Late rally comes up short for THS

Rob Mortimore/Torrington Telegram Torrington quarterback Bryce Hager dives for extra yardage during Friday’s 32-27 loss to the Big Horn Rams.

TORRINGTON – Torrington dug themselves in to an early hole on Friday night, but the Blazers battled back with 14-unanswered points in an 32-27 loss to the Big Horn Rams.

Big Horn struck first with 7:19 remaining in the opening quarter, but senior quarterback Bryce Hager tied the game with a 10-yard run to tie the game at seven with under three minutes left in the quarter.

That’s when Big Horn started to pull away.

“The first half, we really shot ourselves in the foot with penalties, turnovers, etc,” THS coach Russell Stienmetz said. “If you are going to knock off one of the top teams in the state, you just cannot do that. You can’t start with a first-and-15 or second-and-15 or turn the ball over.”

The Rams scored 19 straight points with two touchdowns in the second quarter and a third score early in the third quarter.

In the later parts of the third quarter, Torrington’s running game started clicking. 

With 4:32 remaining in the quarter Kaiden Riggs broke free for a 12-yard touchdown run.

Torrington cut the deficit to five in the final minute of the game.

“A lot of that was due to being able to run the ball with Riggs and Hager toting the rock most of the time,” Stienmetz said. “They both ran physical and aggressive and were getting big chunks on most plays.”

The coach added the success of the running game, opened up the passing game, but the Blazers weren’t able to get the big completions when they needed to.

At the end of the day, Riggs led the team with 141 rushing yards on 16 carries and a score, while Hager added 17 carries for 77 yards and three touchdowns. Hager was also 14-of-28 passing for 136 yards. His top target was sophomore Landre Greiman who hauled in four catches for 72 yards. Senior Greysen Shields added six catches for 51 yards.

This week, the Blazers are back at Wiseman Field to host the Tongue River Eagles on Friday, Sept. 29.

“They are a very solid team again. They are physical,” Stienmetz said.

He added Tongue River are fairly similar to Big Horn.

“Tongue River is able to run the ball to establish a very successful passing game,” Stienmetz said. “We are going to have to be very disciplined defensively. Offensively, we are going to have to take what they give us whether it’s on the ground or in the air.”

He added Friday’s game against Big Horn proved the Blazers can compete with anyone in the state.

“We just have to clean some stuff up and play our game better,” Stienmetz said.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.