Nov 4, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterStar Valley High School's Bryan Burton rushed for a school-record 284 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the Braves to a 52-10 victory over the Riverton Wolverines Friday evening in Afton.
The loss ends Riverton's season, while Star Valley will continue on to the semifinals of the Class 3-A state football playoffs.
All four first-round playoff games in Class 3-A were blowouts. Douglas smashed Jackson 52-14, Cody walloped Lander 49-19, and Powell slammed Torrington 48-20.
Next Friday, Star Valley will travel to Douglas and Cody will make the short trip to Powell in the state semifinals, with the winners of both games to meet in Laramie for the Class 3-A state championship on Friday, Nov. 15, at War Memorial Stadium.
Early Brave lead
Star Valley won the toss but deferred to Riverton, and the Braves held the Wolverines to a three-and-out on their first series. Starting quarterback Austin Patterson was sacked on the game's second play but then found Brandon Fullerton for a 15-yard gain. Facing fourth and seven, Tristan White's punt gave the Braves their first possession at their own 28.
Riverton started to get a steady diet of Burton, who dashed for runs of 11 yards and 12 yards before catching a screen pass good for an 18-yard gain. Then Star Valley quarterback Trace Haderlie found Trevor Palmer for the first of his two first-quarter touchdowns, and the Braves had the early lead.
"The deal was that we didn't tackle and execute well. They were tough. It was a combination of their quickness and physical play. We just didn't have anything to match that," RHS head coach Pat Patterson said.
On Riverton's first play of the second series, quarterback Patterson, who had his first start as Riverton's signal caller Friday, was sacked again and suffered a knee injury that put him out for the game.
Fullerton, who had been Riverton's starter at the position until Friday, was called back into action but also was under pressure and couldn't jump start Riverton's offense.
"We were then down a receiver and a starting safety. We practiced Austin at quarterback all week, and Brandon got reps at receiver. Then we had to flip flop that. It was interesting," Patterson said.
Riverton's only scores Friday were from the foot of junior kicker Dietrik Becker, who nailed a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter, and from Fullerton who rushed for a 73-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter after the running clock rule had been invoked because Star Valley was leading by more than 45 points.
"What we need to work on most is our speed and strength and physical and mental toughness that I see in other teams in our league. Teams like the aggressiveness of Douglas, and the physicalness of Star Valley, and the size and strength of Powell and Cody. We've got big kids and skill kids. If they will commit themselves to the weight room, they will be able to compete in this league," Patterson said.
NOTES: The first-round playoff loss ends the first year for Wolverine coach Pat Patterson. Patterson's record was 4-5 overall, 3-2 in the Class 4-A East.
The Riverton junior varsity finished with a 5-1 record and the Wolverines varsity will need to replace just two starters on offense and three or four starters on defense, according to Patterson.
Riverton's defense gave up 661 yards to Star Valley, the second time this season that a team racked up more than 600 yards in a single game against the Wolverines. At home against Cody earlier this year, the Broncs generated 617 yards of offense against the Wolverines.
One bright spot for the Wolverines Friday was their kick return game, which generated 170 total yards, 94 from Tristan White and 76 from Steven Reinig, both underclassmen.
Patterson believes the season was like a roller coaster. "It was up and down all year. We felt like we played one side of the ball well one game and not so well the next game. That was kind of the story of the year. We never really put a complete game together," Patterson said.
Riverton 0 3 0 7 -- 10
Star Valley 13 15 21 3 -- 52
8:07 Star Valley, Trevor Palmer, 30-yard pass to from Trace Haderlie, Dane Abrams PAT kick, 0-7
3:02 Star Valley, Trevor Palmer, 17-yard pass from Trace Haderlie, PAT failed, 0-13
8:02 Star Valley, Bryan Burton, 69-yard run, Trace Haderlie to Bryan Nichols pass for PAT 0-21
5:07 Star Valley, Bryan Nichols, 2-yard run, Dane Abrams PAT kick, 0-28
0:00 Riverton, Dietrik Becker 17-yard field goal, 3-28
9:34 Star Valley, Eric Pantuso, 23-yard run, Dane Abrams PAT kick 3-35
6:23 Star Valley, Bryan Burton, 68-yard run, Dane Abrams PAT kick, 3-42
3:49 Star Valley, Bryan Burton, 25-yard run, Dane Abrams PAT kick, 3-49
3:52 Star Valley, Dane Abrams 25-yard field goal, 3-52
2:58 Riverton, Brandon Fullerton, 72-yard run, Dietrik Becker PAT kick, 52-10
Riverton: Brandon Fullerton 5-74, Austin Patterson 2- W22;12, Tristan White 13-51, Ryan Axthelm 1 W22;1. Totals 21-112.
Star Valley Bryan Burton 17-284, Trace Haderlie 1-6, Eric Pantuso 5-64, Bryan Nichols 3-31, Sam Gertsch 3-29, Jesse Sanders 5-88, Tyler Allred 1-13, Skinner 1-3, Reese Hiibel 1- W22;3, G. Factor 1- 3. Totals 38-518.
Riverton: Austin Patterson 1-1-0 15, Brandon Fullerton 13-29-2 113. Totals 14-30-2 128.
Star Valley: Trace Haderlie 11-18-0 139, Reese Hiibel 1-1-0 4. Totals 12-19-0 143.
Riverton: Brandon Fullerton 1-15, Tristan White 4-19, Ian McMenamy 1-6, Ryan Axthelm 1-1.
Star Valley: Bryan Burton 2-23, C. Critchfield 3-26, Bryan Nichols 1-3, Sam Gertsch 2-5, Tyler Allred 1-23.
Riverton: Liam Vincent 18, Brandon Fullerton 13, Keeton Zancanella 10, Rhett Rogge 9, Caleb Richmond 7, Devin Matson 6, Logan Hartbank 6, Will Herbst 6, Dietrik Becker 5, J.P. Baxter 5, Ty Cantrell 4.
Star Valley: Abrams 17, Getsch 15, Haderlie 15, Allred 10.
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