Tigers drop opener to Wolves, 42-6Sep 3, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
For the first three quarters of Friday's football game at Bill Bush Stadium between Lander and Green River, things were very consistent.
In each quarter, the Wolves scored 14 points, while the Tigers failed to score.
It was only in the final period when the home side dented the scoreboard and kept the visitors off it in a 42-6 Lander defeat at the hands of the Wolves in the season-opener for both clubs.
Green River struck first on a one-yard scoring run by quarterback Chance Hofer and once the extra point was added on, the Wolves had all the points they would need for victory on this night.
But, that didn't stop them from continued to move the ball downhill against the beleaguered Tigers defense.
Following an interception by Tigers signal-caller Max Mazurie to kill a Lander drive, Hofer hooked up with Gavin Heiser for a 35-yard touchdown strike and it was a 14-0 advantage for the green-clad visitors at the end of the opening quarter.
It was more of the same in the second stanza, as Hofer took one down the sideline himself for a 56-yard scoring run, then completed a 69-yard touchdown pass to Candon Croft and it was 28-0 at the halftime break.
All throughout the game, the Tigers continued to kill themselves with mental errors, which didn't please Lander head coach John Rounds.
"The offside penalties are inexcusable and result from a lack of focus," he said."The issues with special teams and getting enough guys on the field stemmed from us getting banged up and at one time, we had four reserves in on the punt team trying to coordinate and that takes work.We'll continue to refine that process to ensure we're set on every play."
In the third quarter, Wolves freshman running back James King rumbled across the goal line from seven yards out, then Hofer hit Devin Love for a 45-yard score and it was 42-0 after three quarters.
Only in the fourth did the Tigers finally get anything going offensively, as DeAundre Velarde culminated a long drive with a five-yard run for Lander's only points of the game as the extra-point attempt was botched by a bad snap.
According to Rounds, getting some points on the board was critical in moving forward.
"From a confidence perspective, it was important to get on the board," said Rounds."We did minimize mistakes from the turnover perspective, only having one, but we had a couple of untimely holding penalties when we had other opportunities deep in their territory.But, we can definitely build on that drive going into next week."
However, the Lander boss admitted his squad must improve at successfully engaging opposing players on both sides of the ball in order to execute properly.
"Defensively, we were in good position a majority of the game, but we must tackle better," he said."Offensively, we were able to open some holes and have some good runs, but we must be better at maintaining blocks and we have to get our passing game going."
For now, the gap between the Tigers and teams like the Wolves is obvious, said Rounds.
"Right now, they have more depth than we do and more confidence," he said."They're coming off a season where they only lost two games and were in the state semis.They played with that confidence throughout the game.We're still building that belief in ourselves and if we can get the ball rolling, I think we'll get there."
Velarde finished the game with 14 carries for 77 yards, while Brody Dempster added 10 carries for 44 yards and Nathan Motherway ran eight times for 34 yards.
Mazurie was 2-of-12 passing for 26 yards, completing throws to Velarde and Cody Renner.
Velarde also led the Tigers on the defensive side of the ball with 13 points, while Jasper Roy had 10 on the game.
Next up for Lander (0-1) is a visit to Class 2-A Glenrock on Friday.
"We were actually very encouraged by the effort of the team last night," said Rounds."As I told the team after the game, there are definitely things we need to correct and clean up, but the effort was there and that gives me a good feeling going forward.We'll get back to work on Monday and get ready for a slobber-knocker against Glenrock."
Green River 14 14 14 0 -- 42
Lander 0 0 0 6 -- 6
GRV - Hofer 1-yard run (Ungaro kick), 6:41.
GRV - Heiser 35-yard pass from Hofer (Ungaro kick), 4:44.
GRV - Hofer 56-yard run (Ungaro kick), 4:21.
GRV - Croft 67-yard pass from Hofer (Ungaro kick), 1:28.
GRV - King 8-yard run (Ungaro kick), 7:17.
GRV - Love 45-yard pass from Hofer (Ungaro kick), 2:05.
LAN - Velarde 5-yard run, (kick failed), 5:43.
Green River - Hofer 10-105, King 10-45, Ivie 6-31, Serrano 2-23, Croft 5-12, Jensen 1-4.
Lander - Velarde 14-77, Dempster 10-44, Motherway 8-34, Shakespeare 2-3, Mazurie 5-(-2).
Green River - Hofer 12-14-0-264.
Lander - Mazurie - 2-10-1-26.
Green River - Croft 2-108, Love 4-89, Heiser 2-48, Mitchell 1-8, White 1-6, Ivie 2-5.
Lander - Renner 1-21, Velarde 1-5.