Powell Wins 2nd-Straight 3A Football Title with 13-10 Win Over Star Valley [PHOTOS]
The Powell Panthers are Class 3A State Football Champions for the second year in a row after defeating the Star Valley Braves, 13-10, at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo. on Friday.
Powell found themselves trailing for the first time this season after Braves senior Ryan Brough rushed into the end zone with just under a minute left before halftime. With the touchdown, Brough set the Star Valley record for touchdowns in a season and put his team up 10-6 heading into the locker room.
Talking to his team during halftime, Powell Coach Jim Stringer told his team it was a one-possession game and that if they could put a touchdown on the board, they'd have a good chance of winning it. That touchdown didn't happen until there was just 5:35 left on the clock when Hayden Cragoe completed a 9-yd pass to Dewey Schwahn in the end zone. With the adjustments Powell had made on defense, it was enough to hold for the title.
"We had a couple of guys that were actually out of alignment, even based on our own scheme, we had some guys that were out of alignment in the first half and we recognized that and got them back in touch with what they were supposed to be doing." said Coach Stringer. "We did make a couple of adjustments based on the formations we saw and some tendencies we saw. Aside from that, we also just kind of challenged the kids to step back up and play a little better defense like we're used to. We weren't flying around the field and nearly as aggressive in the first half as we're used to and we came back and did that a little better in the second half."
In the defensive struggle, Powell had two players finish with double-digits in tackles. Anthony Lujan tallied 16 total tackles while Cory Heny had 10 tackles in addition to the 82 yards he carried the ball on offense.
The Panthers finished with 301 yards of total offense, of which 249 yards came on the ground, mostly from Vince Sleep. Sleep had 18 carries for 131 yards and 1 touchdown, averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
"I'll tell you what, Vince Sleep knows how to truck people over," said Schwahn about his teammate. "He's got legs like tree trunks."
Star Valley had 315 total yards of offense, with 175 passing yards and 140 rushing yards.
"This game we knew they wanted something and we knew we wanted it just as much, but we knew it was going to be a lot harder because there's a trophy at the line," commented Schwahn after the game about the Braves. "They played good and props to their team."
When it comes to winning two straight state titles, Schwan said, "Words can't come out of my mouth to explain it. It's amazing and there's no better feeling than this."