Aug 30, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterKickoff is at 7 p.m. at Wolverine Field, with free admission.
For the first time since 1936, the Riverton Wolverines will open their football season at a place other than Tonkin Stadium.
Friday night, in their recently improved full-time home at Wolverine Field, RHS will host the defending Class 3-A state champion Powell Panthers.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Admission is free.
Both the Wolverines and Panthers enter the game having won relatively easy week zero scrimmage games last weekend. The Wolverines won on the road at Worland 27-9 and Powell blasted Miles City, Mont., 34-0. The Panther defense gave up only 90 yards total and allowed only three Miles City plays to gain more than 10 yards.
Prior to Friday's game, Riverton superintendent of schools Terry Snyder announced that there will be a moment of silence to recognize Bill Strannigan, former Riverton High School teacher, coach and activities director, who died earlier this week.
Snyder told the Riverton school board Tuesday that he had spoken to Strannigan recently and "wanted to convey to him the contribution he made, the thankfulness I had for him helping me last year, the history he provided, and his contribution to kids, athletes and the state as a whole."
Riverton Wolverine head football coach Jeremy McCormick said Strannigan was on the interview committee that he visited with prior to being offered his job in Riverton.
"He was a great guy who really cared about the players and athletes. He cared about Riverton sports. We talked the last five years and he had a passion working with young people, and it really showed," McCormick said.
After the recognition, it will be back to football, and maybe the best early season matchup on the Class 3-A schedule. Two other important non-conference Class 3-A games set for Friday include Green River at Douglas and Worland at Buffalo.
"Powell returns seven starters from last year's team. Their linebackers look solid. We will have to pass the ball and run the ball this week.
We have to be aggressive," McCormick said.
On film, it appears that the Panthers had the most success running the football outside between the defensive ends and corners from Miles City.
But Riverton assistant coach Brandon Giddings expressed confidence that Riverton defensive ends Jeremy Vincent and Jordan Bellville will be up to the task of stopping Powell's running attack on the edge of the Wolverine's four-man defensive front.
McCormick is 1-4 lifetime against Powell and has only played Powell in Riverton once.
Last year, Powell had its way with the Wolverines, winning 34-6 in the 2011 season opener.
As was the case last season, McCormick is preaching that his team must have a balanced attack to have success against the Panthers and play an aggressive, physical style that he said his team lacked a year ago.
"They roll their safeties for run support. We definitely think we can throw the ball on them. Our line did a good job last week blocking," McCormick said.
The Wolverines will likely have to play without one of their big lineman Friday. Lane Savage is battling illness but, McCormick said, "We have younger guys that are going to step up. They have been working hard. They've gone in their playbook. It is not good that Lane is sick."
The Panthers and Douglas are preseason favorites to win the 3-A West and East conferences, respectively.
"They (Powell) are the defending state champions until somebody knocks them off. We just want to be the first one to knock them off," Giddings said.
Note: A potential new Wolverine, Carter, was born to assistant Wolverine coach Tyler Watson and wife Sarah on Thursday.
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