In a battle between the two favored teams in their respective East and West Class 1-A 9-man divisions, it was the visitor that took a hard-fought win in Shoshoni on Thursday afternoon. Pine Bluffs traveled 320 miles to Shoshoni to take a 34-26 win over the defending state champion Wranglers.
The win may end up being a costly win for the Hornets after their leading rusher, senior Dalton Schafer suffered a severe shoulder injury in the second half, an injury that delayed the game by 25 minutes as personnel worked with him before he was transported for medical treatment in a friend of his family’s vehicle.
Statistically, you couldn’t ask for a more even matchup with the Wranglers amassing 335 total yards and the Hornets 334.
Pine Bluffs scored first in the game on a 38-yard pass from Stu Lerwick to Collin Jensen with Abe Serrano converting the conversion kick with 3:55 remaining in the opening period.
The Hornets are talented offensively, but the difference in the game came in the trenches. Shoshoni had a decided size advantage on both sides of the line but the Hornets controlled the line of scrimmage, limiting the Wrangler pass rush and seal blocking well on runs by Schafer. In contrast, Shoshoni’s Pehton Truempler had to battle for most of his 101 yards on second effort, and Alex Mills scrambled, and stepped around would-be tacklers all afternoon while picking up an impressive 244 yards passing.
Most of those passes went to senior Trey Fike who make leaping, acrobatic catches in heavy coverage on most of his nine receptions. Fike led all receivers with 146 yards and a touchdown.
Shoshoni’s first score came after one of those acrobatic Fike receptions, along with a 42-yard breakaway run by Truempler. Truempler capped the drive with just 13 seconds remaining in the opening period on a two-yard plunge, but Dominic Jarvis’ kick was blocked and the Hornets led 7-6. The score remained that way into the half.
A pair of Pine Bluffs runs, the first 11-yards by Lerwick and the second a 54-yard scamper by Schafer lifted the Hornets to a 21-6 lead in the third, but Shoshoni answered again, late in the period with a nine-yard pass from Mills to Cannon Campbell to trail 21-12 with 13 seconds remaining in the third.
After being stymied offensively throughout the second half, the Wranglers found success in a quad left formation with receivers swarming all over the Pine Bluffs secondary. They switched from a quad to a double-slot and trips formation throughout the remainder of the game and when Mills had time to throw, the formations were effective.
The final period was a back-and-forth battle with Pine Bluffs scoring on another Schaefer breakaway, this one from 41-yards out.
As Shoshoni began to throw the ball on nearly every down, Mills found Fike on a flair to right flat. Schafer was injured trying to tackle Fike and after a long delay, he was helped off the field in obvious pain.
Truempler scored on an eight-yard run after the injury and the Wranglers trailed 28-18.
With Schafer out, the Hornets went to running by committee and continued to pick up first downs. Pine Bluffs last score came on a 14-yard pass from Lerwick to James Langlois with 2:52 left in the game.
Shoshoni went back to the air and tallied a final score on a 35-yard strike from Mills to Fike.
The ensuing onside kick from Jarvis was recovered by Lerwick and the Hornets ran out the clock for the win.
Next on the schedule for Shoshoni is a conference home game next week against Greybull.
Shoshoni 6 0 6 14 – 26
Pine Bluffs 7 0 14 13 – 34
PB – Collin Jensen 38-pass from Stu Lerwick (Abe Serrano kick) 3:55
SHO – Pehton Truempler 2-run (kick failed) :13
PB – Lerwick 11-run (Serrano kick) 9:29
PB – Dalton Schafer 54-run (Serrano kick) 5:51
SHO – Cannon Campbell 9-pass from Alex Mills (pass failed) :13
PB – Schafer 41-run (Serrano kick) 11:17
SHO – Truempler 8-run (run failed) 8:48
PB – James Langlois 14-pass from Lerwick (kick failed) 2:52
SHO – Trey Fike 35-pass from Mills (Mills run) 1:58
Total Offense: Pine Bluffs 334, Shoshoni 335
Rushing Offense: Pine Bluffs 253, Shoshoni 91
Receiving Offense: Pine Bluffs 81, Shoshoni 244
Passing: Pine Bluffs – Stu Lerwick 7-12-1 81, Shoshoni – Alex Mills – 16-32-2 244
Receiving: Pine Bluffs – Collin Jensen 3-57, James Langlois 1-7, Alex Sloan 1-3, Ryan Fornstrom 2-37, Shoshoni – Receiving: Pehton Truempler 2-17, Cannon Campbell 3-50, Quentin Clark 1-11, Trey Fike 9-146, Dominic Jarvis 1-3, Jaxon Stanley 1-2
Rushing: Dalton Schafer 15-177, Ryan Fornstrom 2-13, Stu Lerwick 6- (-2), James Langlois 3-26, Abe Serrano 6-39, Shoshoni- Alex Mills 4-(-20), Pehton Truempler 18-101, Cannon Campbell 5-10