Wranglers can't overcome slow start to beat Kemmerer

PINEDALE – The Wranglers fell to Kemmerer in a game that boiled down to a tale of two halves on Friday, Sept. 10. The Ranger offense started in high gear and scored 20 points in the first two quarters.

The Wrangler defense rallied in the second half, shutting down further attempts by the Rangers to score points. Despite several notable runs up the field, the Pinedale offense struggled to make it into the end zone.

The final score stood at 20-0 in Kemmerer’s favor when the final buzzer sounded.

Head coach Clay Cundall expressed a positive attitude as the team continues to move forward.

“We’re still looking to put our best product on the field,” he added. “A few aspects of our play showed improvement against Kemmerer, but obviously we still have a lot of work to do. We need to do all we can to avoid turning the ball over and giving the opponent easy possessions. Most importantly, we need to remain positive and focus on the things we can control.”

Kemmerer scored right out of the gates, returning Pinedale’s kickoff into the end zone. A tackle by sophomore Austin Green foiled the Rangers’ attempt at a 2-point conversion.

The Rangers scored again on their next possession, making good on two extra points to bring the score to 14-0 in Kemmerer’s favor.

Pinedale moved the ball into Ranger territory on its second drive. Junior Ethan Jensen returned Kemmerer’s kickoff to the 25-yard line. Senior quarterback Konner Ziegler charged forward to Pinedale’s 37-yard line.

Senior James Kervitsky caught a handoff from Ziegler and ran the ball across the 50-yard line for a first down.

The Wrangler defense showed its teeth during Kemmerer’s next drive. Kervitsky and junior Tucker Watson led a wall of Wranglers, scrambling Kemmerer’s first play. Senior Tim Hosler swept in and took down Kemmerer’s ball carrier near the line of scrimmage.

Pinedale hammered away with tackles by sophomores Jayce Ramage and Bodie Jensen. Dustin Larsen pulled off a pair of tackles before a Wrangler pack led by Hosler and sophomore Cordelle Lane made a stop as the first quarter came to a close.

Watson and Kervitsky harassed the Rangers as they slowly made their way into Wrangler territory in the second quarter. Kemmerer finally managed to break through and score the last touchdown of the game. The Rangers fumbled on their attempt at a 2-point conversion.

The Wrangler offense ate up yards its first drive in the second quarter. Kervitsky and Ethan Jensen relentlessly pushed the ball forward. Ziegler held the ball and ran up the field for a first down. Kervitsky bulldozed to the 31-yard line in Ranger territory for a second first down.

The halftime score stood at 20-0 in Kemmerer’s favor.

The Wrangler defense refused to let the Rangers score again in the second half. Hosler, Ziegler, junior Luke Gray and Ethan Jensen each pulled off tackles as Kemmerer attempted to move the ball in the third quarter.

Larsen raced down the field, catching Kemmerer’s running back behind the line of scrimmage and forcing the Rangers to turn over possession.

Ethan Jensen pulled off a tackle before the Rangers fumbled and punted on their next drive.

As sleet began to fall, Ziegler returned the punt, carrying the ball over the 50-yard line for a first down. Bodie Jensen and Ethan Jensen pushed the ball up before Pinedale lost possession.

The Wrangler defense hounded Kemmerer in the fourth quarter. Senior Bryton Nelson pulled off the first tackle. Kervitsky, Gray, Green and Watson pummeled the Rangers into the ground.

Pinedale took over at its 12-yard line as the final minutes ticked down. Ziegler held the ball and carried it forward 12 yards for a first down. The quarterback again tucked the ball and ran up the middle for another first down.

The game ended with Kemmerer in possession and taking a knee as the final buzzer sounded.