Wolverines in Lander for Thursday night rivalry gameOct 23, 2013 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
The winner gets to host a first-round playoff contest next week, while the loser must hit the road.
With second place in the Class 3-A East conference and a first-round home playoff game on the line, the Riverton Wolverines football team will travel to Lander Thursday in what has become a key game on many levels in a series that dates back to 1922.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
A win for the Wolverines (4-3, 3-1 Class 3-A East) will set up a first-round state playoff matchup at home, most likely against Cody, next Friday, Nov. 1, at Wolverine Field. A loss would put the Wolverines on the road next Friday, likely against Star Valley.
What is known in the Class 3-A East is that the Riverton-Lander winner will be the second seed, and the loser will be third seed. Douglas has locked up the top seed in the Class 3-A East, and Torrington will be the fourth seed. Rawlins and Buffalo will not qualify for the state playoffs in the Class 3-A East.
In the Class 3-A West, the outcome of the Worland-Cody game and the Jackson-Star Valley game will impact final standings for the second through fourth conference seeds. Powell has locked up the top seed in the Class 3-A West. Only Green River has been eliminated from playoff contention in the Class 3-A West.
If the Wolverines are to gain a first-round home playoff game, they will have to overcome some adversity Thursday against the Tigers (3-4, 3-1 Class 3-A East), especially with their offensive backfield.
Quarterback Brandon Fullerton will be listed as the starter this week after being banged up and replaced in the fourth quarter last week against Douglas.
"He's fine. We've noticed on film that there are some mechanics issues with his release, and we have been working on that this week," RHS head coach Pat Patterson said.
Under pressure most of the game against Douglas, Fullerton threw three first-half interceptions and was replaced in the fourth quarter with senior Austin Patterson.
Also of concern for the Wolverines is the health of two starting running backs, senior Rhett Rogge and junior Tristan White. Neither running back practiced either Monday or Tuesday because of injuries according to Patterson. Both will be listed as starters pending evaluation.
If White and Rogge aren't able to go, sophomore Steven Reinig and senior Dylan Lewis will be inserted to attack the Tigers' defense, sixth-ranked in Class 3-A.
"Our kids understand what is at stake.
They want to beat their rival and want to host that first-round playoff game," Patterson said.