A Good Season Ends Short – Shoshoni falls 33-27 to Pine Bluffs in State Championship

The clock read:00 on the Jumbotron in the south endzone at War Memorial Stadium as Shoshoni senior quarterback Alex Mills reversed field three times to avoid the Pine Bluffs pass rush. He finally set his feet and threw an arching pass 48 yards through the air to fellow senior Cannon Campbell, but the Hornets were in a deep-pass prevent defense and three of them tackled Campbell at the 18-yard line, ending a last-ditch effort by the Wranglers.

Alex Mills scrambled on the final play of the game – {h/t Randy Tucker}

The final 33-27 score reflected a classic high school football game that literally went down not to the final seconds but 10 more after the official clock had run out.

Trey Fike and Quintan Clark moved in on Dalton Schaefer – {h/t Randy Tucker}

The loss ends the Shoshoni season at 9-2 overall while the Hornets were perfect in 2022 at 11-0. The two teams began the season in Shoshoni with a 34-26 Pine Bluffs win and ended it almost three months later with a similar score on a uniquely perfect mid-November afternoon at Jonah Field in Laramie.

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The game had more than its share of highlights, but it boiled down to speed versus power and in this instance, speed, in the form of the Pine Bluffs trio of Dalton Schaefer, Ryan Fornstrom, and Stu Lerwick was enough to lift the Hornets to the closely contested win.

Jaxon Stanley, Pehton Truempler and Kellan Linnan stuffed a Hornet runner – {h/t Randy Tucker}

The speed factor became evident on Pine Bluffs’ first play of the game. Schaefer took the ball around the right end, broke one tackle, and outran the Wrangler defense on a 61-yard scamper into the south endzone to give the Hornets a 7-0 lead just nine seconds into the game.

Pehton Truempler bowled over Hornet defenders – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Ironically, it proved to be the difference in the final outcome on the scoreboard, but there were hundreds of individual plays and decisions that could have tipped the scales in a game between teams so well-matched.

Pine Bluffs took just one play, it took 11 for the Wranglers to tie the score a few minutes later. Punishing runs by Pehton Truempler and Campbell, mixed with one incomplete pass by Mills ended with Truempler walking into the endzone unchallenged at 6:18 on a one-yard run.

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Alex Mills scrambled looking for an open receiver – {h/t Randy Tucker}

The Wranglers marched on the feet of offensive linemen Korb Dewitt, Julian Ceballo, Jaxon Stanley, and Kellen Linnan.

Dominic Jarvis added the conversion kick and the score was deadlocked for the first of three times on the afternoon at 7-7.

What looked to be a forthcoming shootout-style game, instead became a turnover-fest for the next few minutes.

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Shoshoni head coach Tony Truempler and assistant Toby Wood worked with the team during a timeout – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Tucker Maddock recovered a Schaefer fumble, and Mills intercepted Lerwick near the goal line to end a Hornets drive, but the Wranglers lost a pair of fumbles as well.

Pine Bluffs had a penchant for scoring on the first play of the quarter and Schaefer did it again on a 13-yard run just six seconds into the second period for a 13-7 Hornets lead.

Shoshoni’s offense began to open up with Mills connecting on a 47-yard pass to Trey Fike, but a turnover ended the drive at the 30.

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Dominic Jarvis scored a 70-yard catch and run touchdown on this play – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Pine Bluffs stalled as well at the Shoshoni 30, but the Wranglers found lightning in a bottle on the next series when Mills hit Jarvis on a swing pass out of the backfield. Jarvis ran over the Hornets’ corner and then tight-roped 70 yards down the west sideline for the tying score.

The permanent goal posts at Jonah Field are the narrower college width, but portable goal post were overlayed on the exterior of the college uprights for the high school playoffs.

Jaxon Stanley turned upfield after a pass behind Trey Fike – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Jarvis kicked the extra point which bounced off one of the inside college uprights, well inside of the high school dimensions. Game officials ruled the kick no good, missing the ball clearly bouncing off the interior yellow upright. The point didn’t factor into the final 33-27 score, aside from making the margin five instead of six, but it would have changed strategy with the Hornets trailing instead of tied.

A final play of the half displayed the intensity, and team cohesiveness of the Wranglers. Head coach Tony Truempler was out of timeouts after taking his last one with 44 seconds remaining in the second period.

Pehton Truempler was hard to bring down – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Mills connected with Fike on a crossing route to the six-yard line with the clock ticking down from 14 seconds.

Cannon Campbell displayed great sportsmanship helping a Pine Bluffs player stretch out a cramp – {h/t Randy Tucker}

As the Wranglers lined up quickly fans called for Mills to spike the ball, but instead, he rolled right and flipped the ball to Jarvis at the goal line as time expired. Jarvis added the kick with the stadium clock reading double-zeros and the Wranglers rolled into the half with a 20-13 lead.

Trey Fike closed in on Dalton Schaefer – {h/t Randy Tucker}

The third period was all Pine Bluffs, and most of their offense came through the air.

Lerwick hit Ryan Fornstrom on a 78-yard fly pattern to close the game to 20-19 after Pine Bluffs missed the conversion kick, and Taylor Beeken crashed in on a 13-yard run to give the Hornets a 25-20 lead. Going for two, Lerwick tossed a shovel pass to Fornstrom for a 27-20 lead with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter.

Kellan Linnan engaged a lead block for Pehton Truempler – {h/t Randy Tucker}

The Wranglers came out with one of their most determined, albeit a final, drive of the season, capped by a five-yard Truempler run, and Jarvis kick that knotted the score a final time at 27-27 just six seconds into the final period.

With nothing proven over the first three periods, the two teams picked up the intensity. Shoshoni hits hard, and on nearly every play in the last quarter, a Pine Bluffs player had to be assisted off the field.

Pehton Trumempler stretched for a first down – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Jarvis, Truempler, and Campbell each made brutal tackles over the top after Maddock, Stanley, Theo Litz, and Linnan stopped Pine Bluffs runners at the line.

Just a few open field tackles by Fike, Mills, and Quentin Clark told the story of the last minutes of a season played in the trenches.

Theo Litz led the Shoshoni charge – {h/t Randy Tucker}

To Pine Bluffs’ credit, they took the hits, left the field for a play or two, then came back. No player was hammered worse than Schaefer for the Hornets, but when the season was on the line, he came through with a 13-yard scoring run with just 53 seconds left in the game.

The Wrangler defense overwhelmed the blocking on the conversion kick, with four players in on the blocked attempt.

Pehton Truempler epitomized the Shoshoni effort at the break before the stary of the fourth quarter – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Mills connected with Fike on a tight catch on the sideline in front of the Wrangler bench to set up the final scrambling play to Campbell.

This was Shoshoni’s fourth appearance in a state championship game and the only loss the Wranglers have had in a final. They won it last year over Rocky Mountain, in 1985 over Cheyenne Seton, and in 1959 with a 20-6 win over Byron in the Wrangler’s only unbeaten season.

A good Shoshoni crowd cheered the Wranglers – {h/t Randy Tucker}

Shoshoni graduates a dozen seniors, representing 17 of the 18 starting positions on offense and defense.

SHOSHONI     7 13   0 7 – 27

PINE BLUFFS  7   6 14 6 – 33

First Quarter

PB – Dalton Schaefer 61-run (Abe Serrano kick) 11:51

SHO – Pehton Truempler 1-run (Dominic Jarvis kick) 6:18

Second Quarter

PB – Schaefer 13-run (kick failed) 11:54

SHO – Jarvis 70-pass from Alex Mills (kick failed) 8:11

SHO – Jarvis 6-pass from Mills (Jarvis kick):00

Third Quarter

PB – Ryan Fornstrom 78-pass from Stu Lerwick (kick failed) 9:54

PB – Tayler Beeken 13-run (Fornstrom pass from Lerwick) 4:27

Fourth Quarter

SHO – Truempler 5-run (Jarvis kick) 11:56

PB – Schaefer 13-run (kick failed):53

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