Punchers snag home playoff berth

Sadie Snively photo The Puncher defense shut out Riverside on Oct. 20, contributing to Big Piney’s sixth conference victory. Pictured are seniors Roger Young, No. 60, Dylon Woodward, No. 12 and Zack Murphy, No. 78.

BASIN, WYO. – The Big Piney High School Puncher football team rewrote program history by capturing the No. 2 seed in the West Conference for the first time as a 1A-9 Man varsity squad after soundly defeating Riverside High School, 35-0, on Oct. 20.

Kicking off under the Friday night lights in Basin, the Punchers posted their sixth conference win and secured a spot in the 1A-9 Man State Quarterfinals. As a result, Big Piney will host a playoff for the first time since 2017 when the Punchers played 2A rival Newcastle.

The Punchers play Pine Bluffs at Puncher Stadium for the opportunity to advance to the semifinals on Friday, Oct. 27, at 1 p.m.

“It was a big win Friday night up at Riverside,” said Head Coach Jeromy Moffat. “Offensively, we kew we had some things we could expose in Riverside’s defense and we did a great job executing our game plan.”

Senior Reuben Stoutenburg led the Puncher defense with 11 carries and 174 rushing yards resulting in two touchdowns.

“It was good to have Reuben back healthy this week,” said Moffat.

Junior Caden Clifford played a “good game” against Riverside, totaling 16 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown, said Moffat.

The Big Piney offense also controlled the passing game.

“(Senior quarterback) Champ Snively was very efficient completing seven out of 10 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns,” Moffat continued. “(Seniors) Karsyn Gurr and Jerrett Fear also had touchdown catches on big pass plays.”

The Puncher offense totaled 408 yards over the course of the game.

“Our O-line dominated the game up front, opening many holes where our backs weren’t even touched as they ran to the end zone,” said Moffat. “We accomplished our goal offensively of scoring a lot of points early and getting Riverside out of its offensive rhythm.”

The Big Piney defense went into the game ranked No. 1 in the state for both overall defense and rush defense, Moffat highlighted, and exceeded expectations against the Riverside offense.

“Riverside had the No. 1 ranked running back in the state averaging close to 180 yards a game rushing,” said Moffat. “Our kids accepted the challenge and we were able to hold him in check. I thought (seniors) Preston Bennett and Dylon Woodward had dominating games at their defensive end and linebacker positions. Our defensive backs and backers got exactly where they needed to be in pass coverage.”

Big Piney’s ironclad defense resulted in Riverside loosing 101 yards on offense.

“We coached the kids all week to treat this game with a playoff level type of intensity and that intensity was in full force the entire length of the game,” said Moffat. “Defensively, our entire squad played a hard-hitting, physical, gang-tackling defense.”

Moffat encouraged the community to come out and support the home team on Friday. Admission to the playoff game at Puncher Stadium is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

“It’s been awhile since we hosted a home playoff game,” Moffat remarked. “We are hoping to see a great turnout from the community and school and could not be more excited about kickoff against Pine Bluffs. There is nothing better than playoff football.”