Wranglers demonstrate grit and class at Homecoming game

Sandy Wanfalt photo Sophomore Cale Dauwen, No. 9, completes a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Bodie Jensen to score a Wrangler touchdown against Lovell on Friday, Sept. 22.

PINEDALE – The odds seemed stacked against the Wranglers during the Homecoming game with Lovell on Sept. 22 – less-than-desirable wet and cold weather and a tough opponent with a senior- and junior-stacked starting lineup containing several players in excess of 6 feet.

Nothing that evening seemed to tip in the Wranglers’ advantage, including the final score heavily favoring Lovell, 51-6.

The athletes on both the Wrangler offense and defense kept on fighting down to the last second in spite of a worsening situation on the scoreboard. Regardless of the number of hits each Wrangler took, they stood back up and returned to the field, sometimes bruised or bleeding, to make positive gains, no matter how small those gains may have seemed.

Each athlete on that field played with grit, and more importantly, sportsmanship.

“The Wranglers fought hard in their loss to the Bulldogs on Friday,” said Head Coach David Thrash. “There are more signs each week of the improvement each young man is making and working to show on the scoreboard. The interception by (senior) Dustin Larsen, the runs by (sophomore) Cale Dauwen and conversion catches by (sophomore) Quincy Mika were great momentum starters for the team that ultimately led to (senior quarterback) Bodie Jensen finding Dauwen in the end zone.”

The Pinedale offense made significant gains in its first possession of the opening quarter. Sophomore Wylee Willson returned the ball to Pinedale’s 28-yard line. Jensen kept the ball, chewing up enough yards for a first down. Finding no options for a pass, Jensen once again put his head down and gained the yards for a first down.

Dauwen took a handoff, swept up the left side of the field deep into Bulldog territory for another Wrangler first down.

The Wrangler offense continued to make progress on its first drive of the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Ian Rigo completed a pass to Mika for a first down. Rigo kept the ball, churning enough yards for a first down. Rigo delivered another perfect pass spiraling to Mika.

On Lovell’s second drive of the second quarter, the Wrangler defense ground the Bulldogs to a halt.

The Bulldogs attempted to pass the ball. Quick on his feet, Larsen sniffed out the play and intercepted the pass.

Lovell scored twice as the third quarter opened. The Pinedale defense responded on the Bulldog’s third drive of the second half with tackles by senior Jake Hammer, Mika and Dauwen. Junior Garett Scobey made a sack in the backfield. Willson and sophomore Landon Fornstrom took down Lovell’s running back.

The Wranglers gained possession after recovering a fumble by Lovell. Dauwen drove forward for a first down.

Jensen took the snap, found Dauwen open in the end zone, and completed a perfect pass to Dauwen for a Wrangler touchdown.

The Pinedale defense made a solid stand on Lovell’s final drive in the fourth quarter. Hammer swept in to make a tackle. Senior Dodge Normington took down the Bulldog’s runner for no gain. Larsen followed up with a tackle for no gain.

The Wranglers travel to play Thermopolis on Friday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“This week we will clean up the mistakes to complete drives to put points on the board and not leave points on the field,” said Coach Thrash. “It is a continued process, and after another good week of practice, we will be ready to take on Thermopolis.”