An end-to-end game came down to the final minutes at Panther Stadium on Friday night, where the Powell Panthers won a historic 3A West Conference title despite losing a grueling shootout 6-5 to Green …
An end-to-end game came down to the final minutes at Panther Stadium on Friday night, where the Powell Panthers won a historic 3A West Conference title despite losing a grueling shootout 6-5 to Green River after a 2-2 scoreline after regulation.
GREEN RIVER 2 (6), POWELL 2 (5)
The conference title was on the line Friday night, and the Panthers (10-3 overall, 10-2 3A West) went to battle with the visiting Wolves (10-2 overall, 10-2 3A West).
Green River got a significant wind advantage at its back in the first half, dictating the play throughout the first half.
Powell created a few chances in front of goal early, but it was the Wolves who got on the board first.
A free kick 12 minutes into the game from 25 yards out curled into the top corner to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
“The game plan was to have the wind at our backs the first half, but plans change,” coach David Gilliatt said. “Going into the wind, the plan was to hold them as close as we can.”
The rest of the half the Panthers continued to try and hold off the Wolves and find attacking options moving forward, but found difficulty going into the wind.
Powell was able to hold off any more scoring chances from Green River, heading into the half trailing 1-0.
In the second half with the wind at their backs the Panthers found more attacking opportunities.
Several free kick opportunities were unable to find the net for Powell, until another free kick came for Chance Franks with 22 minutes left.
His free kick from 31 yards out found the back of the net and the Panthers tied the game 1-1.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, two minutes later Green River got a free kick just outside the 18-yard box.
The ball found its way through the crowd and between keeper Holden Cooper’s legs to give Green River the lead again at 2-1.
“I think the second free kick we could have had one more person in the wall,” Gilliatt said.
Over the last 20 minutes the Panthers continued to press, but seemed unable to find an answer to tie the game.
A ball near midfield was won by Powell and found its way to Franks, who flicked the ball forward to Cameron Carpenter.
Carpenter hit the ball on a first time shot from 20 yards out, hitting it across the goal and past the keeper to tie the game 2-2.
Neither team found a winner, and the two teams went to a shootout — the second for the Panthers this season.
Powell went first and Rem DeVries scored, but Green River answered to tie it 1-1.
Will Jackson stepped up and scored his, and Cooper dove to his left to save the next shot to give Powell a 2-1 advantage.
Franks scored, but Green River answered to make it 3-2.
Parker Williams scored the fourth and the Wolves answered to set up an important fifth round.
Steven Stambaugh’s shot was saved and Green River scored to send the game to sudden death penalties.
Colton Brewer scored the sixth penalty but Green River answered.
Morgan Hobbs’ shot went over the frame of the goal and Green River scored to walk away with the victory.
Despite the loss the Panthers locked up the 3A West title after earning a point for a tie in regulation.
That put them one point in the standings ahead of both Green River and Cody, securing the first 3A West Conference title for Powell.
“It’s monumental for the program, we have had a lot of second places,” Gilliatt said. “To get first place is monumental and it’s a big moment. I think this takes the pressure off us to win something at state. We won something and we accomplished first place in something that matters and now it clears the pressure for us, I don’t know how to describe it.”
Class 3A changed to a conference schedule as opposed to quadrants after the 2018 season — the Panthers had finished second each of the three seasons prior.
Powell now heads to Green River for the state tournament, kicking off the tournament as a top seed for the first time since 2014 when the Panthers won the Northwest Quadrant.
The Panthers will take on east No. 4 seed Douglas (5-7 overall, 4-6 3A East) at 4 p.m. at Green River High School.
“Douglas seems like the most consistent performer in the east outside of Worland,” Gilliatt said. “The only game they have lost by more than one or two I think is to a Nebraska team, otherwise they keep it pretty tight which means they are mentally tough and probably play a lower block and will pack it in defensively.”
If Powell wins that game they will take on the winner of the east No. 2 seed Torrington (7-5 overall, 6-4 3A East) and west No. 3 seed Green River. If Powell loses it will drop to the consolation bracket and play the loser of Torrington and Green River on Friday at 11 a.m. at Lincoln Middle School.
The Wolves dropped to the three seed after losing tiebreakers to Cody due to conceding more goals during conference play.
In the postseason if the score is tied after regulation the teams will go to two 10 minute extra time periods before advancing to shots from the mark.
All games in Green River, games on Thursday are at Green River High School, games on Friday are at Lincoln Middle School, games on Saturday are at both locations dependent on results.
G1: No. 2W Cody vs. No. 3E Buffalo at 9 a.m.
G2: No. 1E Worland vs. No. 4W Lander at 11 a.m.
G3: No. 2E Torrington vs. No. 3W Green River at 2 p.m.
G4: No. 1W Powell vs. No. 4E Douglas at 4 p.m.
G8: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 at 9 a.m. (loser out)
G9: Lost G3 vs. Loser G4 at 11 a.m. (loser out)
G5: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 at 2 p.m.
G6: Winner G3 vs. Winner G4 at 4 p.m.
Consolation final: Winner G8 vs. Winner G9 at 9 a.m. at GRHS
Third place: Loser G5 vs. Loser G6 at 11 a.m. at LMS
Championship: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6 at 3 p.m. at LMS