Wrangler football opens with Lander scrimmage

Sandy Wanfalt photo Senior Holden Saxton intercepts a pass during the week zero scrimmage against Lander. Also pictured is junior Bodie Jensen, No. 56.

LANDER – The 2022 football season commenced with the traditional non-conference scrimmage pitting the Pinedale High School Wranglers against the 3A Lander Tigers on Friday, Aug. 26.

Week zero scores are unofficial and do not count toward a team’s season standing.

The Lander offense hit the ground running, making it into the end zone multiple times and fielded a tough Tiger defense.

Despite Lander’s unofficial lead, Pinedale demonstrated Wrangler grit and determination to get back up and execute impressive plays.

“It was a hard-fought zero week scrimmage against the Lander Tigers,” said Head Coach David Thrash. “After shaking off some of the early season excitement, there were good things happening on both sides of the ball. The offense put together a couple of strong drives in the second quarter with Luke Gray and Ethan Jensen out of the backfield. The defense stood strong to force a three-and-out after the series before making a stand that led on an interception by Holden Saxton.”

Following a difficult first quarter, the Wranglers found their footing. Lander opened the second quarter in possession. Senior Cade Covill sacked the Tigers’ quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.

Quick feet by Saxton shut down Lander’s offensive drive when he reached up and intercepted a pass.

Pinedale took possession and Jensen plowed forward for a first down. Sophomore Edwin Vega delivered one of a series of powerful punts deep into Lander territory.

Gray recovered a fumble as the first half wound down.

The Wranglers ate up yards on their final offensive drive in the second quarter. Gray carried the ball 12 yards and completed a pass to senior Colby Bailey.

Scrimmage rules mandated a running clock in the second half. Lander struggled to complete passes on its first drive. Junior Jake Hammer swept in with a tackle, forcing the Tigers to punt.

Freshman Cale Dauwen pressured Lander’s quarterback during the Tigers’ final offensive drive in the third quarter, allowing junior Doug Dexter to finish off the sack.

The slate is wiped clean as Wranglers gear up for their first regular season home game against Rawlins on Friday, Sept. 2, on Sunny Korfanta Field at Gene Andrews Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“The varsity squad has worked hard over the first two weeks and will continue to clean things up as they begin to prepare for the home opener versus the Rawlins Outlaws,” said Coach Thrash.