Sep 20, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterThe visiting Outlaws have lost 34 straight games.
"Go Big Red!"
Whoops-- this Friday night at Wolverine Field, the cheer "Go Big Pink!" will be more appropriate as the Riverton football Wolverines (1-2) host the Rawlins Outlaws (0-3).
The Wolverines will wear pink jerseys symbolic of fundraising activities for the Fremont County Tough Enough To Wear Pink campaign to support community members who have lost loved ones or who are fighting cancer.
Game time for the Wolverines' first Class 3-A East conference game of the season is 7 p.m.
"Wind River Oncology and Help for Health will be raising awareness about early detection and local treatment options. Pepsi will be supplying free Cherry 7-Up to anyone wearing pink," RHS activities director Jeremy Hill said.
Rawlins enters the game in the middle of a 34-game losing streak. In fact, since 2001, the Outlaws have only managed nine total wins and have suffered 84 losses.
But this season, there is no question that Rawlins is a better football team than one year ago. Through their first three games against Wheatland, Jackson and Worland,
Rawlins has scored 97 points, compared to Riverton's 55. And the danger of an improved Rawlins offense is further demonstrated in total offense rankings. The Outlaws bring the top passing stats (213 yards per game) and second-best total yards stats (381 ypg) in all of Class 3-A football and are better than the Wolverines (180 yards passing, 317 yards in total offense) in those two categories.
Add that to the number of touchdowns -- Rawlins has crossed the goal line 13 times compared to Riverton's six -- and there is danger in overlooking the visiting Outlaws.
The challenge for the Riverton coaching staff may be to keep focus on this Friday's game instead of a huge homecoming game Sept. 28 against Buffalo.
"The kids are pretty focused and driving to reach a lot of our team goals that are still attainable. One is hosting a home playoff game. To do that, we need to finish high in our conference, and this is a first step for that," head coach Jeremy McCormick said.
Defensively, the Wolverines will see many formations Friday.
"They are in everything from a full-house 'T' backfield to five wide.
They are all over the place. Their quarterback is pretty quick. They will draw with him and try to get him on the edge," McCormick said.
As much as there is no doubt Rawlins is an improved football team, there is also no question that the Wolverines also have improved since the season began having generated 940 all-purpose yards in their last two games against Green River and Cody.
"We want to keep moving the ball. Against Cody, we felt like we left two scores on the field. We need to clean up our mental mistakes.
Defensively, we need to work on our pursuing and really shutting teams down," McCormick said.
Lineman Lane Savage returns to Riverton's lineup after a three-week illness and linebacker/running back T.J. Galey, who missed the Green River game but returned against Cody, is feeling better about his sprained ankle, according to McCormick.
"We are getting healthy again," McCormick said.
Not only will the Wolverine players be wearing pink on Friday, they likely will look different -- literally -- too.
At their team dinner Thursday evening, players, coaches and administrators, including district superintendent Terry Snyder, were slated to have their heads shaved if certain cancer fundraising goals were met.
"The kids are excited. We'll have a lot of kids with shaved heads Friday. It is a great cause, and we are excited to do it," McCormick said.
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