GREEN RIVER — For a Zero Week clash, the 3A Green River Wolves squared off against the 2A Mountain View Buffalos, bringing an intense interclass matchup to the gridiron. The final score of 21-7 in favor of the Mountain View Buffalos reflected their prowess on both sides of the ball, making a strong opening statement for the season ahead.
A clash of emerging young quarterbacks added an intriguing layer to the spectacle. Sophomore quarterbacks Justus Platts of Mountain View and Max Hintz of Green River both made their first starts, signaling a new era of talent and potential in their respective teams.
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Platts took control of the game for Mountain View, connecting on 7 of 16 passes for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. His command in the pocket and ability to create plays on the run kept the Green River defense on their toes. Platts also showcased his versatility with 9 rushes for 60 yards, proving to be a dual-threat quarterback who can impact the game both through the air and on the ground.
On the opposing side, Hintz displayed steady progression throughout the game for Green River. The sophomore QB exhibited confidence in the pocket, completing 13 of 21 passes for an impressive 147 yards. His decision-making and accuracy bode well for his future performances, as he managed to avoid any turnovers against a formidable Mountain View defense. Hintz also contributed 7 yards on the ground, effectively using his mobility to extend plays and gain crucial yardage.
The Mountain View defense emerged as a dominant force, limiting the Green River rushing attack to a mere 26 yards on 21 carries. Their ability to stifle the run game put the pressure on Green River’s passing game. The Buffalos capitalized on this advantage, forcing the Wolves into unfavorable third-down situations. Green River struggled on third downs, converting only 4 of 14 attempts, while also managing a 1-for-2 conversion rate on fourth downs.
While Green River faced challenges, there were bright spots that hinted at their potential for growth throughout the season. Speedy halfback Jaxxson Gomez ignited the offense in the fourth quarter, utilizing his agility and elusiveness to make key plays in the passing game. Gomez’s five receptions for 87 yards injected momentum into the Wolves’ offense, indicating a strong connection with quarterback Hintz.
Klepper’s Game Ball 🏈
Axel Mackinnon, the standout performer for Green River, earned the prestigious Klepper game ball for his impactful contributions.
Mackinnon’s versatility was on full display, recording 2 receptions for 39 yards, 2 rushes for 6 yards, and scrambling in the lone touchdown for the Wolves on what looked to be a designed passing play for Axel
In addition to his offensive prowess, Mackinnon’s defensive skills at the corner position were highlighted by several touchdown saving tackles and pass breakups.
The matchup also unveiled areas for improvement for the Wolves. The struggles in the run game were exacerbated by holding penalties that hindered both the rushing and passing attacks. The importance of effective blocking cannot be understated, especially against a physically imposing opponent like Mountain View.
The game also provided a crucial lesson for Green River: speed is a game-changer. When the Wolves managed to get their speed-oriented playmakers into open space, they presented a challenge that the Buffalos had difficulty containing and it showed with the 149 yards for the Wolves’ offense in the second half. A major improvement from the 24 yard total in the first half. This realization could shape Green River’s offensive strategy moving forward.
As the final whistle echoed through Wolves Stadium, Mountain View Buffalos’ head coach Brent Walk emerged victorious in his coaching duel against Green River’s Coach Blaine Christensen, who made his head coaching debut for his alma mater. With a promising season ahead, the Green River Wolves will look to learn from this challenge, improve their blocking and execution, and build a new culture under Coach Christensen’s leadership. The journey has just begun, and football enthusiasts can anticipate an exciting year of growth and development for the Wolves.