PINEDALE – A sunny, cloudless sky and light breeze greeted the Wranglers on Friday, Sept. 3 – perfect football weather. Excited fans filled Gene Andrews Stadium for the regular season opener between Pinedale and 2A East rival Glenrock.
The sidelines on Sunny Korfanta Field buzzed with energy as the Wranglers prepared for action. Pinedale played with drive and class although Glenrock won on the scoreboard, 44-0.
The Herder offense launched an offense barrage in the first half, finding gaps in the Wrangler defense, to score 36 points by halftime.
The Wranglers kept their heads in the game and managed to slow Glenrock’s momentum in the second half, holding the Herders to one touchdown.
Head Coach Clay Cundall stated the game was another learning experience for the team.
“Our ball security and exchanges were poor,” he added. “We need to continue to improve as tacklers, and we need to limit the mental errors so that they don’t compound and create more errors. We just need to be better and have a growth mindset so that we’re ready to improve each and every day.”
Despite tackles from sophomore Jayce Ramage, senior James Kervitsky and sophomore Austin Green, Glenrock managed to get the ball into the end zone for its first touchdown.
A tackle by junior Tucker Watson shut down the Herder’s attempt at extra points.
Glenrock fumbled on its next possession in the first quarter, the ball recovered by freshman Liam Baldwin.
Glenrock scored again in the first quarter but failed to score extra points thanks to swift feet and thinking by Kervitsky. Kervitsky charged Glenrock’s quarterback and broke up a pass intended for a Herder in the end zone.
Sophomores Dustin Larsen and Bodie Jensen attempted to slow the next Herder offensive drive with tackles before Glenrock broke through and scored again in the first quarter.
Pinedale chewed up yards on its next drive into the second quarter. Senior quarterback Konner Ziegler returned the ball at the Wranglers’ 40-yard line. Kervitsky took a handoff and bulldozed down the field, gaining 7 yards. Ethan Jensen ran the ball over the 50-yard line into Herder territory for a first down.
The second quarter opened with another Wrangler first down when Ramage completed a 15-yard pass play.
Glenrock took possession on a turnover on downs. Watson, Ziegler, Larsen, sophomore Cordelle Lane and senior Tim Hosler each pulled off a tackle before Glenrock found an opening and scored touchdown number four.
Junior Luke Gray returned the ensuing kickoff at the Wrangler’s 20-yard line, tucked the ball, dodged numerous tackles and ran to the 39-yard line in Herder territory.
Senior Bryton Nelson pressured the quarterback in Glenrock’s next drive, breaking up a pass.
Glenrock scored on its first drive of the third quarter though the Pinedale defense halted Glenrock’s next drive. A wall of Wranglers – nearly the entire line – stopped Glenrock in its tracks on the first play.
Tackles led by Lane, Kervitsky and Watson forced Glenrock to turn over possession.
Pinedale was unable to score on its final drive. Green punted, sending the ball flying from the Wrangler’s 15-yard line deep into Glenrock’s zone.
The Pinedale defense hammered away at Glenrock as the Herders tried to run the ball with the final quarter ticking down.
Ethan Jensen ran Glenrock’s running back out of bounds. Green and Lane pulled out a tackle. Hosler took down the Herder’s runner on the next play. Nelson made a tackle and Kervitsky recovered a fumble, causing the Herder’s to turn over possession.
The Wranglers host Kemmerer at Sunny Korfanta Field and Gene Andrews Stadium Friday, Sept. 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.