“We played good, but I didn’t think we played that great,” said Panther head coach Jim Stringer, whose team improved to 5-0 for the season and stands alone as the last unbeaten 3A football program in the state this season. “We did some things well and the kids handled the distractions well, but I think there were a lot of areas where we could have done better, and the kids know that too.”
Powell sits atop the conference standings at 2-0 in 3A West play.
After waiting out the lightning, which drove teams off the field and back into the locker room approximately a half-hour before kickoff, Powell scored all the points it needed on Friday night in the first quarter. Dewey Schwahn’s leaping end zone grab over a Star Valley defender of a Hayden Cragoe pass resulted in a first-quarter touchdown. The Cragoe-Schwahn connection found each other again early in the second quarter as Schwahn took a short bubble screen and outran the Braves’ defense some 25 yards for a score.
“Dewey is a very dynamic player,” said Stringer. “He’s someone you know you can go to when you’re looking for a spark in the game, because you know he’ll go up and make a catch like he did on the first touchdown or that he can break a few tackles if you get him something short. He’s so much fun to watch because he plays the game with such a youthful exuberance. You can see the sheer joy and excitement in every step he takes out there.”
Powell also made deep trips into Star Valley territory late in the first and second halves, but was unable to add additional points to the scoreboard. Despite being held to a season-low for points, the Panthers were never seriously threatened thanks to a stellar effort by the defense, which held an opposing offense without points for the fourth time this fall.
“With Star Valley’s running game, we needed our defensive tackles to play their gaps and occupy blockers,” said Stringer. “If you go back and look at the film, the reason we were able to shut them down as well as we did was because our tackles were consistently being double and, at times, even triple-teamed, and that allowed our linebackers to come running up to make plays.”
The Panthers’ defensive tackle rotation consists of senior Mike Mundy, juniors Dillon Ohman and Garrett Michael and sophomore Riley Stringer.
Benefitting from their play was senior linebacker Vince Sleep, who celebrated homecoming with a season-high 30 defensive points on eight solo tackles, four assisted tackles, a quarterback sack, a pass breakup and a forced fumble. Junior Brendon Phister added a 21-point night defensively with five solo and four assisted tackles, along with a pass breakup and forced fumble.
The Panthers’ defense held Star Valley to just 142 total yards in the game, broken evenly between rushing and passing. Powell also forced four turnovers from the visiting Braves.
For Powell, the Panthers finished with 325 yards of offense. Powell rushed for 214 yards and added another 111 passing yards. The Panthers’ only turnover came early in the contest as Star Valley intercepted a pass that was initially tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Cory Heny finished with 92 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Heny also pulled in four receptions for 63 yards. Schwahn finished with 42 receiving yards as both of his receptions went for scores in the game. Cragoe completed eight of his 15 throwing attempts in the game.
Powell (5-0 overall, 2-0 in 3A West), hits the road this week, traveling to Worland (2-3, 0-2). The Warriors fell to Green River on Friday night by a 48-13 final count.