Powell eases by Worland in home opener

Posted 9/9/21

With a suffocating defense and punishing ground game, the Powell High School football team shut down Worland 29-13 in Friday’s home opener at Panther Stadium.

The defense harassed Warrior …

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Powell eases by Worland in home opener


With a suffocating defense and punishing ground game, the Powell High School football team shut down Worland 29-13 in Friday’s home opener at Panther Stadium.

The defense harassed Warrior quarterback Kade Weber all night and limited Worland’s ground attack to only 62 yards in the game. Meanwhile, the Powell offensive line dominated the Warriors, helping Panther running backs to 210 yards on 42 carries for an average of 5 yards a carry. Senior running back Reed Smith led the way with 102 yards on the ground. Powell starting quarterback Jhett Schwahn added 105 yards through the air on 14 attempts and an interception.

“Our defense was very consistent for the full game,” Panther head coach Chase Kistler  said. “They’re starting to kind of settle in and get comfortable.”

Weber was not comfortable, being sacked twice and chased all night.

The defense scored first when Carson Lamb sacked Weber for a safety on the Warriors’ first possession, a little more than two minutes into the first quarter. After Worland kicked off, Powell’s ensuing drive stalled out, ending with a missed field goal try by Hawkin Sweeney with 4:59 left in the first. But Sweeney got a second chance late in the quarter, connecting on a 32-yard attempt.

Powell held Worland to minus 9 rushing yards on five carries in the first quarter.

At the beginning of the second quarter Worland’s Aaron Carver got around the corner for a 56-yard sprint. But Sweeney intercepted a Weber pass on the 3-yard-line two plays later, ending the drive. Powell then moved quickly, scoring on a 5-yard run by Toran Graham with 2:21 left in the second quarter. Sweeney connected on the extra point to give Powell a 12-0 lead.

The Panthers had another scoring chance after once again shutting down Worland and driving the ball on the ground. However, an illegal blocking penalty cost Powell a big pass play, then Sweeney missed a 31-yard field goal attempt.


Second half

Powell scored first in the second half after picking up a Worland fumble and then converting a fourth and 6 on a Toran Graham run to keep the drive moving. Sam Whitlock followed with a 3-yard touchdown with 2:23 left in the third quarter and Sweeney nailed the extra point, extending Powell’s lead to 19-0.

Worland scored less than 30 seconds later on a 45-yard bomb from Weber to Jorey Anderson, but missed the extra point attempt. That made it 19-6 going into the fourth quarter. 

With 10:54 left in the fourth quarter, Aiden Greenwald intercepted a Weber pass. He fumbled the ball, but Sweeny snapped it up and advanced down the field. Worland head coach Patrick Sweeney argued the call and Worland fans protested the play — which happened right in front of the Worland bench — but the call stood. Graham then scored on a 2-yard run with 9:56 left in the game and Hawkin Sweeney’s kick was good, giving Powell a 26-6 lead.

The Panthers weren’t done, either. With 2:52 left in the game, Sweeney came on to attempt a 40-yard field goal, but the Panthers were called for delay of game. After moving the ball back 5 yards, Sweeney was good on the 45-yard attempt, making the score 29-6.

Worland scored late in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard run by Weber, which gave the QB  minus 4 yards rushing on the night. He also threw for 183 yards on the night with two interceptions. Hawkin Sweeney and Zach Ratcliff each collected an interception.

The crowd was festive and happy to see Powell handle their rivals on the home turf. But Kistler said he was a little worried about the crowd going into the game.

“Right before kickoff I looked up there and I didn’t see students in their section. I was like, what’s going on?” he said. 

But just before kickoff, Powell students filled their section along with the PHS band. 

“I was impressed with our crowd,” he said. “They were loud and it was a good environment, including the fireworks.”

The Panthers are on the road against Lander Friday night. Kistler planned to watch film on the team, but the two programs are pretty familiar with each other, he said.

“We’ve played them so many times in the last two years: once during the season, and then both years in the playoffs. They’ll be very good,” the coach said of the Tigers.

Lander has a potent offense, scoring 94 points against their first two opponents. They clobbered Pinedale 51-6 in the zero week game and won their home opener against Green River 43-12 Friday.

Kistler looks forward to getting the team on the road for the second time, following Powell’s zero week win in Riverton.

“I kind of enjoy true road games,” he said. “We actually think about football more on the road — you know, eating meals with each other, talking with each other. Their minds stay focused on the team and the game.”