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Turnovers cripple Wind River in Thursday loss
Wind River's Kristopher Justice broke into the Casper Natrona secondary on a second-half pass play Thursday night at Pavillion. Photo by Randy Tucker

Turnovers cripple Wind River in Thursday loss

Sep 13, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Sports Writer

The Wind River Cougars will host Cokeville next Friday night before hitting the road for a game at Southeast.

PAVILLION -- A short-handed Wind River squad didn't do itself any favors Thursday evening at Pavilion in a turnover-plagued 42-0 loss to the Casper Natrona junior varsity.

While the Cougars tackled well and played well defensively, 11 bad snaps and a three lost fumbles was the difference in what could have been a very competitive contest.

The Cougars gave the Mustangs the short field for much of the evening, and Casper Natrona took advantage early in the game when Caleb Dahil fell on an errant snap that sailed through the Cougars' pistol formation and into the end zone.

Casper's Cody Wilkinson split the uprights for the first time and was perfect on the game, converting all six point-after kicks.

Another errant pistol play just a minute later gave Natrona the ball at the Wind River 30. A couple of quick passes from Layne O'Neal to Ryan Olsen, and the Mustangs set up a second score by Dahil, this time on a six-yard run.

Dylan Lookingbill was the only healthy running back for the Cougars. He picked up a brutal 67 yards on 26 carries. He covered another bad snap then picked up 11 yards on his longest run of the night, but the Cougars stalled short of the first down.

Marcus Morrison punted well for the Cougars for much of the evening and boomed his best of the evening on the next play with a 62-yard punt that pinned the Mustangs inside their own 20-yard line.

Casper went to the air on the ensuing series and picked apart the Cougar secondary, with O'Neal hitting five straight before capping the drive on an 12-yard pass to Daniel Bliss.

In spite of the 21-0 halftime score the Cougars had played well, and if the errant snaps were taken away it was a 7-0 game.

More errant pistol play plagued the Cougars in the third, with one ball bouncing 23 yards behind the line before Lookingbill could cover it.

Natrona continued to throw the ball and perhaps the best individual defensive effort of the game came when Morrison robbed Da'Jour Lucas of a touchdown, batting the ball away on a third-and-long play near the Cougar goal line.

The Cougars picked up yardage through the air as well in the second half, with Robert Buline connecting twice to Jordan Martin and again to Lookingbill and Kristopher Justice.

Defensively, the Cougar front line of Tyler DeGraw, Charles Oldman and Andrew Strong began to put pressure on O'Neal, and the Casper air attack began to stall.

The Mustangs brought a bevy of running backs and moved the ball by committee on all three scores in the second half, with Matt Bernadis picking up a pair of scores and O'Neal capping the game with a 23-yard scamper in the final minutes of the fourth.

Wind River played without several linemen who were academically ineligible and running back Zac Noffsinger, who was injured against Lovell the week before.

DeGraw and Will Bushmire were the only starting linemen left in the contest as injuries took their toll.

The Cougars host perennial power Cokeville next Friday before hitting the road the following week for a 600-mile round trip to Yoder to play Southeast.

WIND RIVER 0 0 0 0 - 0

NATRONA 14 7 7 14 -- 42

First Quarter

NC - Caleb Dahill - covered bad snap in end zone (Cody Wilkinson kick) 8:01

NC - Dahill 6-run (Wilkinson kick) 6:22

Second Quarter

NC - Daniel Bliss 12-pass from Layne O'Neal (Wilkinson kick) 11:51

Third Quarter

NC - Matt Bernadis 11-run (Wilkinson kick) 5:38

Fourth Quarter

NC - Bernadis 9-run (Wilkinson kick) 5:34

NC - O'Neal 23-run (Wilkinson kick) 2:25

Total Offense: Wind River 123, Natrona County 330

Rushing Offense: Wind River 37, Natrona County 182

Passing Offense: Wind River - Robert Buline 5-8-0 86, Natrona County Layne O'Neal 10-18-0 148

Individual Rushing: Wind River - Dylan Lookingbill 26/67, Robert Buline 6/ (-30); Natrona County - Matt Bernadis 6/75, Dillon Vanetti 1/3, Caleb Dahil 5/0, Malcom Allison 2/7, Layne O'Neal 11/67, Jared Hofstad 1/31

Individual Receiving: Wind River - Jordan Martin 2/36, Dylan Lookingbill 1/17, Kristopher Justice 2/33; Natrona County - Ryan Olsen 4/42, Da'Jour Lucas 2/69, Daniel Bliss 1/8, Parker Franzen 2/19, Trevor Chenoweth 1/10

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