At the end of the 1st QTR this game felt like a potential hard-fought battle was incoming when the Panthers thought they may be facing a 6-6 tie following what appeared to be a 13 yard touchdown pass from Gavin Shumway to Delmonico Dukes on a 4th and 10 but an illegal motion penalty called the TD back and forced the Bobcats to go for it on 4th and 15 which they did not convert. Cokeville used that momentum to put another touchdown on the board with an impressive drive that ended with Tanner Hatch touchdown catch from Landon Walker and the script flipped HARD thanks to this momentum swing.
The turnover bug was biting all day long at least biting the Bobcats that is. Gavin Shumway came into the contest against Cokeville as the number 1 passer in the state of Wyoming across all of 2A, averaging 230 yards per game, completing 56% of his passes, and with a TD:INT ratio of 12:7 and he had the top receiver across 2A at his disposal as well as Delmonico Dukes was the only receiver in the state at this level averaging over 100 yards per game but on this day Cokeville had all the answers against the Thermopolis aerial attack.
Shumway went 16 for 48 passing, for just 165 yards, no touchdowns and 4 interceptions, easily the worst game Shumway has played this season in a year where he is looking like the 2A’s top pass-slinger. Dukes was also held well under his season average catching 6 passes for just 79 yards (though his touchdown was called back of course) and he also had 1 fumble on a 4th and 5 play in the 2nd quarter when he caught a pass on a quick post for what appeared to move the sticks but while trying to juke a defender the ball slipped out of his hands and was plucked out of the air by trailing defender Cael Thompson who was hustling from behind the play and then Thompson turned it upfield and ran the ball back inside the Bobcats 20 yard line with a very impressive return of the fumble recovery.
The one Thermopolis player who did exceed his season average and put forth a great performance yesterday was Roedy Farrell who did a little bit of everything but mostly as a receiver proved to be the best offensive weapon for the Bobcats on the day. The Senior carried the ball 8 time for 9 yards (this actually led the team in rushing yards on the day, Cokeville wasn’t allowing anything on the ground), threw a pass on a trick play for a 24 yard completion to Ryan Arends, and of course had 9 catches for 101 yards as a receiver.
The other thing Thermopolis can take away from this game as a positive was the job they did containing the big runs and the big runners for the Panthers. Jack Dayton came into this game as 2A’s top rusher with 205 yards separating him from 2nd place Carter Bradshaw of Lyman. Dayton averaged 133 yards per game coming in but managed just 83 on 17 carries (4.88 yards per rush) yesterday and did add 1 more TD to his season total, overall a good job by the Bobcats defense of containing the top offensive weapon of the Panthers. It was a bit ironic that the biggest story of this game coming in was the top rusher of the state vs the top passer in the state (in 2A) and yet both of them were pretty well contained in the actual game itself.
Tanner Hatch did add 2 more Touchdowns to his total on the year as coming in he had 11 catches but 6 of them for scores and his effencieny got a little better as well after catching 2 balls yesterday for 2 more touchdowns, meaning he could reach double digits for the regular season if he can manage a pair of scores next week in the regular season finale against Lyman.
Another player who added more stats to his impressive season was Justin Moyes who came into the game tied with Jack Dayton for the team lead with 3 interceptions on the season but Dayton would need a really impressive game against Lyman next week to get that lead back after Moyes picked off Shumway twice to put him now at 5 on the year 2 of which he has run back for defensive touchdowns. 5 interceptions also happens to currently be the most in the 2A across Wyoming and puts Justin Moyes in the conversation for 2A defensive player of the year.
Speaking of defense that was the story of this game as a whole, not just pitching a shutout but intercepting 4 passes, and recovering a fumble. Jesus Bencomo also led the team with 1.5 sacks, his first sacks of the season and puts him now just 1 behind Cael Thompson, who also had half of a sack yesterday, for the team lead on the season.
Landon Walker though runs away with this week’s player of the game award, the Cokeville QB and LB went 3 for 7 through the air but 2 of his completions went for touchdowns, he also added 2 more touchdowns on the ground as well as 68 rushing yards to add to his 62 passing yards. Walker would also add the finishing touch on the game with a 5th touchdown which came on defense when he registered his first defensive interception of the season and ran it 55 yards for the pick 6. The 5 touchdown performance surely means he gets the award this particular week and the Panthers may look for a similar scoring barrage from their QB next week as the team has a huge matchup against the Lyman Eagles in a game that will determine who will get the 2 seed in the 2A west heading into the postseason guaranteeing the winner of the game a home game in round 1 of the postseason which could be a huge advantage.
Lyman of course is the defending state champs and will come in off a 6-0 victory over Rich (UT) this week, it will surely be THE game to watch in the 2A next week and you can catch it right here on svinews.com on SVI 3, or listen on the WAVE.