Late Rawlins TD dooms WolverinesOct 8, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher
q Riverton turned in its best defensive effort of the season, but only managed three points from its own offense.
By Steve Peck
If the history of the 2017 Riverton High School football season is ever written, the chapter on Friday night's game against Rawlins could be titled "The One That Got Away."
Seemingly poised to score a pivotal Class 3-A East conference win that likely would have secured a postseason date, the Wolverines couldn't maintain possession of the ball when they had the chance to unwind the clock against the Outlaws, losing 14-9, on Senior Night at windy Wolverine Field.
Riverton fell to 2-4 overall with the loss.
More importantly, the Wolverines are now 1-2 in the East and face Buffalo, also 1-2, this Friday on the road. The loser of that will fall from playoff contention.
With temperatures in the low 40s and winds ventilating the premises at 25-30 mph throughout, Riverton posted its best defensive effort of the season in both points and yardage allowed, but it coincided with the worst offensive show of the season as well.
The Wolverines held Rawlins to 248 yards unofficially, limiting the running game to 144 yards after having given up 300 or more routinely all season long.
But the RHS passing game was hampered by the windy weather, managing a feeble 58 yards on eight completions in 15 attempts by junior quarterback Treyton Paxton. He's been one of Class 3-A football's top passers all season.
Rawlins brought pressure throughout the game and Paxton had to throw on the run about half the time.
Rawlins is a young team, with two sophomores and a junior starting in the backfield. Sophomore Kadin Forney scored both Outlaws touchdowns -- admirable enough in itself but made more so because the 165-pound starting halfback had to step in at quarterback for Rawlins after starter Quentin Romero, also a sophomore, left the game midway through the second quarter with a broken collarbone.
Forney did well, taking every snap from the shotgun formation. He completed just two passes, but one was a 47-yard rainbow to Bryce Jerome that flipped field position in the fourth quarter when Riverton had reason to believe it could regain possession in Rawlins territory.
Riverton held Rawlins on downs after that, taking over on its own 12-yard line. But, leading 9-6, the Wolverines immediately went three and out on a 3-yard run by Paxton, a fumble and recovery for a loss, a short completion to Colton Patterson, and a punt by Maurice Gartenschlaeger that carried just 22 yards in the hard, quartering wind (an earlier punt by Rawlins was blown backward for an 8-yard loss).
Rawlins then mounted the game-winning drive, with Forney and junior running back Damon Taylor trading carries for seven plays, including a 6-yard gain by Taylor on fourth down.
Forney scored, then ran in the 2-point conversion which eliminated the possibility of a tying field goal try by Gartenschlaeger, who had a booming 37-yarder earlier in the game and had won the previous week's game against Lander with a 48-yard boot.
It was going to take a touchdown to win, but the offense hadn't done much to that point. Riverton's touchdown had come when Riverton's Nic Fenton stripped Taylor after he had been stood up by the Riverton defense, ripping the ball away and taking it 25 yards to the house. Rawlins blocked Gartenschlaeger's PAT kick.
So, three full quarters later, the Wolverines still had scored just three points on offense and faced an 84-yard field after taking possession on the 16-yard line.
Jaren Draper, Riverton's top receiver and an all-state candidate, caught his only pass of the game for an 11-yard gain, and Fenton fought for another four yards on the ensuing first down.
Paxton found Brodie Roden for a 7-yard gain, but couldn't connect on the next two attempts.
After a 1-yard keeper, Paxton threw to Draper near the Riverton sideline, but the ball fell incomplete. Rawlins had the ball and the win.
"We played well at times," Riverton coach Pat Patterson told the troops afterward, "but we didn't take advantage of our opportunities.
"Too many turn-overs," he added, referring to a couple of interceptions by Rawlins, one coming when Riverton was in the red zone just before halftime.
"We've still got some games to play," said Patterson. "We've got to keep working and move forward."
Rawlins 0 6 0 8 -- 14
Riverton 6 0 3 0 -- 9
RIV -- Nic Fenton 25-yard fumble return (kick failed) 2:39
RAW -- Kadin Forney 4-yard run (run failed) 10:00
RIV -- Maurice Gartenschlaeger 37-yard field goal :22
RAW -- Forney 6-yard run (Forney run) 3:32
Rawlins -- Larenzo Ebell 3-5, Kadin Forney 16-54, Damon Taylor 23-85
Riverton -- Nic Fenton 11-68, Treyton Paxton 12-51, Dawson Lane 2-0.
Rawlins -- Quentin Romero 5-6-15-0, Kadin Forney 7-10-88-0
Riverton -- Treyton Paxton 8-15-58-2
Rawlins -- Bryce Jerome 1-47, Connor Mendez 4-7, Kadin Forney 1-0, Hunter Pixler 2-20, Damon Taylor 1-1
Riverton -- Brodie Roden 4-26, Colton Patterson 2-4, Maurice Gartenschlaeger 1-9, Jaren Draper 1-11