By NATHAN OSTER
It could have been billed the Shootout in Shoshoni — but unfortunately for the visiting Burlington Huskies, it was the host Wranglers who were the last ones standing, celebrating a 41-36 victory over their Class 1A West Conference rivals.
“They couldn’t stop us from running … and we couldn’t stop them from passing,” said Coach Mike Aagard, whose team dropped to 2-1 with the loss. “It was back and forth throughout, though, and our kids played well.”
The Huskies struck first on a 7-yard run by Preston Wardell, but it was Shoshoni that went into the locker room at half clinging to a 20-14 lead.
The momentum changed in the third quarter, though, after a 78-yard run by Ben Mancuso. Burlington led at one point in the second half by as many as eight points. Shoshoni was within one, at 36-35, when it took possession with two minutes to play. The drive ended in a touchdown pass that made it 41-36.
The Huskies rushed for 324 yards, with Mancuso accounting for 179 of those.
“Most of our yards came in the second half,” Aagard said. “Our running backs stepped up. They were running hard and kept us in the game until the last little bit.”
But the defensive lapses proved too much to overcome. Aagard said his team was missing two defensive starters — defensive end Ryan McIntosh and linebacker Dexter Jones. “We had to stir things up quite a bit,” Aagard said. “But Shoshoni is really effective throwing the ball.
“We saw a hint of that from them last year … but nothing like what we saw this year.”
The Wranglers are working under a new coach who has installed a different offense, Aagard said.
The Huskies will host Riverside in a key conference game at 3 p.m., Friday, in Burlington.
The Huskies won last year’s encounter, but Aagard said his team will need to be better this time around. After getting shredded by Shoshoni, the Huskies’ pass defense will be under the microscope this week in practice. “We expect to be hit with the passing game,” Aagard said. “That’ll be our big focus this week as we prepare.”
Shoshoni, 41, Burlington 36
B — Preston Wardell 7-yard run.
B — Anson George 1-yard run (Wardell pass to Ben Mancuso).
B — Wardell 3-yard run.
B — Mancuso 78-yard run (Wardell run).
B — Mancuso 6-yard run (Daniel Davidson run).
RUSHING — 324 yards Ben Mancuso 14-179, Anson George 88 yards, Preston Wardell 21 yards, Jacob Bullinger 15.
PASSING — Burlington 2-9 for 12 yards.
DEFENSIVE STAND-OUTS — George had 7 assisted, 3 unassisted tackles; Mancuso 5 assisted, 4 unassisted; Wardell 5 assisted, 2 unassisted; Justin Aagard 7 assisted; Daniel Hall, 6 unassisted.