Sep 15, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterShoshoni took a taste of power football Friday night at Jerry Fulmer Stadium in Lusk as the home-standing Niobrara County Tigers dominated every aspect of the game in a 36-0 shutout of the Wranglers.
In spite of turning the ball over five times, with four of those inside the 10-yard line the Tigers rolled up 469 total yards of offense while manhandling the winless Wranglers.
Lusk has a tradition of playing basic, smash-mouth football. That tradition continued, as eight different running backs combined for 438 yards on the ground.
Matt VandeBossche paced the rushing effort with 209 yards, the second back in as many weeks to top the 200-yard mark against the Wrangler defense, while Martin Fitzwater averaged more than 10 yards per carry in picking up 113.
Steady rain over the previous three days and low-hanging fog gave the field a misty, dark appearance. But Lusk is the only Class 1-A school with artificial turf, and the new covering at Gibson Field allowed steady footing in spite of the moist conditions.
Shoshoni's offense continues to be almost non-existent this season. After grinding out 182 yards per game on the ground a season ago the Wranglers have been held to minus-10 and minus-11 yards in two outings this year. Passing was the Wranglers' forte in 2012 with 186 yards per game, but Lusk was ready for the challenge and held Shoshoni to just four completions and 21 yards through the air.
Statistically and physically it was a very long night in Niobrara County for the Wranglers.
A scoreless opening period highlighted solid defense by Shoshoni.Lusk was unable to pass the ball or turn the corner on sweeps, but the Wranglers tackled hard, forcing the formidable Tiger offense to punt twice in the first quarter.
Lusk head coach Matt VandeBossche changed strategy in the second when starting quarterback Hunter Dockery left the game with a leg injury.Senior Bryce Sturman stepped in and masterfully ran the offense. Lusk ran exclusively between the tackles, playing power style football. Lusk ran at will for the rest of the game, picking up 6-12 yards on every carry and nearly took the pass out of the playbook.
Matt VandeBossche crashed into the end zone on a four-yard run with 5 -- 25 left in the opening half and Martin Fitzwater added the conversion run. The duo repeated the feat four minutes later with VandeBossche breaking into the secondary on a 32-yard scoring jaunt to give Lusk a 16-0 lead at the half.
It could have been much worse for Shoshoni but the Wranglers were able to knock the ball loose from VandeBossche and Fitzwater three times inside the 8-yard line in the opening half, ending scoring threats.
The second half was a blur of red and white running backs gaining at least five yards on almost every carry.
Shoshoni's defense forced another pair of fumbles, with one ending a Tiger drive at the 3-yard line, but the Wrangler offense couldn't find anything that worked.
On the night Lusk picked up 20 first downs compared to just a single conversion by Shoshoni.
The Wranglers' punting woes continued, with Fitzwater blocking a Haslam punt late in the third period. The ball was covered by the Tigers at the 2, and Fitzwater crashed in on first down to lift Lusk to a 28-0 lead.
The game's final score came with 6 -- 13 left on a Derek VandeBossche 16-yard run. Sturman added the conversion run, and the Tigers' reserves played out the remainder of the game.
Shoshoni opens West 1-A conference play at Burlington this Friday. Burlington dropped a 40-26 decision to Thermopolis after leading the Bobcats at the half, then fell at home on Friday to Lingle-Ft. Laramie 33-7.
Lingle and Lusk tangle Friday night in Niobrara County in a battle of unbeatens in the conference opener.
LUSK 0 16 12 8 -- 36
SHOSHONI 0 0 0 0 -- 0
LUSK - Matt VandeBossche 4-run (Martin Fitzwater run) 5 -- 25
LUSK - Matt VandeBossche 32-run (Fitzwater run) 1 -- 20
LUSK - Derek VandeBossche 12-run (run failed) 10 -- 07
LUSK - Fitzwater 2-run (run failed)1 -- 15
LUSK - Derek VandeBossche 16-run (Bryce Sturman Run) 6 -- 13
Total Offense -- Lusk 469, Shoshoni 10
Rushing Offense -- Lusk 63/438, Shoshoni 19/(-11)
Individual Rushing -- Lusk -- Hunter Dockery 6/(-6), Matt VandeBossche 29/209, Derek VandeBossche 9/75, Martin Fitzwater 11/113, Bryce Sturman 6/39, Tim Ross 1/1, Matt Bow 1/-8; Shoshoni Tyler Clemetson 4/(-16), Jayden Haslam 5/(-7), Tristan Parrish 8/14, Danny Huxtable 2/(-2)
Passing -- Lusk - Hunter Dockery 1-2 12, Bryce Sturman 2-7 19, Shoshoni - Tyler Clemetson 4-20-1 21, Jason Thoren 0-1
Individual Receiving -- Lusk - Brady Thurston 1/8, Martin Fitzwater 2/23, Shoshoni - Jayden Haslam 2/10, Tristan Parrish 2/11
First Downs -- Lusk 20, Shoshoni 1
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