Oct 31, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterThe Star Valley Braves are 5-3 overall and finished second in the Class 3-A West with a 4-1 mark.
With hopes of putting last week's stinging loss to cross-county rival Lander behind them, the Riverton Wolverines begin their Class 3-A state playoff quest Friday night against Star Valley High School in Afton.
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. aThe game can be heard live on KTAK radio, 93.9 FM.
Star Valley enters the game as the second seed behind Powell in the Class 3-A West with a 5-3 overall record and a 4-1 conference mark. The Wolverines are the third seed from the Class 3-A East and have a 4-4 overall record, 3-2 in their conference behind Lander (4-1) and Douglas (5-0).
"We've had a good week of practice and a really good practice today," RHS head coach Pat Patterson said.
The Wolverines were forced inside Monday because of snowy weather but got outside Tuesday and Wednesday.
Look for Riverton to take to the air against the Braves with senior Austin Patterson getting the start at quarterback for the first time this season. Patterson, who has played receiver most of the year for the Wolverines, has relieved junior Brandon Fullerton at quarterback during Riverton's last two games. Fullerton will move outside to a receiver position Friday.
"Their radio guy asked their head coach how he felt if we were to throw the ball and he said that he hopes that we come and throw the ball because it would be playing into their strength. We're going to grant their wishes," Patterson said.
The Wolverines will be working with a somewhat shuffled lineup and will be missing two-way starter Casey Savage for team disciplinary reasons and also lineman Riley Reichert, who was ejected during last week's game with Lander and will have to sit out the first round playoff game because of state rules. Dylan Lewis will play, but has been battling the flu this week.
Underclassmen Ryan Axthelm and Devin Matsen will get their first starts Friday. Axthelm will line up in the slot position on offense and Matsen will get the go at defensive end.
The Wolverines have seen two different types of Star Valley offensive attacks on video.
"If they want to spread the field, we'll go with a smaller, quicker lineup. If they want to get into their offset-I, we'll probably go to our five-man front," Patterson said.
Riverton will try to platoon as much as possible this week, according to Patterson.
Star Valley is the third-ranked team in Wyoming Class 3-A football behind Powell and Douglas in the most recent statewide media polling. The Braves are ranked fourth in overall offense and fourth in overall defense.
"They are like a Douglas. They are an extremely well-coached team. They are disciplined, and they do not beat themselves with penalties or mistakes. They just line up and execute," Patterson said.
Other first-round Class 3-A games feature Cody at Lander, Jackson at Douglas, and Torrington at Powell.
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