CASPER – The Rock Springs High School football team moved to 2-2 on the season Friday night after going into Casper and defeating Kelly Walsh High School 22-3.

Neither Rock Springs nor Kelly Walsh’s offense got off to a great start, but thanks to some strong play by the Tigers defense, RSHS never got caught in a bad situation. After three unsuccessful drives to start the game, Rock Springs found its rhythm early in the second quarter to go up by seven. Rock Springs took a 14-0 lead into halftime and never looked back. Following the break, Kelly Walsh answered with a field goal, but it wasn’t enough. After being held scoreless in the third quarter, Rock Springs hit the gas pedal and outscored the Trojans 8-0 in the final 12 minutes to return home with an even record.

To open the first quarter, Rock Springs kicked the ball off. Thanks to a great pass breakup by Landon Toth on third down, the Tigers forced the Trojans to punt the ball away all the way back from their own 22-yard line.

However, RSHS struggled to find any offensive rhythm. Early offensive drives in the first quarter resulted in zero points with one turnover and back-to-back punts. It wasn’t until the Tigers’ third drive of the night that they pick up some steam.

After driving the ball all the way down to the Trojans’ 28-yard line, Rock Springs benefited from Kelly Walsh being called for pass interference. Following the penalty, RSHS got a first down at the Trojans’ 14-yard line with over 11 minutes remaining in the half. After a 7-yard carry by Collin Madsen to open up the drive, quarterback Seth Hymas decided to keep the ball on first and goal and run in for a 1-yard touchdown. To cap the drive, Madsen kicked through the extra point, giving Rock Springs a 7-0 lead with 9:45 remaining.

Kelly Walsh started its next drive all the way back on its own 20-yard line, and thanks to some great pass coverage by Isaac Schoenfeld, it was forced to punt after only three plays.

Not only was the Tigers defense keeping the Trojans in check, but after forcing Kelly Walsh to punt all the way back from their own 21-yard line, it allowed Rock Springs’ offense to take the field near midfield.

With just over eight minutes remaining before halftime, on the very first play of the drive, Blaine Richards opened things up with a 4-yard carry. Two plays later, Hymas kept the drive alive with another quarterback sneak to give the Tigers another first down, this time in Trojan territory.

Four plays later on a long fourth-down situation, Rock Springs committed its third turnover of the night after Hymas tried to find a receiver down field, only for the pass to be broken up, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Kelly Walsh’s offense got the ball back on its own 30-yard line with just over five minutes remaining in the half, but thanks to another great defensive series by Toth and Schoenfeld, it wasn’t long before the Tigers’ offense was back on the field.

During the Trojans’ eight-play drive, Toth and Schoenfeld combined for a tackle, a tackle for loss and a blocked punt to give Rock Springs the ball back with 4:14 remaining on the clock.

Starting the drive on the Trojans’ 49-yard line, Andrew Skorcz came up big for the Tigers. Skorcz opened the drive with an 18-yard carry before being tackled at the 31-yard line. Four plays later, following a face mask penalty by Kelly Walsh, Hymas found Madsen for an 18-yard pass down field to set the Tigers up in great field position all the way down at the Trojans 10-yard line.

On first and goal, Hymas gave the ball back to Madsen, but the junior running back was tackled to the ground after only 2 yards with just over one minute remaining in the half. Two plays later, Madsen found an open lane and ran the ball across the goal line for a 2-yard score to put the Tigers in front 14-0.

Not only was Rock Springs’ offense finally in a groove, but the defense was playing lights out. On the Trojans’ next drive, the Tigers forced the home team to turn the ball over on downs after a fourth-down pass breakup with only 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

After getting the ball back at its own 31-yard line and not a lot of time to work with, Rock Springs wasted no time. On the very first play of the drive, Hymas dropped back and found Justis Reese down field for a huge 54-yard completion. The Tigers reached field goal range, and after coming down with the ball, Rock Springs head coach Mark Lendhart called for a timeout with one second remaining in the half.

With the field goal unit on the field, Madsen tried to give his team a three-possession lead, but after coming up short on a 32-yard attempt, Rock Springs went into the break leading 14-0.

After going into the locker room with all of the momentum, Rock Springs came out to start the second half a little winded. Throughout the third quarter, Kelly Walsh held the Tigers scoreless. The home team kicked through a 30-yard field goal for its only points of the night.

Early in the fourth quarter, Richards got Rock Springs back on track with his first and only rushing touchdown. Following the score, Lendhart’s decision to go for two turned out to be a great call. Reese found Hymas on a reverse pass to put his team ahead by 19.

In the final five minutes, the Trojans looked to strike back, but the Tigers’ defense came up big again. On a crucial fourth down and long, Rock Springs caused Kelly Walsh to commit its first turnover of the night after forcing a fumble that led to a turnover on downs.

Just when the Tigers were looking to increase their lead, Rock Springs started its next drive near midfield but couldn’t capitalize. After driving the ball down field and collecting two first downs, Hymas threw his only interception of the night with just over two minutes remaining. On third down and short, Hymas tried to find tight end Cadon Shaklee but instead was picked off, giving the Trojans one last chance to score with 1:53 remaining.

However, following the turnover, behind great coverage by Mason Issacson, Rock Springs forced the Trojans to punt the ball after only three plays.

With just over one minute remaining, Hymas and the Tigers got the ball back at their own 43-yard line. Rock Springs set up into victory formation and ran the clock out to finish the night with a 22-3 victory.

Following the win, the Tigers will look to keep its momentum going when the team travels to Cheyenne South on Friday, Sept. 27, for a Week Five matchup against the Bison.

Lendhart said as long as his team plays assignment football and does a better job at finishing plays, he expects the Tigers to come out with another victory. Friday’s game against the Bison is set for a 6 p.m. start.

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