AFTON – The Torrington Trailblazers fell behind early on the road against Star Valley, the two-time defending state champions, on Friday and failed to mount a comeback, losing 38-14.
“Obviously, Star Valley is not the top team in the state and two-time defending champions for nothing,” coach Mark Lenhardt said. “They’re a very good team.”
The Braves picked up two defensive touchdowns to open the game, with two pick-sixes coming from Peyton Erickson, handing the Blazers a 14-0 deficit with 8:12 to go in the first. The game mellowed out after the first two scores and the weather played in, with a delay due to lightning.
Star Valley scored a field goal in the second quarter, before Torrington got on the board. Breyden Bivens linked up with Nathan Stitt for a 43-yard completion, putting the score at 17-7, which was the score at intermission.
After the break, the Braves started piling on the points, scoring 21 unanswered points, upping their lead to 38-7. Torrington continued to fight through to the final whistle, scoring a touchdown on another link up between Bivens and Stitt, this one for 35 yards.
“This game can be a great thing for us. It’s something we can grow from and get better,” Lenhardt said. “Going out and playing a good team was the best thing for us right now.”
Despite hauling in two touchdowns on five receptions for 108 yards, Stitt was not Biven’s top target. Bryan Lemmon hauled in six catches for 45 yards. Bo Moorehouse and Lathen Canaday combined to come down with six catches for 60 yards. Bivens finished the night going 19-for-37 for 228 yards with two touchdowns, but four interceptions.
In the backfield, Lemmon toted the rock 19 times for 45 yards. Josh Posten racked up 33 yards on seven carries, while Bivens accounted for 10 yards on the ground on six carries.
The Blazers amassed 329 total yards, with 228 coming through the air and 103 coming on the ground.
“We knew coming in that it would be a tall task against them,” Lenhardt said. “We were hoping to use our screen and quick passing game as an extension of our running game.”
Lemmon carried his successful game from offense to defense, racking up 17 defensive points, with five solo tackles, four assisted tackles and a tackle for loss. Posten also had double-digit defensive points, with 10, accounting for four unassisted tackles and two assisted tackles.
Braden Mechum and Scott Woodruff accounted for the other two tackles for loss for the Blazers. Woodruff and Josh Kingsley combined for 16 defensive points on six solo tackles, an assisted tackle and Woodruff’s tackle for loss.
“This game wasn’t as much about X’s and O’s,” Lenhardt said. “They played harder than we did and they just flat out beat us and that’s a hard pill to swallow.”
With the road loss, the Blazers dropped to 1-1 on the season. They hit the road for their final non-conference game of the season Friday against Newcastle, with the kickoff slated for 7 p.m.
“It’s just the next game on our schedule. We are going to have a tough game ahead of us,” Lenhardt said. “We need to continue to get better, become a little more coachable and improve our effort level a little bit. It’s good, just not right where we want it to be yet.”