Wolves fight in season opener against the Buffalos
August 31, 2023
With a new head coach, an almost completely new staff, a lot of new faces on the new turf field, and a new player at the key quarterback spot, the Wolves kicked off their 2023 football season.
The Green River High School football team was up against the always-tough Mountain View Buffalos, who are ranked third in 2A. An unusual starting time and day marked the first game of the season as the two teams faced off on a beautiful Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Wolves Stadium. A good crowd of supporters for both teams showed up for the game.
Mountain View kicked off to Green River to start the contest. The Wolves' deep back senior Caden Steen got behind some good blocking, returning the ball to the 28 yard line to give the Wolves a good field position to start the game. Green River's first offensive play was a preview of things to come as the defense sacked first year quarterback Sophomore Max Hintz for a loss. The Wolves had two holding penalties trying to keep the obviously bigger Mountain View defense out of Green River's backfield, and the Wolves had to punt the ball to the Buffalos. Green River's punter got off a short punt and Mountain View took over in good field position. The Buffalos quickly moved to Green River's eleven yard line, but the Wolves came up with some big defense of their own. Mountain View punted the ball back to the Wolves, who ran three offensive plays and had to punt once again. The Buffalos were moving the ball through the air and on the ground, churning up yards, but the Wolves' defense came up with a big pass interception by Senior Adrian Ruiz, and the first quarter of the new era ended in a 0-0 score.
After Green Rivers' offense stalled once more, it appeared the bigger Buffalos were starting to assert themselves as they got several solid runs. But the Wolves' defense again came up big with a tackle and fumble recovery to stop the drive. Hintz then made a good run, and after a horse collar tackle penalty the Wolves were on the move. However, Mountain View playing some good defense stopped the Wolves again and forced a punt.
Mountain View again moved the ball on offense but incurred multiple penalties on the drive before committing another turnover when Senior Christian Lee recovered a fumble on the punt. Green River could not get their offense fired up as Mountain View continued their pressure defense. The Buffalos finally ran and passed for solid gains before completing a pass for the first score of the game to take a 7-0 lead. The Wolves got the ball back and went nowhere before Mountain View got a quick score before halftime to take a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
The Wolves were only able to mount 24 yards of offense in the first half and had to kick off to Mountain View to start the second half. The Buffalos got an excellent return of the kickoff from the 13 yard line to the 44, with a game-saving tackle there by Christian Lee. This time the Wolves' defense, led by Herwaldt, Hudson, and Ruiz, among others, stopped Mountain View and mounted their first extended drive before several holding penalties against the Wolves killed the drive. Mountain View again moved the ball, but big plays by Axel Mackinnon and Garrett Smith stopped the Buffalos. The Wolves finally got their offense moving in the second half with some big plays by senior Jaxxon Gomez, including a 38-yard catch and run before Axel Mackinon took it in for the Wolves' first score of the season. With the P.A.T. kick good, the Wolves had closed the gap to 14-7.
The Wolves' defense, however, was unable to stop Mountain View, who struck quickly on their next series to widen their lead with a short shovel pass for a 21 -7 lead. The Wolves played much better offense in the second half, as Hintz completed passes to several receivers, but time ran out as the Wolves looked like they were about to score.
After the game, new Head Coach Blaine Christensen commented that "as a competitor you always want to win," but he saw a number of areas to be pleased about and overall he was proud of how his team competed right to the end. The Coach felt his defense played well but the offense was disappointing until the fourth quarter. The offense gained 24 yards in the first half but 170 yards in the second half. Their new quarterback completed 13 of 21 passes and seemed to settle down as the game went on. Finally, the Coach felt that their skill positions played well but they would have to work with the line more as they prepare to hit the road for their next game. The Wolves will face off against Lander with a 6 p.m. scheduled start.