Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors come up short against Broncs, fall 14-7


October 7, 2017


Andrew Edholm pitches the ball during Worland's 14-7 loss to Cody Friday night at Worland High School.

WORLAND - A loss is a loss whether it's by 20 points or seven, but the close losses feel as if they stick with you more, and at times can feel like an extra loss when looking back on the missed opportunities.

The Worland Warrior football team finds themselves in that scenario after Friday's 14-7 homecoming loss to the Cody Broncs, but coach Ryan Utterback is not going to let his team dwell on the defeat. The message after the game was, back to work on Monday.

"I told the guys it's always going to sting when you set a high standard for yourself and you don't reach it, as it should. But Monday we need to roll up our sleeves and be ready to get back at it. We're not done we have a great shot at Evanston and if we come ready to go there's no reason we can't reach our goal to make the playoffs," said Utterback.

Utterback added, "Frankly I hate losing and it's a bummer we couldn't seal the deal tonight, but I was more proud of the kids tonight than last week against Jackson. We were much better and played a great football team in a game that could have went either way."

After falling into a 14-0 hole early into the second quarter, the Warriors (2-4) put together a scoring drive of their own. Sophomore Jaime Luna returned the kickoff 59 yards into Bronc territory, from there the Warriors marched toward the end zone. Freshman Luke Goncalves on fourth-and-four turned in a big run for his team getting the first down and bringing the ball to the Broncs 23.

Once in the redzone the Warriors took Broncs territory little by little until junior quarterback Andrew Edholm kept his legs churning, rolling off Cody defenders and reaching across the goal line with the ball for a five-yard touchdown, giving Worland their first score and bringing them within one possession at 14-7 with 48.19 seconds remaining in the game.

In the second half the Warriors put up a goal line stand after a couple big plays by the Broncs (3-3) brought them into WHS territory. Worland forced a field goal from around the 14-yardline but the Cody kicker sent it wide left.

On Worland's seventh series of the game, which went from the third quarter into the fourth, they were able to march into Cody territory and bring the ball to the Broncs 14, but the drive stalled out. The Warriors went for the field goal attempt to make it 14-10, but missed, giving the ball to the Broncs.

While dejected the Worland defense buckled down to hold Cody to a three-and-out with around nine minutes left to play. However, a roughing the passer penalty on Worland extended the drive for the Broncs, who were able bring the ball to the WHS 9 with 4:35 left on the clock before turning the ball over on downs.

With one last series left to tie or win the game, clinching a playoff spot, the Warriors went right at Cody. After picking up one first down Worland had a negative play and a positive play to bring up a pivotal fourth-and-seven. Rolling out to his right Edholm found Luna streaking across the field, but as the sophomore back was transferring the ball to hit the jets with all the green in front of him, it slipped out of his hands and hit the ground, turning the ball over to the Broncs, who ran out the clock.

"You look at those last couple of series, we stop [Cody] on third down but have a penalty that allows to them to keep driving. They march and march down the field, we get a defensive stand and have a last chance to try and win the game. I think that's just a good illustration of the fight in these kids and I am super proud of them for fighting to the end," said Utterback.

While the Warriors fell Friday night, one positive to takeaway was the play of their reserve underclassmen who spelled for some of the injured upperclassmen and played well, never backing down from the moment.

"We've got some older guys battling out there and taking on the wear and tear. Then we have some young guys that are getting out there and bear the brunt of it and they're doing a heck of a job stepping up to the plate. It's going to make them that much better down the line. Some of these kids like Luke Goncalves, Rudy Sanford, Luke Mortimer, and all those young guys getting in there is going to make them that much better. They weren't intimidated, they were stepping up, making plays and weren't backing down at all. That's exciting to see those young kids do that," said Utterback.

The loss to the Broncs sets next week's final home game against the Evanston Red Devils as a win-and-you're-in game for the final playoff spot out of the 3A West.

Utterback expects the game to be every bit as competitive as last night's game, and if the Warriors are able to makes a few more plays they will be able to achieve their season goal of making the 3A playoffs.

"We've seen them a little bit and we like that matchup. On the field it's going to be evenly matched, I anticipate a game much like [Friday's] and it's going to come down to who brings a high intensity and makes the least amount of mistakes, or the best combination of the two. We still have to weather some injuries but, if we come out like we did tonight, and with a few changes, I think we're going to be the team to come out on top," said Utterback.

Kickoff between the Warriors and Red Devils will be at 6 p.m., the game will also be senior night for Worland.


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