Wranglers defend home turf against Rangers


Robert Galbreath photos

PINEDALE – The final 2 minutes of the conference game between the Pinedale High School Wranglers and the Kemmerer Rangers ticked down on the scoreboard at Sunny Korfanta Field at Gene Andrews Stadium on Friday, Oct. 6.

Kemmerer found itself in possession but going nowhere thanks to a tenacious Wrangler defense. Sophomore Wylee Willson immediately tackled the Kemmerer Ranger returning Pinedale’s kick.

Fellow sophomore Boeh Gamble took down the Rangers’ running back at the line of scrimmage. Kemmerer failed to complete a pass and turned over possession.

The Wrangler offense stepped up to the line of scrimmage. Senior quarterback Bodie Jensen took the snap and handed the ball to sophomore Sergio Duarte-Villa.

Taking the ball, Duarte-Villa shot through an opening in the Ranger defense and chewed up 30 yards into the end zone to score Pinedale’s fourth touchdown of the game.

For the first time since the 2019 season, the home scoreboard favored the Pinedale Wranglers, 36-6.

Kemmerer’s final attempt to reach the end zone stalled out, culminating in a sack at the line of scrimmage by Wrangler senior Jake Hammer.

Students, parents, fans and members of the PHS cheerleading team flooded the gridiron, a loud roar greeting the triumphant Wranglers as they circled back from shaking hands with their opponents.

Pinedale’s resounding victory was a much-needed home win and the result of years of blood, sweat, tears, and most of all, dedication by the Wranglers.

“It was a great game played on all sides by the Wranglers,” said Head Coach David Thrash. “The consistency and focus this week was fun to watch and the coaching staff and I are super proud of these young men and their efforts to begin playing at the level they are capable. It was a good step in building confidence as we prepare for Mountain View. A big shoutout to the student section and fans that support these young men and celebrated on the field after the game.”

A memorable game

The Wranglers kicked off their epic game with 3 points early in the first quarter when senior Brody Hamby delivered a perfect field goal.

Building on that momentum, a solid Wrangler defense promptly shut down the Rangers’ first drive. Sophomore Landon Fornstrom took down the Rangers’ receiver. Tackles by Willson and sophomores Cale Dauwen and Quincy Mika shut down Kemmerer’s offensive.

Taking possession, Pinedale commenced a sustained drive into the end zone with Jensen and Dauwen driving the ball forward.

Jensen grabbed the snap, charged up the center of the field and smashed a hole in Kemmerer’s D-line to score Pinedale’s first touchdown. A good kick by Hamby placed the Wranglers ahead, 10-0.

The Pinedale defense hounded Kemmerer on the Rangers’ ensuing drive, including a tackle by junior Garett Scobey.

Kemmerer fumbled the ball, recovered instantly by PHS senior Dustin Larsen. Holding onto the ball, Larsen sprinted into the end zone to score Pinedale’s second touchdown. Hamby’s kick brought the score to 17-0 in the Wranglers’ favor.

The Pinedale defense closed out Kemmerer’s first drive in the second quarter. Senior Doug Dexter led a sack. Larsen caught Kemmerer’s runner in the back field. Junior Cash McCann and Dexter made a tackle for no gain.

Pinedale’s D-line showed no mercy as the second quarter progressed, consisting of tackles by Hammer, Scobey, Dauwen and sophomore Kolbyn Jaquez.

As the second quarter came to a close, sophomore Ian Rigo stepped into the driver’s seat as quarterback. Rigo handed the ball off to Dauwen. Putting his head down, Dauwen churned up the center and into the end zone to score Wrangler touchdown no. 3.

Pinedale dominated the halftime scoreboard, 23-0.

The third quarter opened with Kemmerer in possession, although the Pinedale defense quickly shut them down. Hammer and Gamble made a sack in the backfield.

Picking up possession, Rigo completed a pair of passes to Jaquez and Fornstrom for a first down. Dauwen drove up the middle and Rigo delivered a pass to Mika for a first down.

Dauwen pushed the line of scrimmage close to the goal line in Kemmerer territory. Rigo took the snap and dove into the end zone to score another Wrangler touchdown.

Pinedale advanced on the scoreboard, 29-0.

The Pinedale defense drew blood on Kemmerer’s ensuing drive with tackles by Hammer, Dexter and junior Branson Simmons.

The Rangers managed to reach the goal line in the fourth quarter. Pinedale answered back when Duarte-Villa ran the ball into the end zone with less than 2 minutes remaining on the clock.

The Wranglers hit the road to play conference rival Mountain View on Oct. 13., with kickoff at 3 p.m.