By Kristan Krogman
It took the spirit of Homecoming to bring the White River Tiger football team its first win of the season. The Tigers faced Lyman Friday night after a full week of Homecoming festivities had the guys primed for victory.
The game didn’t start well for White River as the Raiders took the opening kickoff to the 9 yard line and then ran for a touchdown on the first play of the drive. The tough start didn’t keep the team down, though, and they answered back, converting on a 4 down and 12 when quarterback Gunner Piper hit Tanner Larvie for a 34 yard reception that extended the Tiger drive. Piper got the touchdown to tie the game at six. Larvie had a big night for the Tigers, especially on offense though he picked off a Lyman pass on the next possession, a turnover that resulted in another Tiger touchdown. This one by Tré Iyotte on a 27 yard reception. Ethan Huber recovered a fumble to return the ball to the Tigers and though they were forced to punt, a hustle play by Justin Prue left Lyman pinned on their own 1 yard line to start their drive. When Justin Folkers got a block on the punt that came four downs later, it looked like the Tigers would easily add to their point total. Lyman’s defense, though got the better of the series and they regained possession on a fourth down sack.
Another Lyman turnover, this time a fumble to Christian Bartlett, opened play in the second quarter. Kaileb Valburg carried the Tigers to a pair of first downs and Prue carried the ball to the endzone, making the score 20-6 in favor of White River. Larvie was the subject of a pair of highlight plays later when he pulled in a one handed reception down the sideline for a thirty yard gain and followed that with a fifty yard touchdown reception that made it 26-6 with 5:32 remaining in the half. Penalties erased a Tiger touchdown by the defense and the resulting first down for Lyman kept their drive alive. They took advantage with a pass reception in the endzone and two point conversion. The score was 26-14 at half time.
First downs by Larvie and Valburg propelled the Tigers in the opening drive of the second half. Despite a 3rd down and 20 to go, the Tigers prevailed on a 24 yard reception, again by Larvie that landed him in the endzone. White River scored again at the 5:50 mark on a 1 yard keeper by Piper who also got the two point conversion.
A TD pass by Lyman just twenty seconds later marked their last scoring drive. A fake punt by Christian Bartlett on the Tigers next drive enabled him to find Larvie down field for another first down reception. Piper benefited, getting to the endzone with 38 seconds to go for his third TD of the night. The score at the end of three was White River 46, Lyman 22.
Valburg scored for White River early in the final quarter and James Leader Charge added the two point conversion. Nic Young made a nice defensive play, recovering an on-side kick for the Tigers that allowed them possession and the chance to run extra time off the clock. Later, Tanner Cook on the Tigers final possession scored the last points of the game. He found the endzone with 3:20 to go, putting the Tigers up 60-22.
It was a breakout game for the young Tigers who had struggled early in the season to put points on the board. Up against a Stanley County team that is 0-2 on the season but held Philip to just six points last week, the Tigers hope to continue with back to back wins as they face Stanley County on the road Friday.