Oct 28, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe Lander Tigers are not under the radar anymore in Class 3-A football division after winning a wild 22-21 victory Thursday over the Riverton Wolverines and the right to host an opening round playoff game.
Lander ended the season by winning four of their last six games for the No. 2 seed in the East conference.
The Tigers host Cody on Friday in the opening round of the playoffs in Lander.
The game has a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Cody beat Lander 28-0 in the season opener in Park County.
Cody finished in the No. 3 position in the Class 3-A West conference.
"The game with Riverton was back and forth," Lander coach Doug Hughes said. "We are just so excited to play in front of our home fans again. "They did a great job of cheering for us and keep us motivated through the game."
Powell won the 3-A West regular season title. Star Valley finished second.
Star Valley will host the Riverton Wolverines in the opening round.
Douglas won the 3-A East conference championship.
Lander completed the season with a 4-4 overall record.
The Tigers were 4-1 in the Class 3-A East conference. RHS ended the year at 4-4, 3-2 in the conference.
Jack Mazurie, Jaxon Hedges, Reb Lindwurm and Pete Spriggs all came up big in the victory over the Wolverines.
Mazurie was the leader on the defense from his linebacker spot, keeping the Wolverines in check all game long.
"Jack cleaned up everything on defense," Hughes said. "Jack just makes us a good team. He makes our defense go. I just can't say enough good things about him."
Spriggs started out the season in a quarterback battle with teammate Andrew Von Rein and made strides all season long.
Against the Wolverines, Spriggs was 7-14 for 104 in the passing department.
Spriggs scored the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
"Coming in a junior, he has grown a whole lot since the start of the year," Hughes said. "He throws a nice ball. He is a run threat whenever he rolls out. He is making the offense click."
Hedges came up with crucial two-long distance punts in the game with Riverton.
The last one game under two minutes left on the clock. Hedges was forced to punt out of his end zone and punted it 67 .
Earlier, his 63-yard boot pinned Riverton on its own 1-yard line, and Lander got a safety on the next play that provided the margin of victory.
"Jaxon is one of the best punters in the state," Hughes said. "That punt at the end of the game to get us out of the hole changed the whole field position."
Hedges said he wasn't nervous about the punt because he knew he would have good protection against the Wolverines.
"It was just a big punt," Hedges said. "It got us out of trouble and pinned them back farther so they just didn't have to run it a couple of times and were just in."
Hedges said Mazurie was in the right position to make the quick tackle on the Wolverines.
Hedges came up with the first big offensive play of the game in the first play of the second quarter when he ran 72 for the touchdown.
"When I broke through the line, I split the linebackers and I saw that I only had the safety to beat," Hedges said.
"I just took off. I was praying because I heard him behind me the whole time. At the very end, I just started to high step so that he couldn't catch me. I don't know how I made it in, but I did.
Hedges ended the game with 128 on 11 carries from the backfield.
Lander defensive lineman Kyle LaTorre recorded the safety on RHS quarterback Austin Patterson early in the third quarter.
"We didn't get a lot of pressure on them in the first half," Hughes said. "We got some kids after the quarterback and were able to have some success that way."
Lindwurm had two interceptions in the final 10 minutes to help hold off the Wolverines for the win. In the first, he returned the ball more than 50 deep into Riverton territory, setting up the final touchdown by Spriggs.
"Reb did an awesome job with those two picks," Hedges said. "That was the game changer right there.
Lander 22, Riverton 21
LANDER 0 7 9 6 -- 22
RIVERTON 0 7 7 7 -- 21
Lander -- Jaxon Hedges, 72-yard run, (Hedges PAT), 7-0, 11:49.
Riverton -- Austin Patterson 13-yard pass to Brandon Fullerton, (Dietrick Becker kick), 7-7, Final minute of half.
Lander -- Kyle LaTorre safety on Riverton, 9-7, 10:10.
Lander -- Jack Mazurie, 4-yard run, (Hedges PAT), 16-7, 8:12.
Riverton -- Tristan White, 1-yard run, (Becker kick), 16-14, 1:12.
Riverton -- Austin Patterson, 24-yard run, (Becker kick), 21-16.
Lander -- Pete Spriggs, 10-yard run, (2-point conversion failed).
Lander -- Jaxon Hedges 11-128, Jack Mazurie 13-46
Riverton Tristan White 10-25, Austin Patterson 11-46 .
Lander -- Pete Spriggs 7-14 104 Riverton -- Brandon Fullerton 6-14 83, Austin Patterson 17-29 233.
Lander -- Hedges 4-50, Reb Lindwurm 2-47
Riverton -- Logan Hartbank 8-127, Brandon Fullerton 5-78, Ian McMenamy 7-62.
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