Oct 21, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorBoth teams have qualified for the playoffs, with Riverton hosting Cody and Lander traveling to Powell.
Quarterback Xavier Webb ignited Riverton High School's air attack with 241 passing yards on a 16-of-8 performance to guide the Wolverines to a 43-6 home victory on Friday night over Lander Valley High School in the annual cross county battle.
The win put the final touches on a undefeated Class 3-A East season for the Wolverines.
Tristan White came off the bench and carried the ball 15 times for 90 yards to add to the explosive offense by the Wolverines.
RHS ended the regular season at 6-2. After losing its first two games, Riverton has won six straight. The Wolverines are a No. 1 seed for the playoffs.
"Lander tried to man us up on defense, and we were able to throw on them," Riverton coach Jeremy McCormick said. "I was pretty pleased with what we were able to do in our passing game."
The victory was special for the RHS seniors after LVHS pulled out a 24-22 victory last year at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
"It was heartbreaking because it was tough to see the seniors leave like that last year," RHS lineman Wyatt Meyer said. "I thought about it all year. We have been thinking about this day since we lost to them last year."
RHS will host Cody this Friday night in the opening round of the playoffs at Wolverine Field. The Wolverines beat Cody in the regular season 27-0.
"We wanted to keep rolling going into the playoffs," McCormick said. "The kids just want to play better every week. The kids are striving to do that. We played hard. We had a lot of big plays."
The Tigers finished the season with a 2-6 record but will make the playoffs.
"I thought that at times that we played well," LVHS coach Doug Hughes said. "We ran the football pretty good. Riverton is pretty athletic. Riverton was able to get a couple of third downs and take us out of our game plan."
LVHS is a No. 4 seed and faces the top-ranked Powell Panthers in the opening round Friday.
"It's another huge task for us," Hughes said. "Powell is the best team in the state. We will have to figure out how to stay in the game."
After a scoreless 10 minutes in the first quarter, the Wolverines started to get their offensive on track.
"The first possession was a little rough, but after that we controlled the game on offense," Meyer said. "We still could have played a little better on defense."
Webb connected to Kade Salisbury on a 30-yard reception to move the ball to Lander's 24-yard line.
Webb hit Logan Hartbank on a 15-yard pass, putting the ball on the 6-yard line. The RHS quarterback then found Salisbury for a 6-yard touchdown pass for 7-0 lead with 1:48 left in the quarter.
Fireworks went off after every score by the Wolverines.
LVHS moved the ball against Riverton's defense after the score, as Malek had runs of seven and six yards. The Tigers had the ball on the 19-yard line and faced fourth and nine when quarterback Andrew Von Rein was intercepted by Brandon Fullerton in the end zone.
With the ball back, Webb quickly went to work.
He made the Salisbury connection again for a 20-yard pass. White ran around the end for 29 yards, and Webb found Hartbank on a 25-yard pass.
T.J. Galey capped off the drive on a 10-yard touchdown run with eight minutes left in the half.
Late in the quarter, the Wolverines marched the ball down the field again, with White running well.
With one second on the clock, RHS called a timeout to set up one last play.
Webb had his number called and ran right up the middle on a quarterback keeper to build the cushion to 21-0.
"I thought that was huge that we could punch it in," McCormick said. "It was a great momentum builder going into halftime for us."
LVHS came out of the halftime break and put together its best drive of the night with a balanced mix of running and throwing.
Von Rein hit wide receiver Jess Oldham for a 14-yard pass to put the ball at midfield. Malek carried the ball down to the red zone, where the Tigers scored on a five-yard pass from Von Rein to Jaxon Hedges at the 7:27 mark.
RHS defensive end Jeremy Vincent blocked the extra point, and the scoreboard read 21-6.
After the touchdown by LVHS, the Wolverines put things in high gear.
Webb completed a 20-yard pass to Salisbury and a 23-yard pass to Hartbank to put the ball at Lander's 8-yard line.
"Xavier is a very special player," Meyer said. "He can run, pass and scramble. He can do it all."
White capped off the drive with an eight-yard run with five minutes left in the quarter.
White earned his second touchdown on a three-yard run with 16 seconds left in the quarter for a commanding 36-6 lead.
Hartbank had the only score in the fourth quarter on a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown after picking off a Von Rein pass.
Hartbank also hauled in an interception earlier in the half.
Hartbank finished with seven catches on offense for 93 yards. Salisbury had seven catches for 131 yards.
Malek finished with 23 carries for 144 yards. Jacob Miller added 50 yards on eight carries.
Riverton 43, Lander 6
RIVERTON 7 14 14 8 -- 43
LANDER 0 0 6 6 -- 6
Riverton -- Xavier Webb, 6-yard touchdown pass to Kade Salisbury, (Dietrick Becker, PAT), 1:48, 7-0.
Riverton -- T.J. Galey, 10-yard run, (Becker, PAT), 8:33, 14-0.
Riverton -- Xavier Webb, 1-yard touchdown run, (Becker, PAT), 5.7 seconds, 21-0.
Lander -- Andrew Von Rein, 5-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Hedges, 7:27, (LVHS missed PAT), 21-7.
Riverton -- Tristan White, 5-yard touchdown run, (Becker, PAT), 5:12, 28-7.
Riverton -- White, 3-yard touchdown run, (Becker, PAT), White, two-point run, 16.6, seconds, 36-6.
Riverton -- Logan Hartbank, 57-yard interception return for touchdown, 7:27, 43-6 (Becker, PAT), 43-6.
Riverton -- Xavier Webb, 16-18-241, TD
Lander -- Andrew Von Rein, 5-12-44, TD
Tristan White, Riverton, 15-90; T.J. Galey, Riverton, 8-24; Dylan Lewis, Riverton, 5-15; Joe Malek, Lander, 23-144; Jacob Miller, Lander, 8-50.
Kade Salisbury, Riverton, 7-131; Logan Hartbank, Riverton, 7-131, Tristan White, Riverton, 1-6; Jordan Belville, 1-21.
Riverton -- Logan Hartbank, 13; Xavier Webb, 5; Kade Salisbury, 2; Jordan Belville, 1; T.J. Galey,8; Dylan Lewis, 23; Casey Savage, 6; Wyatt Meyer, 3; Dawson Steeds, 10; Jeremy Vincent, 3; Lane Savage, 9; Robert Salazar, 1; Ian McMenamy, 1; Brandon Fullerton, 16; Rhett Rogge, 4; Liam Vincent, 4; Ty Cantrell, 2; Joel Salazar, 6; Keith Sack, 10; Michael Johnston, 4; Dietrick Becker, 1; Tristan White, 2; William Herbst, 2.
Lander -- Ross Sloss, 8; Jason Hanson, 11; Jonah Burke, 5; Robert Sloss, 2; Jake Miller, 13; Jaxon Hedges, 9; Reb Lindwurm, 9; Jess Oldham, 11; Joe Malek, 5; Nate Duvall, 7; Alex Bone, 1; Keegan Wells, 2; Noah Rohrbacher, 1 ; David Araujo, 1.
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