Sep 2, 2012 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterAside from the usual last-minute adjustments customary to an opening game, perhaps the greatest challenge faced by the Shoshoni Wranglers and the Upton/Sundance Patriots came in getting their uniforms.
Sundance athletic director Jim O'Connor drove to Gillette to pick up the new red, white and blue Patriot jerseys and arrived just an hour prior to kickoff.
Meanwhile, Shoshoni's uniforms came all the way from the Riverton UPS office via assistant coach Tony Trumpler's wife, Bridget. She arrived with a box of replacement jerseys just 15 minutes before the game opened.
After a slow start, due in part to the 300-mile bus ride earlier in the day, the Wranglers put up 13 points in the second period and cruised to a 40-6 win over the Patriots.
Sundance and Upton combined their football programs after a June 22 meeting when it was determined Sundance would not have enough players to field a team. Upton has 18 players and Sundance eight, with each team practicing a week at a time at the other team's field. Home games are alternated with afternoon contests at Sundance and evening games under the lights of Bobcat field in Upton.
After a sluggish opening period that saw the Wranglers amass only 13 yards of total offense Shoshoni came to life through the air in the final three periods.
Wrangler senior Josh Thoren had a field day at wide receiver, snagging seven passes and scoring four times.
The Patriots didn't fare nearly so well, finishing with a negative four yards through the air and completing only one of 13 pass attempts. They did rush the ball well behind Upton's Jett Materi and Sundance's Skylar Wagaman. Materi tallied 66 yards on a dozen carries, and Wagaman rushed for 119 on 24 attempts.
A pair of Patriot fumbles, recovered by Micah Mills and Nathaniel Lutz, ended two long first-period drives fueled in part by Shoshoni encroachment penalties. The jumpy Wrangler defense was flagged six times for the same infraction on the afternoon.
Early in the second period, quarterback Tyler Clemetson found Thoren in the corner of the end zone. The 6-4 senior leapt above the U-S defender for Shoshoni's first score. Thoren added the point after, and the Wranglers never trailed.
Wagaman picked up consistent yardage running off tackle, but each time U-S tried to pass the ball either fell incomplete or the Wranglers sacked the quarterback. Mills, Dillon Geis, J.J. Crichton, Jayden Haslam and Lutz all tallied sacks in the contest.
Clemetson ran the option well, with Mills and sophomore Josh Oaks to set up the second score on another jump-ball play to Thoren from four yards out. The Wranglers stalled on a late drive inside the 10 and led 13-0 at the half.
Wagaman continued to pick up yardage inside, and the Patriots tallied their only score of the game on a counter to Materi. The Upton sophomore raced around right end on a 55-yard scamper with 10:43 remaining in the third to close the gap to 13-6.
The score was a wakeup call to the Shoshoni offense. Brace Pingetzer took a couple of series at quarterback and found Thoren again on a 35-yard fade route. Thoren's ensuing kick put the Wranglers ahead 20-6 with 4:13 left in the third.
Freshman Tristan Parrish took a Patriot punt and dazzled the crowd with deft open field moves before being driven out of bounds inside the 20. Clemetson gained nine on a quarterback keeper, then hit Thoren on another jump-ball play for his fourth and final scoring catch. Thoren's kick gave Shoshoni a comfortable 26-6 advantage entering the final period.
In addition to scoring the first 26 points for the Wranglers, Thoren hit the end zone on four kickoffs and averaged 42 yards a punt on the afternoon.
Shoshoni has a lot of weapons this season, and Clemetson found slotback Lawry Johnson early in the final period on an 18-yard scoring strike.
Parrish snagged an interception on the ensuing drive and returned the ball to midfield to set up Shoshoni's final score.
Short passes to Johnson, Parrish and a pair to Mason Steffen, mixed with runs by Clemetson and Oaks, set Mills up for a seven-yard power run off tackle. Thoren's final point after ended the scoring.
Shoshoni's junior varsity played the final few minutes of the game.
Shoshoni hosts rival Wind River Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the annual donnybrook between the longtime Fremont County foes.
Upton-Sundance travels to Lingle-Ft. Laramie for its eastern conference opener.
SHOSHONI 0 13 13 14 -- 40
UPTON-SUNDANCE 0 0 6 0 -- 6
SHO - Josh Thoren 17-pass from Tyler Clemetson (Thoren kick) 10:23
SHO - Thoren 4-pass from Clemetson (kick failed) 4:35
US - Jett Materi 55-run (kick failed) 10:43
SHO - Thoren 35-pass from Brace Pingetzer (kick failed)
SHO - Thoren 6-pass from Clemetson (Thoren kick) :29
SHO - Lawry Johnson 18-pass from Clemetson (Thoren kick) 9:35
SHO - Micah Mills 7-run (Thoren kick) 2:22
Upton-Sundance 36-185, Shoshoni 29/134
Upton-Sundance 1-13-1 (-4), Shoshoni 19-33-1 270
Upton-Sundance -- Skyler Wagaman 24-119, Jett Materi 12-66
Shoshoni - Micah Mills 9-28, Josh Oaks 13-79, Tyler Clemetson 5-23, Jayden Haslam 2-4
Shoshoni -- Tyler Clemetson 15-26-1 179, Brace Pingetzer 4-7 91
Shoshoni -- Josh Thoren 7-109, Josh Oaks 2-21, Mason Steffen 3-47, Lawry Johnson 4-41, Triston Parrish 2-22, Micah Mills 1-17
Shoshoni -- Josh Thoren 4-168, Long 55
Upton-Sundance -- Jett Materi
Shoshoni -- Triston Parrish
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.