Wranglers grit through tough game against Kemmerer

Sandy Wanfalt photo Junior Jake Hammer, far right, makes a sack, forcing Kemmerer's quarterback to fumble the ball. Kemmerer recovered the fumble, though Hammer's determined defense led to a loss of yards.

KEMMERER – The Pinedale High School Wrangler football team continued to demonstrate its “no quit” motto against the Kemmerer Rangers during the Rangers’ homecoming game on Friday, Oct. 7.

The Pinedale defense dug in their heels in the first half, holding the Rangers to 9 points. Kemmerer scored two touchdowns in the second half to secure a 22-0 win, though the Wrangler defensive line prevented the game from becoming a rout.

Offensively, the Wranglers came up short of the end zone, although the O-line advanced the ball and continued to refine its pass plays. Players with limited varsity experience on offense and special teams stepped up in the second half due to injuries on the field.

“The Wranglers played a hard-fought game and suffered a tough loss to the Rangers,” said Head Coach David Thrash. “Defensively, the Wranglers played well with contributions from multiple athletes making a strong goal-line stand, fumble recovery and interception to hold the Rangers to only 9 points in the first half. The offense showed connections and meshed to complete passes and runs for improved gains.”

The Wrangler defense hammered away at the Ranger offense during Kemmerer’s opening drive in the first quarter. Tackles led by junior Dodge Normington, junior Doug Dexter and senior Ethan Jensen slowed the Rangers’ progress.

Senior Colby Bailey took down Kemmerer’s runner for a loss. The Rangers fumbled and senior Luke Gray swept in for the recovery.

The Wrangler defense shut down Kemmerer’s second first-quarter drive. Senior Ethan Jensen pushed Kemmerer’s runner out of bounds twice. Sophomore Cash McCann made a pair of tackles. A pack of Wrangler defenders forced a turnover on downs.

The Wranglers took possession at their own 3-yard line. Unfortunately, Kemmerer captured the ball and scored a safety.

Closing ranks, the Wrangler defense brought Kemmerer to a stop as the second quarter began. Dexter led a tackle. Coverage by Gray and Ethan Jensen broke up a pass. The Rangers’ second attempt at a pass came up short, and Kemmerer punted.

Quarterback Gray completed a pass to Ethan Jensen for a 14-yard gain. Ethan Jensen pushed the ball forward on the next play. Gray completed another pass to senior Colby Bailey before Pinedale ended up punting.

Kemmerer scored a touchdown on its subsequent drive, though the Wrangler offense put up strong resistance. Junior Owen McMillen took down a Ranger in the backfield for a loss. Senior Holden Saxton pushed Kemmerer’s runner out of bounds.

Jake Hammer, a junior, pulled out a tackle holding the Rangers to a 1-yard gain. Gray made a sack behind the line of scrimmage before Kemmerer broke through to the end zone.

Pinedale returned the ball to its 38-yard line. Gray sent the ball spiraling to junior Bodie Jensen. Ethan Jensen chewed up yards. Gray scrambled forward for a first down.

Kemmerer recovered the ball, but managed only two plays before Ethan Jensen intercepted a pass in the final seconds of the first half.

The halftime score favored Kemmerer, 9-0.

The Rangers scored on their first drive in the third quarter.

Junior Joe Boylan returned the ball to Pinedale’s 40-yard line. Hammer, stepping in for an injured quarterback, and Ethan Jensen picked up several yards. Hammer ran the ball, picking up enough yards for a first down.

Ethan Jensen advanced the ball to Kemmerer’s 25-yard line. Junior Dustin Larsen charged up the middle to the 22-yard line. Hammer completed a pass to Ethan Jensen.

Kemmerer took possession as the fourth quarter commenced and ran the ball into the end zone.

The Pinedale defense drew several punches, however, including a tackle for no gain led by Bailey. Bodie Jensen forced Kemmerer’s runner out of bounds. Sophomore Brodie Richey pulled off a tackle. Hammer made multiple tackles, including one for no gain.

A touchback set Pinedale up at its 20-yard line with two minutes remaining in the game. Hammer and Bodie Jensen completed a 9-yard pass play. Ethan Jensen churned the yards needed for a first down. Hammer scrambled on the next play and then delivered a pass to Saxton.

The Wranglers return to the home field, hosting Mountain View for Senior Night on Friday, Oct. 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“The team is excited and looking to continue their growth and build that foundation as they head into Senior Night,” said Coach Thrash.

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