Oct 13, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterGood morning, Wolverines. You are the Class 3-A East conference champions.
Leading 14-13 Friday night in Converse County, Riverton possessed the ball for the final 7 minutes, 35 seconds, marched 80 yards to within inches of the goal line as time expired, and ended Douglas' five-year reign as East conference champions.
Riverton is 5-2 overall with the win and sits alone on top of the league with a perfect 4-0 record heading into Friday's last regular season game -- the cross-county rival match against Lander at Wolverine Field.
"Our offensive line was pushing them off the ball," Riverton senior Jeremy Vincent said. "After about the fourth play of that (final) drive, I knew we had the game. They weren't doing anything. They were folding. They were giving up, and the holes were huge."
Because Riverton now owns the common game tiebreaker with Douglas, Friday's game with Lander will do nothing to alter conference standings or home field advantage through the playoffs which begin the following week.
"Our guys are pretty pumped," RHS head coach Jeremy McCormick said. "It was a great win for us."
The final drive was much like the game's first drive when Riverton took the opening kickoff, dominated the line of scrimmage, clawed 80 yards and took the lead as TJ Galey pushed the ball into the endzone to put RHS up 7-0.
"We had great execution on that first drive," McCormick said. "After that, we had penalties and things that really hurt us and stalled us out."
Douglas, now 3-1 in the Class 3-A East, will finish second in the league behind the Wolverines. The Bearcats took a 13-7 lead after blocking Xavier Webb's third-quarter punt. Starting a drive with a short field, backup quarterback Haize Weber -- who had to play when starter Mackenzie Coleman was forced out of the game after a Vincent sack -- connected with Michael Addleman for a 15-yard scoring pass with 7:47 to play in the third quarter.
But Riverton made lemonade out of a lemon, and the right side of the Wolverines defense blocked the extra-point attempt to keep it a six-point game. The official stat sheet gave the block to Lane Savage, and the blocked PAT turned out to be huge.
Webb answered on Riverton's next drive with a 46-yard touchdown scamper with 5:59 left in the third quarter. Dietrik Becker's second extra point of the game gave Riverton the lead for good.
Throughout the game, the Wolverines were able to contain Logan Barker, one of the state's top runners, who managed just 77 yards on 21 carries.
"We contained that cutback," Vincent said. "We had slants to the strong side, and backers going to the outside. We always tried to contain him because he is so quick, and that really helped us, to force him him inside where all of our guys were at."
As much as the Wolverines wanted to execute a balanced offensive attack, their success Friday came with a clock-eating ground attack that churned out 270 yards. TJ Galey led all rushers with 121 yards on 26 carries. Webb had 110 yards and Dylan Lewes upped his six-yard per carry average with 39 big yards on just five carries.
"(Galey) ran really hard," Vincent said. "He was carrying three or four guys with him every time he ran the ball. He only had one negative carry the whole night."
Both Vincent and McCormick spoke of the need to keep the momentum going through as Riverton plays its final regular season home game Friday before hosting the first-round playoff game, likely against Cody, the following week.
"We are going to play hard," Vincent said. "It's Lander. They will play hard too."
RIVERTON 7 0 7 0 -- 14
DOUGLAS 0 7 6 0 -- 13
7:02 - Riv, TJ Galey 2-yard run, Dietrick Becker kick, 7-0.
9:22 - Doug, Barker 1-yard run, Mann kick, 7-7.
7:47 - Doug, Weber 15-yard pass to Addleman, kick failed, 7-13.
5:59 - Riv, Xavier Webb 46-yard run, Dietrick Becker kick, 14-13.
Individual stat leaders
Rushing: Riv - Galey 26-121, Webb 12-110, Lewis 5-39. Doug - Barker 21-77, Pexton 3-14.
Passing: Riv - Webb 6-19-0 42. Doug - McKenzie 8-9-0 60, Weber 5-11-0 42.
Receiving: Riv - Salisbury 4-39, Hartbank 1-4, Belville 1-3. Doug - Etchemendy 6-43, Sigala 4-14, Alderman 2-16.
Defense: Riv - Savage 23, Galey 12. Doug - Etchemendy 26, Barker 20.
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