Sep 9, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterWith six seconds remaining in Friday's non-conference Wyoming high school football shootout, the Riverton Wolverines were four yards away from victory. Five seconds (not six) and not one, but two controversial calls later, the game was over, and the Green River Wolves had stolen an emotional 34-28 home win from the Wolverines.
On what was the game's final play from scrimmage, Riverton senior quarterback Xavier Webb, who had a breakout game with 331 all-purpose yards, threw to his left and to the Riverton side of the field for what appeared to nearly everyone to be a final touchdown to receiver Kade Salisbury. Even Green River's veteran radio announcer Steve Core R00;said, "It's caught!" before correcting himself after seeing the official's call of the play.
And, as had happened before during the Wolverine's final drive when the clock operator did not correctly stop the clock -- the officials had to put time back on the clock three times during Riverton's final effort -- the clock operator let time expire, and the officials said, "Game over."
The clock operator had stuck it to the Wolverines.
"That's what we were arguing with the officials. I thought we had one second left. They said we didn't. We thought we had the catch, and we thought that we had one second left," Riverton head coach Jeremy McCormick said.
Other members of Riverton's coaching staff agreed with McCormick about the catch and thought two seconds should have been placed back on the clock. Even the sports staff of the Green River Star thought there should be time on the clock.
But the officials thought otherwise, and Green River had its 10th consecutive win over Riverton.
Ironically, as the first half ended, the officials did put two seconds back on the clock to give Riverton one more play that resulted in a touchdown after the clock operator erroneously had let the clock expire.
As much as the Wolverines struggled offensively in their season opener the week before against Powell, this game was more than just the opposite.
Webb threw for 230 yards, rushed for 101 yards, threw two TD passes, and rushed for one himself as the RHS chewed up 402 yards in total offense.
But Green River matched the Wolverines offensive output with 398 yards of its own.
"We moved the ball well offensively, but we couldn't stop Green River. I thought the kids had a great effort. I'm not sure why we couldn't stop them. We'll have to look at the film," McCormick said.
Green River didn't waste any time in marching down the field in five plays for a quick touchdown during the game's first five minutes, and Riverton's first two possessions resulted in punts.
But the Wolverines bounced back, moved more to a spread offense, and scored the next two touchdowns.
"We saw that they dropped their backers deeper than we had seen on film. We made some adjustments. We were aggressive in our play calling. We moved the ball really well, and that was nice to see," McCormick said.
Move the ball the Wolverines did, and the receiver corp of Salisbury, Jordan Bellville, Logan Hartbank and Brandon Fullerton were also much improved from a week ago.
"We all knew that we struggled catching the ball against Powell. They came out and caught the ball well and blocked well Friday night. Also, Dillan did a great job running the ball for us. They played hard, they really did," McCormick said.
Webb, Dillan Lewis, Fullerton and Bellville all scored touchdowns for the Wolverines, and Dietrich Becker added all four of Riverton's extra points.
Blaine Christenson led Green River with three touchdowns.
"The last two games we learned a lot. We brought intensity to Green River. We now have to learn that our mistakes hurt our drives. On defense, we had penalties that kept their drives going. We need to stop helping teams, because that was a big part of the game," McCormick said.
Riverton was penalized 13 times for 100 yards during the game.
"The kids are hurting. We are all hurting. I thought we caught that ball. We did some good things," McCormick said.
Up next for Riverton is a Friday night trip to Cody to battle the Broncs in the final week of non-conference play.
Cody enters the game at 1-1 with a 28-0 road win at Lander and a 15-10 home loss to Douglas.
Riverton R00;R00; R00;0 21 7 0 -- 28
Green River R00;R00;R00;7 7 7 13 -- 34
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