PINEDALE – The shirt Sam Harnack wore on the sidelines as she cheered for her son’s team said it all: “Pinedale Wranglers: We play at 7,200 feet. What’s your superpower?”
The Wranglers certainly played as if they had superpowers in their opening game of the season, rolling to a 47–6 victory over Lyman before a home crowd in Pinedale. The Sept. 1 game was never close after the first quarter, when Lyman put its only points on the board.
“We scored three times in the first half. Joey McCulloch caught a pass from Wyatt Phelps for our first touchdown of the year,” Wranglers Coach Mitch Espeland said. “Our first drive was really sound. We made few mistakes, if any. However, we got a little complacent in the first quarter and allowed Lyman to hang around. In the second quarter we made up for it by forcing some turnovers and taking advantage of those turnovers.”
Lyman failed to convert on its only touchdown of the game, while the Wranglers converted on both its first touchdowns, bringing the score to 14–6 with 4:02 left in the half. With 1:25 left in the second quarter, the Wranglers scored again, but missed on the conversion, bringing the score to 20–6 at the halfway point.
“In the second half we kept our foot on the gas,” Espeland said. “Our run game was great and our defense did not allow Lyman to have any opportunities to score. The boys played an impressive half of football.”
Pinedale made it 28–6 with 7:15 left in the third quarter; and scarcely two minutes later, made it 35–6, then 41–6 early in the fourth. No. 6 Thomas Harnack put the Wrangler’s last points on the game when he scored with 2:18 left in the fourth.
Pinedale finished with 249 yards rushing for the game, and 78 yards passing, or 327 yards total on offense. McCulloch accounted for 123 yards rushing. Phelps completed seven of 11 eleven passes for a 64 percent completion rate.
Pinedale goes up against Cokeville in today’s game. As for what he’s looking for from his athletes in the season to come, Espeland said a lot of the ingredients were already there in the opener against Lyman.
“Our run game was great and we limited our mistakes on both sides of the ball,” the coach said. “I'd like to see us go a complete game without any let-downs or mental mistakes, but this was a great step in that direction.”