Wolverines host Powell in Zero Week

    In every football division aside from Class 4-A, Zero Week games are practice contests used the gauge the progress of a football team after the first two weeks of practice. Newly arrived Riverton head football coach Mark Lenhardt took some positives and found areas needing improvement after the home opening 42-24 loss Friday Night.

    First-year head coach Mark Lenhardt talked with his offensive unit during the first quarter break – h/t Randy Tucker

    “I feel like we made a step in the right direction last night, I thought we played for 48 minutes,” Lenhardt said. “The kids never quit. The first game tackling is always a little rough.”

    Rough was a good adjective for the offense as well with senior quarterback Darrick DeVries rolling his ankle on Riverton’s first offensive play. The 6-3 senior left briefly for evaluation but played almost the entire game.

    Darrick DeVries was wrapped up by a Powell defender as he tried to pitch to Jordan May. – h/t Randy Tucker

    “First play of the game on offense we run a naked boot and Darrick gets rolled up on, “Lehnhardt said. “He’s probably our best runner, but our whole option goes out the window. There were a lot of positives, considering we had this short time together. I thought Darrick showed a lot of character. This is a kid that will compete for a state basketball championship this year and he could have packed it up and not come out.”

    Powell is always a physical football team, dotted with good-sized Park County farm boys, and this year’s Panther squad was no different. Riverton’s offense was lopsided via the passing game.

    Branson Saltsgaver cut back while Daniel Cardenas looked for a block – h/t Randy Tucker

    “We’re not going to win a lot of football games throwing for 350 and running for 40,” Lenhardt said. “We need to find a way to run the football better.”

    The Panthers weren’t huge, but they had good size, used their leverage well, and had good blocking and defensive technique.


    “We got it taken to us up front,” Lenhardt said. “We’re going to try to get too physical play, right now we are trying to play with a little too much finesse. It’ll take time to build line play and get the weight room culture going. People need to understand that the weight room starts in seventh grade. We’re going to do everything we can to build that.”

    Powell scored first on a 41-yard run by Case Braddish and added another run, of identical length on a keeper by quarterback Jhett Schwahn, but spaced between these two long runs was Riverton’s first score of the varsity season.

    Nick McIntosh caught Riverton’s first touchdown pass of the season – h/t Randy Tucker

    DeVries bought some time with a short rollout to the right behind good blocking up front and found Nick McIntosh on a fly route down the Wolverine sideline with a good catch over his left shoulder in stride. Hunter Saltsgaver kicked the point after, and the game was tied briefly at 7-7.


    “I felt like on the first drive, we didn’t play that poorly,” Lenhardt said.

    A good return on the ensuing kick set up Schwahn for a twisting scamper down Powell’s side of the field and a 14-7 Panther lead.

    Riverton’s Jordan May was upended by Powell cornerback Evan Whitlock- h/t Randy Tucker

    The Panthers stepped on the gas in the second period, tallying a pair of scores. The first came on a 39-yard strike from Schwahn to Dawson Griffin, and the second a four-yard run by Zane Graft that capped a methodical Powell drive.


    Trailing 28-7 the Wolverines made a quick march on receptions by McIntosh and Ty Sheets to advance the ball to the 16-yard line.

    “We don’t have a lot of room for error up front,” Lenhardt said. “We have some situations where we try to play to our strengths on the offensive line.”

    DeVries spiked the ball to stop the clock, and Saltsgaver hit a 33-yard field goal with just three seconds left in the opening half.  Sheets intercepted a long pass by Schwahn to end the half.

    Hunter Saltsgaver converted three extra-point kicks and a field goal out of the hold of Nick McIntosh – h/t Randy Tucker

    Powell scored the only points in the third on a 19-yard pass from Schwahn to Trey Stennerson and Riverton trailed 35-10.

    The Wolverines weren’t quite ready to call it a game, coming back on their ensuing possession to score on another DeVries/McIntosh combination, this one from 31 yards.

    Powell’s defensive line came hard on every down and Lenhardt took advantage with screen passes to May that capitalized on the Panther aggression. May scored Riverton’s final touchdown on a 14-yard screen pass with 7:18 remaining in the game cutting the margin to just 11 points at 35-24.

    Darrick DeVries handed off to Jordan May early in the game – h/t Randy Tucker

    Powell settled in on the next drive for the final score of the game on a 13-yard run by Stennerson.

    It doesn’t get any easier for the Wolverines as they open the regular season hosting Class 3-A runner-up Cody next Friday. The Broncs pummeled the Lander Tigers on Friday 56-2.  

    Nick McIntosh returned a Powell kickoff behind Ty Sheets and Jacob Hull – h/t Randy Tucker

    “I have to watch Cody. I know they’re going to be good,” Lenhardt said. “These first four games we’re going to be tested to the nines.”

    After Cody, Riverton is on the road at Star Valley and Evanston the following two weeks.

    Riverton 7 3 0 14 – 24

    Powell   14 14 7 7 – 42

    First Quarter

    POW – Case Bradish 41-run (Jhett Schwahn kick) 10:14

    RIV    – Nick McIntosh 20-pass from Darrick DeVries (Hunter Saltsgaver kick):46

    POW – Schwahn 41-run (Schwahn kick) :23

    Second Quarter

    POW –  Dawson Griffin 39-pass from Schwahn (Schwahn kick) 8:14

    POW – Zane Graft 4-run (Schwahn kick) 1:19

    RIV    –  Saltsgaver 33-field goal :03

    Third quarter

    POW – Trey Stenerson 19-pass from Schwahn (Schwahn kick) 2:34

    Fourth Quarter

    RIV    – McIntosh 31-pass from DeVries (Saltsgaver kick) 10:52

    RIV – Jordan May 14-pass from DeVries (Saltsgaver kick) 7:18

    POW – Stenerson 13-run (Schwahn kick) 4:32

    You can catch the entire live stream of the game below!


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