LOVELL – The Lovell Bulldogs took possession early in the fourth quarter during the Sept. 24 game against Pinedale at the Bulldogs’ home field.
Lovell’s center snapped the ball, sending it high over his quarterback’s head where it landed on the grass in the backfield. As the Bulldogs scrambled to recover from their mistake, Pinedale junior Dustin Larsen and freshman Cale Dauwen sprung into action.
Larsen blocked a Lovell player making a dash for the ball, opening up room for Dauwen to swoop in and recover the fumble.
Dauwen tucked the ball and raced into the end zone to score a touchdown for the Wranglers. Sophomore Edwin Vega kicked the ball between the goal posts for a point after touchdown.
The game ended with a lopsided score favoring Lovell, 59-7. Once again, though, the Wranglers chose to tough it out against an opponent ranked No. 1 in the 3A Conference with an undefeated record.
The Wranglers’ unyielding work ethic on both the offensive and defensive sides of the field reflected the team’s growth and paid off with impressive plays culminating in a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“Pinedale versus Lovell was another hard-fought battle where the Wranglers continued to show improvement,” said Head Coach David Thrash. “Defensively, the line pressured the quarterback and the secondary covered well with a sound blitz by Larsen and scoop and score by Dauwen giving the Wranglers their first defensive score of the season. Offensively, Luke Gray and the backfield of Ethan Jensen, Larsen and Dauwen worked hard to keep building the foundation and program they are proud of.”
Despite tackles by Larsen and junior Bodie Jensen, Lovell scored on its opening possession in the first quarter. The Bulldogs made a safety, followed by another touchdown, although the Wrangler defense shut down Lovell’s attempt to convert.
A well-coordinated Pinedale defense forced a turnover on downs during Lovell’s subsequent possession, with tackles led by Ethan Jensen, junior Doug Dexter and junior Jake Hammer.
Lovell scored again as the second quarter opened. Junior Owen McMillen caught the kickoff at Pinedale’s 5-yard line and returned the ball to the 42-yard line for a first down.
Ethan Jensen and Dauwen ate up yards on Pinedale’s first two drives in the second quarter.
Bodie Jensen, Hammer and sophomore Joey Bain made a dent in the Lovell offense before the Bulldogs reached the end zone to score.
On Lovell’s next drive, Ethan Jensen and junior Joe Boylan intercepted the Bulldogs’ pass.
The halftime score stood at 46-0 in Lovell’s favor.
The Bulldogs drove the ball into the end zone at the beginning of the third quarter. The Pinedale defense prevented Lovell from scoring points after touchdown.
The Pinedale offense covered ground on its second drive of the third quarter. Lovell delivered a powerful kick for a touchback, placing the Wranglers at their 20-yard line. Dauwen charged forward, eating up the yards needed for a first down. Hammer, stepping in as quarterback, completed a pass to Larsen. Larsen broke tackle and spun up to the 33-yard line. Dauwen carried the ball for the next three plays for another first down. Larsen plowed up the middle to pick up a few yards. Hammer scrambled on the next two plays, gaining several yards.
Lovell took possession as the fourth quarter opened. On its opening play, Lovell’s center overthrew the ball. Dauwen recovered the fumble with Larsen blocking a Bulldog closing in on the pair.
Dauwen ran the ball into the end zone for a Wrangler touchdown. Vega made good on his kick for an extra point.
The Pinedale defense stopped Lovell’s final drive, with junior Cordelle Lane making a tackle for no gain and forcing the Bulldogs to punt.
Pinedale plays Thermopolis for Homecoming Week on Friday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
“I can’t wait to see everyone on Friday as the Wranglers host the Bobcats,” said Coach Thrash.