By: Shawn O’Brate
BUFFALO – The Riverton Wolverines traveled to Buffalo this past weekend for their first of two away games to conclude the 2022 season. Bison players looked to the game with glee as it was not only their Senior Night, but also their Homecoming game as well.
The game would start poorly for the Wolverines as the first snap from scrimmage was too high for the quarterback to grab, leading to a fumble recovered by the Bison on the Wolverines’ eight-yard line.
Within 51 seconds the Bison would score the first touchdown of the game, and almost immediately they would score again making it 12-0 before the eight-minute mark of the first quarter. The Bison would do the same thing over and over until the score read 26-0 with just over three minutes to go in the first half.
That’s when freshman quarterback Blake Gantenbein, who was in his first start of the season, threw a 32-yard touchdown to former QB Nathan Hutchison. Hutchison’s yards after the catch included multiple missed tackles and a Bison defender dragged into the end zone behind him, which made the score 26-7.
Buffalo would not go into the half lying down after that though. The Bison would find the end zone one more time before teams exited the field, making the score 33-7 entering the half.
After halftime the Bison would score thirteen more points before the Wolverines made their mark once again, this time on a 20-yard catch by Hutchison with countless broken tackles on the way to a 46-14 score.
“Blake did a good job of getting me the ball early and they had me singled up so I pretty much just had one guy to beat then, yeah, I stiff armed a few guys down at the ten yard line,” Hutchison said after the game on WyoToday’s postgame show. “After the catch I like running around.”
Finally, a few minutes later, the Wolverines would find another touchdown after Gantenbein took the snap and ran in for a short score.
The final would end up being 53-21 in favor of Buffalo as the Wolverines dropped to 1-7 on the season and 1-3 in conference play. Meanwhile, Buffalo improved to 4-3 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.
Head Coach Troy Anderson stated after the game that throwing Gantenbein in at quarterback was a calculated decision. He also said that it allowed his playmakers like Hutchison more freedom and ability to make plays, which he definitely did.
“We want to get our playmakers like Nate in space,” Coach Anderson said. “It’s a risky move to take a kid like Blake, a freshman, and put him in that spot but … we kind of knew that it was something he would be able to possess. After watching him in the Summer and in workouts … you can see this kid needs to be on the field.”
Overall, the team had some ideas on how they can turn their final week of the season into something with a winning upside at the end.
“I think we were a little on our heels today defensively, we just can’t think. We need to react, flow to the ball, play physical, play fast and play hard,” Hutchison said after the game. “We didn’t really start playing hard till the second quarter, second half really too. We just need to control what we can control.”
Up next for Riverton they travel to Worland to finish their season and try to sneak into the playoffs with, possibly, their third quarterback of the season leading them into the postseason.