Rangers win first varsity game in five-years in dominant fashion 33-0 over Sweet Grass.
September 23, 2023 | Park County Dugout
By Jeff Schlapp
On a cold, rainy, and blustery night the Park High Rangers showed their brotherhood and solidarity as the stood together and saluted the home crowd on homecoming night, after they beat the Herders of Sweet Grass 33-0. Their first varsity win in five-years.
The Rangers just dominated from the opening kick-off to the end of the game, in every aspect of the game, but after one quarter the two teams were tied 0-0. The Rangers had two great drives but both were killed by pentaly’s.
After starting at their own five-yard line, in the second quarter, the Rangers put together a nine-play drive that featured Tyler Grenier and Ryan Miller just pounding the ball. And finally Magnus Sloth scored on a crowd-thrilling 35-yard dash to the end-zone. Taking a handoff from Miller, Sloth ran into Spencer Ayers, broke free of his tackle and sprinted towards the near sideline and beat Brock Johnson to the corner and had nothing by daylight in front of him.
The extra-point was no good but the Rangers led with 10:32 left in the first half, 6-0.
Neither team could score the rest of the half as the non-stop rain resulted in few pass completions and the Rangers went into the locker room with the lead, slim, but the lead 6-0. It felt like it should have been more the way the Rangers dominated. But they kept being over aggressive and the referees were calling drive-ending penalty’s.
The second-half began the same as the first-half, with the Rangers dominating both sides of the ball. And once again they were able to put together a long-time consuming drive, capped off by a three-yard plunge by senior tailback Tyler Grenier. The two-point conversion was no good so the score, with 5:26 left in the third quarter, stood at 12-0.
The Herders took over on their 20-yard line. You had the feeling that they would either put together a scoring drive, right here and be back in it or be forced to punt and the Rangers would control the clock and let the miserable weather take care of the rest. But Tucker Shepardson had other plans.
The Herders had just picked up a first down, on third and eight, when a closer inspection of the field showed some laundry. Holding was the call, so now it was third and 18-yards from the 10. As Johnson dropped back to pass for the Herders, he scanned his receivers and let fly what looked like a perfect pass out to the flat.
But this is a different Rangers team. Same coach, Nick Coate, same players, but different attitude. Shepardson playing the SAM linebacker position perfectly, anticipated the throw and released off his man and stepped in front. Interception. 20-yards to the endzone. Touchdown Shepardson. The extra-point was good and the Rangers took a 19-0 lead. The crowd was going nuts. Shepardson had taken momentum and put it into the Rangers back pocket, where it would stay the rest of the game.
Freshman, Adam Taitelbaum scored his third-touchdown of the season on a tough five-yard run with 8:38 left, and Sloth was at it again, running through half of the Herders defense, on his way to a 43-yard touchdown run to account for the Rangers final point.
Coach Coate’s team is made up of over half, freshman and sophomores, which makes for a bright future. They played hard and they played smart. And they won! For the first time in five-years they beat a team with varsity players.
Senior quarterback Ryan Miller summed it up for all his teammates after the game.
“This is great,” Miller said. “This feels incredible. All the sweat, hard work and practice we put in. All the games that we played. This is great, and to do it on our home field on homecoming, this is just perfect.”
For many more photos and more great articles, see Jeff’s website, www.parkcountydugout.com