Star valley braves pummel Panthers 36-0

No. 1 Star Valley grinds out impressive win against Powell

Posted 10/8/19

If only the game were as pretty as the drive to get there.

The Powell High School football team loaded the bus early Friday morning for the scenic trip to Afton, traveling by way of Yellowstone …

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Star valley braves pummel Panthers 36-0

No. 1 Star Valley grinds out impressive win against Powell

Posted

If only the game were as pretty as the drive to get there.

The Powell High School football team loaded the bus early Friday morning for the scenic trip to Afton, traveling by way of Yellowstone Park for an afternoon contest against No. 1 Star Valley.

The Braves celebrated their homecoming by scoring early and often, racking up over 350 yards of total offense in a 36-0 dismantling of the No. 5 team in 3A.

“We were outmatched today, Star Valley did a really good job executing their game plan and we didn’t respond,” said PHS head coach Aaron Papich. “We’ve got a lot of things to work on this week, but we’re going to stay positive and just try to improve and plan for Cody.”

Star Valley took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards for a score in just over a minute, led by a 47-yard touchdown run by running back Dean Shaw. Shaw would go on to score twice more in the first half, as the Panthers’ defense was unable to find an answer for the athletic senior.

“Our defense cares a lot, and I think at times they were trying to do too much, which can sometimes get you into trouble,” Papich said. “Shaw is an athletic kid, he had a really good game for them.”

A shell-shocked Panther squad began their first drive with a 16-yard scamper by tailback Brody Karhu to move the chains. The once-promising drive quickly stalled, however, and the Braves were back in business on their own 44-yard line.

Powell settled in defensively on Star Valley’s second possession, and on a second-and-12, defensive lineman Lane Shramek broke through the line to wrestle down quarterback Brant Nelson for a huge sack. But just as the Panthers seemed to gain some momentum, a late flag away from the play nullified the sack, as Shramek was called for a 15-yard facemask. What would have been a third-and-long became a second-and-2 for the Braves, as the home team drove down for their second score of the contest, a 14-yard touchdown run by Shaw. Shaw scored for the third time with 3:26 left in the half, catching a short wheel route from Nelson and taking it 31 yards to the house.

“Shramek did everything in his power to make a play, and he did,” Papich said of the sack. “But football is about momentum, and there are things we just don’t have control over. When those things happen, we have to stay positive and respond above the line. It was hard for us to come back after that, but that’s something we have to be able to do if we want to be a really good team.”

With momentum shifted fully back to the Braves, Powell struggled to find its footing on offense. Things finally began to click in the second quarter, as the Panthers drove down into Star Valley territory, eventually reaching the 10-yard line. That was as close as Powell would get, however, as a field goal attempt by Hawkin Sweeney was partially blocked.

On the Panthers’ next possession, quarterback Landon Lengfelder connected with his favorite target Jesse Trotter on a circus catch for 32 yards, and Powell again appeared to be on the move. The Braves’ defense proved stingy, sacking Lengfelder on the very next play, then holding Powell on a fourth-and-15 to get the ball back. Star Valley’s Chase Merrell booted a 51-yard field goal as time expired in the half, giving the Braves a 24-0 halftime lead. It was the longest field goal in the state this season.

Lengfelder had a solid first half through the air, completing five of eight passes for 58 yards, including one-handed grabs by Trotter and Carson Olsen for 32 and 16 yards, respectively. Panther defensive back Garrett Stutzman had an interception in the first half.

The Braves continued to move the ball well in the second half, scoring twice on a pair of touchdown catches by Merrell to close out the 36-0 win. Powell moved the ball well in the fourth quarter, driving down to the Braves’ 26-yard line behind runs by Karhu and Kadden Abraham. The drive stalled after Abraham lost the handle at the 19-yard line, giving the ball back to Star Valley with four minutes to play.

Star Valley finished the game with 424 total yards of offense, 276 rushing and 122 yards through the air. The Panthers finished with 200 total yards, including 106 yards on the ground.

Karhu was the Panthers’ leading rusher with 47 yards on nine carries. Lengfelder finished with 24 yards on 10 carries, while Toran Graham had 18 yards on four carries.

Lengfelder completed six of 13 passes for 59 yards and a pick; Trotter had one catch for 32 yards, while Olsen finished with two catches for 24 yards.

Adrian Geller led the team with 14.5 defensive points, followed by 10 from Olsen and 7.5 from Graham.

The Panthers are on the road again this week, though they won’t have far to travel, as they renew their cross-county rivalry with the No. 2 Cody Broncs. Papich said the team will focus on the fundamentals this week in practice with an eye toward an upset.

“We know if we can do the little things at a high level, we’ll have a good chance,” he said. “I’m not going to take anything away from Star Valley, I know our guys will be ready this week. We’re competitive, and we have some really tough kids. With these last three weeks ahead of us in the regular season, I’m very optimistic and excited.”

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