Cougars win battle of unbeatens – move to 4-0

The road is a tough place to play at times, and no place in small school football is tougher than Big Piney at home. Wind River rolled over South Pass Friday afternoon to play the Punchers in a battle of unbeaten Class 1-A, 9-man football teams. The Cougars entered the game ranked third and the Punchers fifth in statewide polling.

Calder Johnson breaks free behind blocks from Kaden Jones, Kyzaia Jones, Cooper Frederick, TJ Hallock and Casey Befus {h/t Wind River football}

Wind River showed great poise in coming from behind not once, but twice to win the game 20-18 and in the process remain unbeaten in conference play at 3-0 and 4-0 overall.

The Cougars established their ground game early with Jaycee Herbert breaking free on his second carry of the game for a 30-yard touchdown scamper. The conversion run failed, as five of the six two-point conversion attempts between the two teams did on the afternoon.

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Cooper Frederick cuts to avoid a Big Piney defender {h/t Wind River football}

Big Piney answered with a long drive capped by a one-yard plunge by fullback Thomas Howard to tie the score at 6-6.

In the second period the Punchers took their first lead on another one-yard plunge by Howard with the ensuing conversion stuffed by the Cougar defense.

TJ Hallock, Jaycee Herbert, Casey Befus, Tucker Jensen, and Calder Johnson swarmed a Puncher ball carrier {h/t Wind River football}

Poise and patience came into play for Wind River as the clock ticked away late in the second quarter. The Cougars moved the ball steadily up the field, but just as steadily the clock ticked away.

With just six seconds remaining in the half Chris Burke plowed in from the one on a quarterback sneak to tie the game.

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Calder Johnson delivers a hard block for Jaycee Herbert to cut behind {h/t Wind River football}

On the all-important conversion play, Cooper Frederick found a seam and the Cougars led 14-12 at the break.

TJ Hallock, Jaycee Herbert, Carter Fowler and Casey Befus corral a Puncher {h/t Wind River football}

Big Piney threw deep throughout the game with some success and they found a little magic in the third period to take an 18-14 lead when quarterback Champ Snively hit Trysman Green on a 20-yard pass. Once again, the Cougar defense held on the conversion try.

Wind River mustered the game-winning touchdown midway through the final period on another Burke run this one from five yards out for the go-ahead 20-18 score.

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The Punchers paid for their aerial attack in the final period when Burke intercepted Snively to end one drive.

The Wind River defense digs in {h/t Wind River football}

The Cougars had a touchdown called back on a holding penalty on the ensuing series when Herbert broke free on a long run and nearly converted a fourth and 20 play when Frederick was tackled three yards short of the line to gain.

A final interception by junior Juaquin Stevens ended Big Piney’s last, best hope and the Cougars escaped with the win.

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The Cougar coaches and players celebrate the win {h/t Wind River football}

Wind River didn’t complete a pass on the afternoon but amassed 327 yards on the ground including 128 yards by Herbert and 114 by Frederick.

Wind River hosts Wyoming Indian next Thursday at 7 p.m.

Wind River 6 8 0 6 – 20

Big Piney    6 6 6 0 – 18

First Quarter

WR – Jaycee Herbert 30-run (run failed)

BP – Thomas Howard 1-run (run failed)

Second Quarter

BP – Howard 1-run (run failed)

WR – Chris Burk 1-run (Cooper Frederick run)

Third Quarter

BP – Tryzman Green 20-pass from Champ Snively (run failed)

Fourth Quarter

WR – Burke 5-run (run failed)

WR Rushing: Jaycee Herbert 15-128, Chris Burk 17-62, Cooper Frederick 19-114, Calder Johnson 6-23 – Total 59-327

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