Sep 30, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorLVHS is 1-4 overall but still in contention in the Class 3-A East with a 1-1 record.
Lander Valley High School played smash-mouth football against the Douglas Bearcats for four quarters to come close in pulling off the Class 3-A upset of the year Friday night in a 9-7 loss at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
The only difference in the second half was when Douglas recorded a safety on a bad snap by LVHS that went over the head of punter Jaxon Hedges and out of the end zone in the third quarter to give the Bearcats two points.
The Tigers had an opportunity to take the lead with three minutes left in the game, but place-kicker Kyle LaTorre missed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide right.
"It was hit well," said LVHS coach Doug Hughes. "We thought that was in for a second. The guys (officials) underneath said that it was a couple of feet out. We had our opportunities. That is all you could ask for."
The win lifted Douglas to 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Class 3-A East conference. LVHS is now 1-4 and 1-1 in league play.
"Our kids are starting to understand what we want from them," Hughes said. "They picked up their level of physicality to another notch and are attacking a lot better."
Douglas was called for nine offside penalties on defense in the two-point win. .
"Our kids were very disciplined," Hughes said. "Our line held in there. Our kids did a good job of controlling their emotions. I was proud of the way our kids competed."
The next game on the schedule for the Tigers is Friday night at Buffalo. The Bison are 0-2 in league play after losing Friday to Riverton at Wolverine Field.
Douglas 9, Lander 7
The tone was set by Lander's defense in the opening drive of the game as the Tigers shut down DHS to quickly get the ball.
LVHS wasted little timeR00;putting seven points on the scoreboard. LVHS fullback Alex Bone scored on a 23-yard run right up the middle at the 6:53 mark to put the Tigers up 7-0 after a LaTorre extra-point kickT over the shocked Bearcats.
"It gave us a little bit of confidence," said Hughes about the fast score.
Bone was wearing No 48 on his touchdown run, but the LVHS coaches switched his number to No. 71 after the run, so he could play on the line.
"We are really thin on the line because of injuries," Hughes said. "We are a little deeper at running back, so we were able to make that adjustment and stay in the game with a limited number of kids." R00;
Douglas marched right down the field, using a strong running attack against Lander's defense as Logan Barker found the end zone on a seven-yard run with four minutes left to play in the first period. Tanner Alseike added the PAT to tie the score at 7-7.
Both teams made the right adjustments on the defensive side of the ball to produce a scoreless second quarter.
"We really though that Douglas was going to continue to run the ball on us," Hughes said. "We tried to put an extra guy in the box. We went to more of a 5-3 look, especially when they were in a two-back set."
Lander's Reb Lindwurm moved in from his corner position to play linebacker.
"It worked well for us," Hughes said. R00;
At the 9:17 mark, Douglas scored its safety when the ball went into the back of the end zone. After the safety, LVHS defensive end Ross Sloss recovered a Douglas fumble during next the offensive series by the Bearcats to protect the two-point lead.
Later in the third quarter, LVHS quarterback Andrew Von Rein hit wide receiver Jess Oldham for a nice gain, but the Tigers couldn't put any points on the board and went into the final period, trailing by two points.
With eight minutes left to play in regulation, Von Rein spearheaded the best drive of the game for the Tigers.
Von Rein found Oldham on a 16-yard pass, moving the ball to the 44-yard line of the visiting team.
LVHS faced fourth and one on the 36-yard line, and Hughes elected to go for the first down. LVHS running back Jake Miller put in three hard yards for the first down. Later, on third and 13, Von Rein completed a short pass to Hedges, but Douglas was called for a pass interference to give Lander another first down.
"We mixed the ball up running the ball and passing the ball on the drive," Hughes said.
Four plays later, LaTorre came up short on his field goal attempt. With almost four minutes left on the clock, Douglas chalked up a couple of first downs behind the running of Barker to clinch the victory.
LVHS kept Douglas wide receiver Ty Etchemendy in check. He had only two catches for eight yards.
"We played nice on the outside on him," Hughes said. R00;"Douglas has a lot of kids on the team. They really are rolling. You just can't focus on one guy."
Douglas 9, LVHS 7
DOUGLAS 7 0 2 0 -- 9
LANDER R00;R00;R00;R00; 7 0 0 0 -- 0
LVHS -- Alex Bone, 23-yard touchdown run, (Kyle LaTorre, PAT kick), 6:53.
Douglas -- Logan Barker, 7-yard touchdown run,(Tanner Alseike, PAT kick), 4;00.
Douglas --Safety, snap into back of end zone on punt, 9:17, 9-7.
LVHS rushing -- Arion Mefferd, 10-19; Alex Bone, 3-27; Joe Malek, 13-24; Jake Miller, 10-51,
LVHS passing -- Andrew Von Rein, 4-12, 78 yards.
LVHS receiving -- Jess Oldham, 4-78,
Douglas rushing 41-202 yards;
Douglas passing -- 6-15, 60 yards
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