The Wyoming Cavalry scored 20 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter turning what was a tight game into a lopsided 57 -20 win against the San Diego Shockwave. The game was played before 2,692 fans at the Casper Events Center in Casper, WY on Saturday night.The veteran Cavalry club, who outscored the Shockwave 33 – 0 in the second half, won the game going away over the younger, mistake-prone Shockwave.
The first half was a see-saw affair. After stopping the Shockwave on their first drive, the Cavalry’s Trey Ransom opened scoring by converting on a 39 yard FG at the 9:41 mark of the 1st Quarter. The Shockwave tied it at 3 -3 five minutes later with 4:41 left when K John Matich hit from 41 yards out.
Both teams swapped TD’s and the first quarter ended in a 10 – 10 tie. Momentum seemed to shift the Shockwave’s way when the Cavalry’s WR Dante Dudley was stopped at the Shockwave’s 2 yard line on a 4th and goal early in the 2nd Quarter. But the Shockwave quickly turned it over and Wyoming capitalized on a 5 play, 23 yard drive, with a 7 yard QB Matt Strand TD toss to WR Dante Dudley. The PAT failed, making the score 16 – 10.
The Shockwave responded and took their only lead of the game with 1:48 remaining in the first half when QB Roman Ybarra hit WR Chris Pittman with a 6 yard TD pass. The PAT was good giving the Shockwave a 17 – 16 lead. That lead, however, was short lived. The Cavalry, benefiting from good field position resulting from a short kickoff, scored with 27 seconds remaining making the score 24 – 17.
On the ensuring kickoff, the Shockwave quickly advanced the ball several times to the Cavalry 17 yard line. The Shockwave called a timeout with 1 second remaining and K John Matich had enough leg to muscle a 27 yard partially blocked field goal attempt through the uprights. Score – 24 – 20, Wyoming at the half.
The first half was hard-hitting and penalty-filled. “Mistakes and penalties did us in not only in the first half, but the entire game,” said a disappointed head coach Bob Bees of the Shockwave’s play. “We came out flat in the second half. It was a very tough loss.”
Despite the relatively small gathering, the raucous Wyoming fans – led by their famous 9th man – the fired up crowd – seemed to play a part in the Shockwave’s undoing, disrupting the San Diegans at key moments throughout the contest. While time of possession favored the Shockwave 32 minutes to 28 minutes, the Shockwave really couldn’t muster any offense – dropping numerous passes, suffering three interceptions and losing one fumble. The Cavalry, meanwhile had plenty of giddy-up on offense. Their defense, though was the story, turning the fumble and one interception into two, 3rd quarter Cavalry TD’s that put the game out of reach.
Some questionable officiating at key moments didn’t help San Diego’s chances. Calls appeared to go Wyoming’s way most of the night, sealing the Shockwave’s fate. “The officiating seemed a bit lopsided,” lamented Shockwave wide receiver coach, Eric Van Tassel. “There were an inordinate number of calls that broke our momentum and stalled our drives. They certainly weren’t 37 points better than we were.”
Shockwave WR Nakoa McElrath led all receivers with 6 catches for 77 yards and 1 TD. WR Chris Pittman added 5 receptions for 29 yards and 1 TD. Shockwave RB Ali Culpepper, who ran strong in the season opener against LA couldn’t get untracked, gaining just 8 yards on 5 carries.
Cavalry DB Brandon Everage had two interceptions, and DB Brian Guthrie had one; the costly 49 yard interception return for TD, that punctuated Wyoming’s performance and put the game out of reach, 44 – 20. Cavalry WR Dante Dudley also had a big night, catching 3 TD passes. Speedy RB James “Spiderman” Jones seemed to always be involved, touching the ball 16 times for the Cavalry. He gained 30 yards on 11 carries and had 5 receptions for 46 yards.
“While we don’t like any loss, this shows us where we’re at and the adjustments we need to make,” vowed Coach Bees. “And we’ll make those adjustments and be ready next week. Our schedule doesn’t get any easier. Beaumont, our next opponent, is a very good team. They just beat Atlanta 34 -32 Saturday night.”