Green River Star -

By Pete Rust

Wolves football season ends with Powell

Top defensive team shuts down Wolves offense to end Green River’s season


Not surprisingly, with two of the top defenses in 3A football on the field the first half was a defensive battle.

The Wolves were led on defense by Seniors Gabe Bunderman, Blake Waite, James Bunderman and Hunter Spartz, with the entire defense playing well in the first half.

The Wolves started the game on offense and was stopped by Powell with three plays and out on nearly every offensive series of the first half but their defense still provided them with several chances to score.

On Powell’s very first offensive series, they tried to fool Green River on a fake punt, but Gabe Bunderman made a big play with a 13-yard tackle for a loss with the Wolves second offensive series ending as the first one did with three plays and out with the offense just not able to capitalize on Powell’s first turnover. Green River then punted to Powell’s outstanding back, former Green River resident T.J. Abraham, certainly a candidate for the 3A Offensive Player of the Year, who returned the punt 64 yards before being run down from behind, on an outstanding hustle play by Green River’s big defensive end Hunter Spartz.

On the very next play Green River recovered a fumble, but again the offense was shut down by Powell’s swarming defense and went three plays and out without being able to take advantage of Powell’s second turnover of the first quarter.

On Powell’s next series Green River’s defense showed their toughness on a tackle on Abraham for a loss on the first play by junior Nick Boldt followed by his third interception in two State playoff games by senior James Bunderman.

The Wolves were able to move the ball inside the one yard line on some tough running by junior Candon Croft on four consecutive carries but they were not able to cross the goal line and had to turn the ball back to Powell without scoring on Powell’s second turnover of the first quarter.

Both teams continued to play outstanding defense and Powell missed on their first big scoring opportunity when they missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.

However, on the very first offensive play from scrimmage on Green River’s next possession, T.J. Abraham intercepted a pass from Hofer to senior receiver Taylor Thornton and took the ball in from 20 yards out for the first score of the game and the Panthers were up 7-0 after the PAT kick was good.

Green River’s offense again was stopped by Powell on three downs and had to punt. On the next series the Wolves’ defense asserted itself once more as Hunter Spartz pressured Powell’s quarterback to help cause another fine defensive play by Candon Croft who got the interception for the third turnover of the first half caused by the Wolves defense. The Wolves offense ran six plays, ending in a 20-yard field goal by Chance Hofer to bring the score to 7-3.

The first two series of the second half was more of the same for both teams but on Powell’s second position of the half Abraham got untracked and after the series started with a 5-yard off sides penalty against the Wolves. Abraham ran the ball on three consecutive plays for 31 yards before Olsen got a big 24-yard pass completion and two more short runs by Abraham, before the quarterback Olsen took the ball in for the final yard to score Powell’s second touchdown of the game. Gabe Bunderman blocked the extra point and the Powell Panthers were up 13-3.

Green River and Powell once again exchanged series with no scoring. Green River had one big pass completion to Cole White on the next series for 43 yards but were stopped by Powell’s defense.

Abraham ran for 55 yards on three carries in Powell’s next series but the Wolves defense stiffened and Powell had to punt. Green River got in four plays on their offensive series, but had to punt the ball back to the Panthers.

It took Powell just four plays despite one play made by Blake Waite for a 7-yard loss. Abraham had a 31-yard pass reception and carried the ball twice including a 19-yard run for a touchdown to move the score to 20-3 in favor on the Panthers.

Senior return specialist Kolby Kester gave the Wolves excellent field position to start their next drive as he returned the kickoff 50 yards but the Wolves were running out of time. The Wolves however took the ball in for a score when Cole White caught a pass from Hofer for 3 yards and a touchdown for a 20-10 score.

Powell got the final score of the game on a heavy dose of Abraham runs, finally scoring on a 23-yard pass play to end the game at 27-10.

Green River’s inability to capitalize off the Panthers first half turnovers was key to the Powell victory along with the outstanding individual performance of Abraham who accounted for over 300 all purpose yards and a dominating performance by the Powell defense.

Green River ends the season with a very respectable 8-2 record but falls short of their season long goal to return to the championship game.

The Wolves will graduate 15 seniors from this very good team. Several of those seniors had excellent seasons and will doubtless be in contention for post season all conference and all State along with some underclassmen.

Powell, who also finished the season at 8-2, will take on the Star Valley Braves in the State Championship game.


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