackled hard by two Douglas defenders and was asked to leave the game by Riverton athletic trainer Ross Anderson to check for injury.
Without Paxton under center, sophomore quarterback Dillon Lange's first varsity pass was intercepted and Riverton's hope for a win in Converse County was stalled.
The Bearcats (4-0, 1-0 Class 3-A East) scored once more in the fourth quarter, and defended their home turf with a 34-20 win in the first Clas 3-A East conference game for both teams.
Riverton's defense, which showed improvement and shut Douglas down on multiple drives, still gave up 265 yards rushing, 236 yards to the leading runner in Class 3-A, Michael Yeaman.
But, the bad luck streak wasn't over by a long shot.
On their way home, a rancid smell filled the Wolverines bus and forced the team to pull over at the Walton rest area just after 1 a.m.
An antifreeze leak was noticed and after waiting for another bus to come from Riverton and pick up the team, the Riverton Wolverines finally pulled into town after 5 a.m. on Saturday.
No doubt, it was a long day that melded into two -- a trip the Wolverines hope to forget.
But there are always silver linings to be found.
"During warmups, it was raining heavily, but by the time the game started, the rain kind of stopped," said Paxton.
Riverton (1-3, 0-1 Class 3-A East) actually controlled the game early. After taking the opening kickoff, the Wolverines mixed a controlled passing game and rushing attack, drove down the field on its opening drive and took a 7-0 lead when Paxton rolled right and connected with senior Brodie Roden with a six-yard pass for the game's first score.
The Wolverines defense, which didn't force Glenrock to punt a week ago, held Douglas on its first possession and after fielding a punt, Riverton's offense drove and scored again.
Paxton handed off to senior running back Nic Fenton, who tossed a short jump-pass to Colton Patterson to give Riverton a 13-0 lead.
"We started great, and were moving the ball," said Paxton. "We stopped them on defense. It was all good at the start of the game."
But the tide changed and Douglas ran off 27 straight points with Yeaman churning for three of his team's first four scores.
Riverton, which played from behind last week against Glenrock to gain its first win, didn't quit in Douglas, either.
Paxton hooked up with Jaren Draper for 35 yards and then found Roden on a screen pass that found Roden's hands, who sprinted around the Bearcats defense for a 44-yard third-quarter touchdown.
Then Riverton's defense bent, but didn't break and forced another Douglas punt.
Paxton started Riverton's drive at the Douglas 20-yard line, connected on passes to Roden and on fourth down, to Maurice Gartenschlaeger and mixed in Fenton runs.
Riverton was knocking on the door when Patterson snagged a pass as the third quarter ended.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Paxton rolled left, tucked and ran, but was drilled.
As the officials measured and gave Riverton a first-and-goal, Paxton was forced to the sidelines.
"I got hit by two guys and got up wobbly and kind of got the wind knocked out of me," said Paxton.
With the score 27-20, Lange handed to Fenton, who bulled his way to the 5-yard line.
Lange then tiptoed to the 1-yard line, but a key holding penalty pushed the Wolverines back to the 19-yard line. Lange then rolled left and lofted his first pass, which was picked off by Dawson Bratton and Riverton's hopes for a win were squashed.
Paxton returned, but Riverton was unable to score again.
"This was a big game and one we should've won," said Paxton. "We gave ourselves a chance at the end, but couldn't get it done. But, it's good to know we hung with them the whole time."
The Wolverines will be back at home against cross-county rival Lander this Friday at 7 p.m.
Riverton 13 0 7 0-- 20
Douglas 0 20 7 7-- 34
RIV - Roden, 6-yard pass from Paxton, (Gartenschlaeger kick), 6:06.
RIV - Patterson, 6-yard pass from Fenton, (PAT failed), 1:33.
DOUG - Yeaman 12-yard run, (PAT failed), 9:41.
DOUG - Yeaman 33-yard run, (PAT failed), 3:09.
DOUG - Bratton, 8-yard pass from Rhoades, (Yeaman PAT), 0:39.
DOUG - Yeaman 10-yard run, (Haukeried kick), 7:51.
RIV - Roden, 45-yard pass from Paxton, (Gartenschlaeger kick), 6:03.
DOUG - Bratton 4-yard pass from Rhoades, (Coffman kick), 2:08.
RIV - Fenton 15-63, Lane 1-6, Paxton 7-14. Totals 23-83.
DOUG - Yeaman 32-236, Henry 2-11, Rhoades 4-5, Cecil 2-6, Read 2-6. Totals 42-265.
RIV - Paxton 16-34-0 189, Fenton 1-1-0 6, Lang 0-1-1 0.
DOUG - Rhoades 13-23-0 150.
RIV - Fenton 2-25, Gartenschlaeger 6-15, Patterson 4-28, Roden 4-79, Draper 3-62.
DOUG - Cecil 3-33, Bratton 4-43, Coffman 19-26, Brooks 3-37, Barker 1-11.
RIV - Campbell 11, Draper 12, Garcia 7, Lane 4, Patterson 12, Alley 1, Muehler 5, Nyberg 6, Werbelow 2, Riley 5, Roden 6, Clayson 3, Lawson 7, Jacobs 1, Rummery-Rico 1.
DOUG - not available