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Wranglers jump to early lead but fall to Rocky Mountain

Oct 19, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

Shoshoni's playoff hopes took a major downturn because of the running of Rocky Mountain's Travis Willis and the throwing arm of junior quarterback Kirby Winland. The Wranglers took a 7-0 lead, but Rocky Mountain roared back with 36 unanswered points to end the home portion of the regular season for Shoshoni on a 36-7 loss.

The Wranglers have the unenviable task of traveling to Cokeville this Friday to cap the regular season. The Panthers have lost just one home game, in the 2011 semifinals, in the last three seasons and are top-ranked in Class 1-A.

Rocky Mountain opened the game in a wide-tackle 4-4 defense, and Shoshoni took advantage with quarterback Tyler Clemetson picking up gains of 8 and 9 yards on quarterback sneaks on the game's opening drive. But SHS punted the ball away after the Grizzlies closed their front line.

Rocky Mountain's Cordell McFarlane gained 27 yards on five of the first six plays of the game for the Grizzlies but left with an injury and did not return.

Shoshoni's defense set the stage for the opening score. Winland passed the ball exceptionally well on rollouts throughout the game, but J.J. Crichton read an attempted screen pass perfectly and intercepted the ball at the Rocky Mountain 11. Jayden Haslam and Clemetson combined to give the Wranglers a first down inside the 1-yard line, and Clemetson capped the short drive on a dive play with 49 seconds left in the opening period.

Shoshoni's offense looked good in the opening period and in the first few minutes of the second quarter, but Rocky Mountain adjusted defensively. Except for a halfback pass, an 18-yard scamper by Haslam, and a late 24-yard run by Danny Huxtable, positive yardage was nearly non-existent for the remainder of the game.

Rocky Mountain used seven different running backs in a varied attack through the opening half. Shoshoni's defense gave up just short runs for much of the half, but they added up on long Rocky Mountain drives.

The Grizzlies took the lead on a long drive to open the second quarter ending with on a 1-yard scoring plunge by Tyler Lindquist. Lindquist's conversion run put the visitors ahead for good 8-7.

Disaster struck for the Wranglers when 6-5, 265 pound Jacob Price stepped in front of an attempted middle screen by Clemetson and rumbled back to the 13. The Wrangler defense threw Rocky back, highlighted by a hard combined hit from Crichton and Alex Minge Willis, but Winland found Bill Despain on third and 20 for the game's second score.

In the second half Shoshoni managed just two first downs, while Rocky Mountain's offense moved effectively up the field. Willis broke open on a 62-yard run to move the score to 22-7 early in the third, and Rocky threatened to blow the game open on a subsequent drive.

Shoshoni forced a fourth and long attempt from the 19, with Joey Jewell ruled out-of-bounds on a reception good enough for the first down. The Wranglers were whistled for roughing the passer on the play, setting up a first and goal at the 9. Despain scored three plays later on a 1-yard run, and the Grizzlies held a decisive 28-7 lead at the end of the third.

Willis added an insurance touchdown in the final quarter on a 4-yard run, and the Grizzlies guaranteed a home-game in the opening round against Lingle-Fort Laramie in two weeks.

The Wranglers' future depends on several factors. If Riverside defeats Burlington next Friday, then Shoshoni will travel back to Lusk, a team the Wranglers beat 36-0 in week two, as the fourth-place seed from the West.

If Burlington beats Riverside it throws Shoshoni, Burlington and Riverside into a three-way tie for third place. Either a coin toss or a three-way playoff game at a neutral site determines the third and fourth seeds and the team that will be eliminated.

Shoshoni could finish as high as third and travel to Southeast Goshen, a team that ended the Wranglers' season 61-21 in 2012 or finish out of the playoffs.

Rocky Mountain 36, Shoshoni 7

SHOSHONI -- 7 0 0 0 -- 7

ROCKY MOUNTAIN -- 0 14 14 8 -- 36

First quarter

Shoshoni -- Tyler Clemetson 1-run (Jason Thoren kick) :49

Second quarter

Rocky Mountain -- Tyler Lindquist 1-run (Lindquist run) 6:39

Rocky Mountain -- Bill Despain 20-pass from Kirby Winland (pass failed) 3:41

Third quarter

Rocky Mountain -- Travis Willis 62-run (Willis run) 11:07

Rocky Mountain -- Despain 1-run (run failed) 3:04

Fourth quarter

Rocky Mountain -- Willis 4-run (Despain from Winland) 8:34

Total Offense: Shoshoni 149, Rocky Mountain 347

Individual Rushing: Shoshoni -- Tyler Clemetson 6-14, Jayden Haslam 16-48, Danny Huxtable 3-26, Tom Nordwick 1-0, Connor Wilkinson 1-2 ; Rocky Mountain Cordell McFarlane 5-27, Travis Willis 13-112, Joey Jewell 3-17, Tyler Lindquist 16-55, Jordan Arnold 1-2, Bill Despain 2-4, Caleb Horrocks 3-22

Passing: Shoshoni -- Tyler Clemetson 2-13-2 17, Jayden Haslam 1-3-1 34; Rocky Mountain -- Kirby Winland 10-14-1 138

Receiving: Shoshoni -- Connor Wilkinson 2-48, Brace Pingetzer 1-3; Rocky Mountain Joey Jewell 6-99, Bill Despain 2-23, Xavier Mangus 2-16

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