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Lander punches in late TD in Torrington for first win
Lander running back Jonah Burke battled for the football Friday night in Torrington. The Tigers won 10-7 over Torrington for their first win of the season. Photo by Andrew Towne/Torrington Telegram

Lander punches in late TD in Torrington for first win

Sep 23, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Two critical passes set up the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter Friday night for Lander Valley High School in a 10-7 Class 3-A East football conference victory at Torrington.

The first was when LVHS quarterback Andrew Von Rein hit Jess Oldham for a 46-yard gain. The second was on fourth down when Von Rein hit Marvin Aragon for a 13-yard pass to keep Lander's drive alive.

The pass set up a 12-yard touchdown run by running back Arion Mefferd with two and a half minutes left in the contest.

Lander's defense shut down Torrington's offense on the final series of the game for the three-point win.

"The win shows that if we play solid football, then we can stay in the game and be very competitive," LVHS coach Doug Hughes said.

The victory was the first one of the season for the Tigers. LVHS is now 1-3. Torrington fell to 0-3. Torrington didn't play in the first week of the regular season.

"It was nice to get a win," Hughes said. "We really executed well. Our defense held up well. Our offense did enough to get the win. It was an exciting night."

The Tigers host the Douglas Bearcats at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m.

The Bearcats are 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in league play. Douglas pounded Buffalo 31-9 to open conference Friday, Sept. 21.

"It's going to be a very difficult task," said Hughes about playing Douglas. "Douglas is a good football team. They are probably the best football team in our conference. We are going to have our work cut out for us."

Douglas did lose to Star Valley 28-0 in the third week of the season.

Lander 10, Jackson 7

The only scoring in the first half came on a 34-yard field goal from LVHS kicker Kyle LaTorre.

Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers blocked a Torrington put near midfield but couldn't punch it in the end zone. LVHS had a 3-0 lead at the break.

Torrington scored in the third quarter on a pass play to build a 7-3 advantage.

Hughes said Lander's front seven on defense was the key to stopping Torrington's attack.

"Our front seven was really challenged to stop the run," Hughes said. "They made Torrington go to the air."

Torrington was 13-27 in the air for less than 100 yards passing. Torrington had less than 50 yards rushing in the game.

"Our defense did a nice job," Hughes said.

LVHS brothers Robert and Ross Sloss were all over the field making tackle after tackle. Linebackers Jason Hanson and Jonah Burke also had big nights for the Tigers.

"Torrington runs the ball more than they pass the ball," Hughes said. "They really spread you out a lot like Star Valley. They try to get the numbers out of the box. We knew if we could stop the run, then they would have to go to the air."

Hughes liked the way Reb Lindwurm covered Torrington's top wide receiver.

"Reb shut one of the better receivers down," Hughes said.

Mefferd finished the win with 15 carries on 65 yards. Burke added 19 yards on 10 carries.

"Arion ran really hard," Hughes said. "That opened up the passing a little bit."

Von Rein was 8-17 for 133 yards with one interception passing the football.

Oldham led the way with four catches for 73 yards. Jaxon Hedges pulled in two passes for 20 yards.

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