Bison stop Panthers in their tracks

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It was a chilly Friday night in Buffalo, as the host Bison and the Powell Panthers squared off in a hard-nosed, defensive battle that saw the visitors come out on the short end of a 7-6 score.

Powell High School’s rushing game couldn’t get any traction early on. The team moved backward on its first drive and a muffed snap on a punt attempt helped lead to Buffalo’s only score.

Taking over at the Panther 10-yard line, Bison quarterback Jon Schultze found an opening on the second play from scrimmage and raced into the end zone from 7 yards out.

Kicker Luke Glassock then hit the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

While the Powell offense was still having trouble finding its footing, the Panther defense, given more favorable field position, laid its claws into the Bison the rest of the way.

“That was just a good old-fashioned smashmouth football game,” Powell head coach Chanler Buck said. “Most of the game was played between the 30-yard lines. We played very well on the defensive side of the ball.”

Just one more scoring opportunity would come for the hosts, which resulted in a missed field goal.

The 7-0 lead was looking larger as the game went into the second half, with the Powell offense still looking to get on track.

Midway through the third, the Panthers made a move. PHS got a defensive stop, fielded a punt and took over on their own 30.

After a short gain by Brekyn Herd on the ground, an incomplete pass was turned into a positive when pass interference was called on Buffalo, moving the ball near midfield.

An 8-yard pass to Kanyon Gann and some short runs moved Powell near the red zone. Quarterback Mason Olsen then broke loose on a 24-yard keeper to get it to the 1 yard line.

Moments later, at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter, Olsen again kept the ball himself and plunged that last yard to put the Panthers on the scoreboard.

The extra point, however, couldn’t be converted and the margin stood at a lone point, 7-6.

The Powell defenders kept the pressure on, stuffing rush attempt after rush attempt.

Through the fourth quarter, the Bison ran 16 times and netted just 28 yards. For the game, five Powell defenders reached double figures in tackles.

Nate MaGill and Brooks Asher each tallied a whopping 20 tackles, followed closely by Max Gallagher’s 19 and 15 each from Eli Briggs and Zach Easum.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Bison defenders proved just as stout against the run.

While Olsen did go 17-for-31 for 104 yards through the air, the Powell running game netted 13 yards on 24 carries for the game.

“We were able to move the ball in the air well, especially in the second half,” Buck said. ”We gave ourselves some opportunities, but we had penalties or turnovers at the wrong times that kept us from putting points on the board.”

And though the Buffalo runners didn’t gain much ground over the final eight minutes, they were able to eat up valuable time on the clock, and not give the Panthers much of a chance for a late score.

Now 0-2 in their first two road games of the season, Powell stays in town this week for its home opener against Riverton.

The Wolverines come in also 0-2, having given up 97 points total in losses to Green River (48-36) and top seed Star Valley (49-7).

“You can’t judge a team too much by their record at this point of the season, as Riverton has started out with as tough a schedule as anybody,” Buck said. “They are very versatile offensively, effective in the air and they run it well too. We’re going to have to modify our defense since this will be the polar opposite of what we just faced.”

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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