It’s that time of the season when young teams rise up on occasion and fight back against more experienced opponents. That was the case late Thursday afternoon when the Shoshoni Wranglers gave the heavily favored Big Piney Punchers all they wanted in a 26-7 loss.
The loss was the sixth straight for the Wranglers this season and it won’t get any easier next Friday when they host rival Wind River. The Cougars sit atop the West 1-A 9-Man conference with a perfect 6-0 record and the second-place ranking in the division.
Shoshoni’s defense was ahead of its offense in this one, and the Wranglers practiced a bend but don’t break approach in allowing the Punchers to march up the field before digging in and forcing a pair of turnovers on downs when Big Piney stalled out inside or near the Red Zone.
The Punchers are senior-laden and have a multitude of talented players. They finally scored on a 29-yard pass from Champ Snively to Karsyn Gurr with 39 seconds left in the opening period. Roger Young added the conversion kick for a 7-0 Puncher lead.
The Wranglers had a quick three and out on the next series and Gurr took advantage, taking the punt at the Big Piney 31 and returning it 69 yards for a touchdown just 25 seconds into the second period. The kick made it 14-0 with a lot of time left in the opening quarter and a blowout looming.
The blowout never came. Instead, the Wranglers mounted a nice 10-play drive capped by a leaping, over the should catch by Quinton Clark on a perfectly placed pass by Braxton Mills for a 20-yard scoring play. Ethan Tarango’s kick cut the score to 14-7.
The Punchers may have suffered more than just a score on the play as senior quarterback and safety Snively was injured as he hit Clark after the reception. Snively twisted in the air and fell hard on his shoulder. The game was delayed for 10 minutes as Snively was evaluated. He spent the remainder of the game with his arm in a sling and ice bags on his shoulder.
The 14-7 score at the half was indicative of a solid defensive effort by the Wranglers in the opening period.
In Snively’s absence, freshman Zach Ferguson took the quarterback position.
Ferguson had a great game coming off the bench with a rushing touchdown in the third period and a 20-yard touchdown pass to Gurr in the fourth.
The Punchers moved to 5-1 on the season with the win, their only loss coming at Wind River.
The playoff picture gets a little clearer Friday evening in Basin when Riverside hosts Rocky Mountain in a game that should decide the third and fourth seeds for the upcoming playoffs.
SHOSHONI 0 7 0 0 – 7
BIG PINEY 7 7 6 6 – 26
BP – Karsyn Gurr 29-pass from Champ Snively (Roger Young kick):39
BP – Gurr 69-punt return (Young kick) 11:35
SHO – Quinton Clark 20-pass from Braxton Mills (Ethan Tarango kick) 6:53
BP – Zach Ferguson 1-run (run failed) 6:53
BP – Gurr 20-pass from Ferguson (kick failed) 9:06
Total Offense: Shoshoni 180, Big Piney 280
Rushing Offense: Shoshoni 31-87, Big Piney 42-197
Passing Offense: 5-83, 9-93
Individual Rushing: Shoshoni – Ethan Tarango 3-1, Wiley Philleo 4-7, Carson Kisling 17-20, Braxton Mills 7-59, Big Piney – Reuben Stoutenberg 15-89, Champ Snively 1-(-7), Caden Clifford 17-108, Jackie Meador 1-2, Clifford 2-8, Ferguson 1-(-5)
Individual Passing: Shoshoni – Braxton Mills 9-17-1 93, Big Piney – Champ Snively 2-4 39, Zach Ferguson 3-8 44
Individual Receiving: Shoshoni – Tucker Hicks 3-23, Wiley Philleo 2-7, Carson Kisling 1-23, Quinton Clark 2-30, Landon Kasper 1-10