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

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors locked in for quarterfinal matchup against No.2-ranked Torrington


October 27, 2017

WORLAND - Making the playoffs for the first time since 2009 will not be enough for the Worland Warriors football team as they prepare for their 3A quarterfinal playoff game against No.1-East seeded Torrington Trailblazers tonight.

"We've already put a lot of work up to this point and have made the playoffs. So why don't we just make a little noise and accomplish some things while we're here? Especially for the seniors, they know this is their last shot and they're excited to be this far and fired up to make as much noise as possible," said WHS football coach Ryan Utterback.

Utterback liked what he saw from the Warriors (4-4) during this week's practice as they put an emphasis on execution on both ends of the ball.

"[Practice] went very well, we ironed a few things out and kids are excited to be in the playoffs, so it's been a good week," said Utterback.

The Trailblazers (7-1) enter the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the 3A. Their single loss this year came on Sept. 8 by the hands of Star Valley (8-0) 38-14. Since that last loss, Torrington has ripped off six straight victories, outscoring their opponents 283-45.

Leaving Torrington with a win is going to be a tall task and the Warriors have to execute their game plan to pull off the upset. Utterback believes his team can put themselves in position to win, but they need to play like they did against Cody and Evanston to do so.

"The biggest thing we have to do is, offensively, take care of the football, move the chains, sustain drives and finish drives with points. Defensively, we have to get some stops, force some turnovers and if we can do those things we should be right there. We also need to limit our turnovers and penalties and win the time of possession. If we play like we did against Cody and Evanston that should put us in a spot at the end where a win is attainable," said Utterback.

Powering the Trailblazers this season has been their balanced offensive attack which is the best offense in 3A, averaging 378.9 yards per game in total offense.

"They rely a lot on the power run and do change it up and pass to keep teams honest. They try to sneak some guys out into areas with open space. They have some good route combinations, and again, for a majority of the game, they'll be trying to pound it with dive and power stuff. But then they'll hit you with the pass and if their quarterback has the time he can get it there," said Utterback.

To negate the Trailblazers advantages on offense, the Warriors will look to generate a pass rush and force a turnover or two.

"We'll need to get a good pass rush and get in his face so he makes mistakes. That was evident in their game against Star Valley, a couple of times he was rushed and throw a few pick sixes. They have a couple of big linemen that we need to be aware of and make adjustments for," said Utterback.

Kickoff between the Warriors and Trailblazers will be at 7 p.m. at Torrington High School.


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