May 18, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorBIG HORN -- Sheridan's Reece Hunter kicked a brilliant shot past Riverton High School goalkeeper Logan Ridgway in the middle of the second half for the only goal in a 1-0 win to put the Wolverines out of the running for a Class 4-A state soccer title Thursday in the opening round of the state tournament at the Big Horn Equestrian Center.
The host Broncs kept their chances alive of winning a second straight Class 4-A title in front of the home crowd.
RHS, the No. 4 seed from the West, beat Rock Springs 1-0 Friday to keep its hopes alive for a consolation title.
Sheridan was a pre-tournament favorite, and was the top seed from the Class 4-A East.
"I thought that we played awesome," RHS coach Erly Cornejo said after the Sheridan match.
"We came up with a game plan and we executed it. One kid just beat us. We knew that was kind of the risk with the system that we played, but we thought that it was the best chance that we had to compete. The kids believed in the system."
The game plan put in by Cornejo and his coaching staff was to focus on the defensive side of the ball to shut down the high-powered Sheridan team.
"We practiced it two days, and I'm just so proud of them," Cornejo said. "In the second half, we went back to getting numbers up on offense. We did a great job with that. It's tough to transition with that in the middle of the game without taking a timeout. We had some chances. I'm super proud of the way the kids fought, believed and stayed positive. They showed that they weren't going to back down from anybody."
The match was delayed for 30 minutes because of lightning in the area. The score was 0-0 at the time of the delay. The only goal of the mach happened about 18 minutes after the delay.
"We just sat in the bus" during the delay, Cornejo said. "There isn't anything that you can do, especially when you are on the road. It was a little weird just because we have never done it before. The kids just went in there and talked and were relaxed. Everybody had to go through it so you can't blame lightning."
Sheridan now played Laramie in one of the Class 4-A semifinals on Friday. Laramie edged Rock Springs 1-0 in the opening round. In the other semifinal, Green River faced Kelly Walsh. Green River downed Cheyenne East 6-0. The Trojans rolled past Cheyenne Central 6-1.
"I knew that the match was going to be close," Sheridan coach Kevin Rizer said. Referring to Riverton, he added "That was the best defensive performance that I have ever seen. They stayed in shape well. They were committed to defend. The game plan nearly worked for them."
Sheridan also beat RHS early in the regular season.
"Sheridan is so talented," Cornejo said. "They are very fast. They are talented on the ball. They are big."
Sheridan 1, Riverton 0
Ridgway was all over the goal area, making save after save in the first 40 minutes. Ridgway kept the game scoreless for the first half.
"Logan was amazing," Cornejo said. "He came out on a bunch of different occasions to make saves."
Cornejo felt Ridgway did everything he could.
"The one kick that he was scored on was a great kick," Cornejo said. "You can ask a lot out of Logan, and he will respond, but you can't ask everything out of him."
Late in the second half, Riverton's Caleb Ogg belted a corner kick on a perfect shot, but the Sheridan goalkeeper snatched the ball away to keep the Wolverines scoreless.
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