BIG PINEY – Showing no mercy, the Punchers trounced the rival Wranglers and secured the county trophy for a fifth year on Friday, Sept. 17. Eager Homecoming crowds packed the Puncher stadium and lined the field with red and white proudly on display.
The first half turned into a rout of Pinedale when Big Piney scored three touchdowns and the Puncher defense formed an unbreakable wall.
Big Piney extended the lead in the second half with a fourth touchdown. Pinedale struggled to make progress against an invincible Puncher defensive line.
When the final buzzer sounded, the score stood at 28-0 in Big Piney’s favor.
“This was the first home game of the year, Homecoming and our county rival all in one,” said head coach Ryan Visser. “We had a little anxiety wondering how the kids were going to come out. But the team really calmed down and we played a good, solid first half. Second half got a little uncharacteristic of us, but we set the tone and put the game away early in the first half.”
The coaching staff alternated quarterbacks for the first time.
“Dalton Bell and Thomas Barron both did really well running the offensive,” Visser added. “We’ve got a stable of running backs and I thought they all ran really hard. Jovany Munoz, Jaspur Brower and Thomas Howard – most of them have never played running back before. Obviously, you have to give a shoutout to the whole defense.”
Big Piney shut down Pinedale’s first drive. Senior Seth Stoutenburg and Barron both pulled off tackles. Senior Brayden Hymas took down Pinedale’s running back for a loss of yards.
Big Piney scored on its first drive. Bell, playing quarterback, carried the ball down the field on the first play. Munoz, Howard and Brower relentlessly pushed the line of scrimmage into Wrangler territory.
Munoz caught a handoff and ran into the end zone. A perfect kick by senior Jafet Martinez brought the score to 7-0 in Big Piney’s favor.
Reuben Stoutenburg, senior Koy Walton, Hymas and Seth Stoutenburg pummeled the Wrangler offense on its second drive. Munoz dove in and sacked the quarterback, forcing Pinedale to punt.
Munoz, Walton and Howard ate up yards as the first quarter came to a close. The second quarter opened with Big Piney only yards away from the end zone. Bell tucked the ball, broke a tackle and shot into the end zone for a touchdown. Martinez kicked in the extra point. The Punchers led, 14-0.
Seth Stoutenburg and seniors Dustin Martin and Karson Cline kept the Wranglers from advancing on their first drive in the second quarter.
Brower caught Pinedale’s punt at the 17-yard line and raced to the 43-yard line for a first down. Bell completed passes to Walton and sophomore Karsyn Gurr.
Dodging the Wranglers’ defensive line, Bell dropped back and sent the ball flying to Walton waiting in the end zone. Martinez cleared the goalposts for an extra point.
Brower and junior Brandon Jones joined the Puncher defensive line in stopping Pinedale’s next drive.
Barron took over as quarterback in the remaining seconds of the first half. He completed two passes to Walton and senior Dom Snively before the buzzer sounded.
Big Piney led at halftime, 21-0.
Barron continued as quarterback in the third quarter, handing the ball off to senior Jaron Petty for a first down. Howard, Bell and Brower ran the ball into Wrangler territory. Howard bulldozed the remaining 5 yards straight into the end zone for the Puncher’s fourth touchdown. Martinez landed another perfect kick.
A tackle by Brower and Munoz for no gain forced Pinedale to turn over possession in its first drive of the third quarter. Hymas and senior Matthew Evans sacked Pinedale’s quarterback at the line of scrimmage, ending the Wranglers’ second drive.
Junior Hampton Jones got in on the Puncher defensive action in the fourth quarter with a tackle. Klein and Brower led the Big Piney defense in sacks on Pinedale’s second drive in the fourth quarter.
The game ended with Munoz, Seth Stoutenburg and Hymas pulling off a sack.
“I want to thank the community,” coach Visser said. “Homecoming is a huge deal here, and having a lot of people show up creates a great atmosphere and the kids love it.”