Sep 19, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterBoth teams are 1-1 on the season.
The season is still young, but Friday's Riverton Wolverine home football matchup with the Cody Broncs is big.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Wolverine Field.
Both two teams have already had their ups and downs in the early season. Riverton (1-1) is coming off a strong performance in last Friday's home 41-20 win against Green River, but was dominated in the first game at Powell.
Cody (1-1) fell behind early at Douglas last week on the way to a 35-9 defeat but routed Lander in the season opener.
Both teams want to find consistency in game that may set the tone for the rest of the season.
"This is a good matchup. Cody is a team that wants to be a hard-nosed running team. If we can show somebody that we can play better defense for four quarters... It's also a good test for us offensively. They have a big, physical front," RHS head coach Pat Patterson said.
In the back of every returning Wolverine's mind is how the season ended last year.
In the first round of the state playoffs, Cody used a punishing and unstoppable running attack to score 14 fourth-quarter points to end Riverton's 2012 season. Along the way, Cody managed 376 yards rushing with a young offensive line. The Wolverines will try to plug the holes in their leaky defense that has given up an average of 380 yards per game so far this season.
And it looks as if Cody will still try to grind yards via the rush. Only Jackson and Star Valley are more efficient with the run game. Cody has Brandon Hinze, one of only three Class 3-A backs averaging more than 100 yards per game. Hinze averages almost nine yards per carry so far this season.
"I watched a bit of the film (from last year's playoff game) but I haven't dwelled on it. I felt like, in the last two games, we've played all right against the run. We've looked at changing our fronts a bit and being more run-oriented (defensively)," Patterson said.
The Broncs return four Class 3-A first-team all-state performers from last year in Hinze, Carter Myers, David Lee and Ryan Nieters.
When on offense, the Wolverines will try to counter Cody's strength up front with a more successful passing attack.
"We've got to execute our passing game better. Last week, the kids just weren't catching it. Hopefully we will throw it and catch it, and it will be great," Patterson said.
Both teams have first-year coaches. The Broncs' new coach is Matt McFadden who has been at Cody High School for five years and directs the school's "zero
hour" and "pure performance" athletic training programs. McFadden played collegiately at Weber State University and became one of the leading tacklers in that school's history, despite being a walk-on. He earned All-American and First-Team Big Sky Conference recognition in 2003, his senior season.
Friday's game will be the final non-conference battle for both teams. Next week, Riverton will be on the road to begin Class 3-A East play in Rawlins, while Cody will host Green River in the Class 3-A West opener for both teams.
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