The sixth ranked ThunderWolves defeated the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Rangers 41-24, on Saturday night at Ranger Field, in Alva, Okla.
Saturday was the home opener for the Rangers in Alva, and was also their first Division II home game. The Rangers began the multi-year process of becoming an active Division II member in September.
However the transition makes the Rangers ineligible for postseason play until completion of the membership process. Northwestern Oklahoma State loss didn’t help with post season talks.
The T-Wolves win marked 17 consecutive regular season, a streak that dates back to Oct. 23, 2010.
The win evened up the all-time series against the Rangers at 3-3, and also marked the first time the T-wolves have ever beaten the Rangers in Alva, as they lost in 1970 and again in 2009 by six points each game.
The 17-point win however, is not indicative of the battle between the two teams in Alva on Saturday night. The Rangers, who came off a 52-point defeat the week prior, refused to roll over against their powerhouse opponent.
The T-wolves jumped out to a quick lead, by scoring 20 points, within the first half following contributions from senior quarterback Ross Dausin who finished the game 16-for-26, 303 yards passing and three touchdowns, and redshirt freshman running back, Chris Ashe finished the game with two rushing touchdowns.
“We were just trying to start fast, and finish faster,” sophomore wide receiver, Paul Browning said, who finished the game with two catches for a career high 66 yards.
The T-Wolves would go into halftime with a 20-7 lead, as the Rangers scored a touchdown before halftime.
Following halftime, the Rangers went on a marathon 14-play touchdown drive, pulling within six points, early in the third quarter.
After a T-Wolf three and out, the Rangers scored another touchdown, taking the lead 21-20, putting the No. 6 T-wolves on upset alert.
“You got to answer, you got to have the body language of a champion,” head coach John Wristen said.
The next drive, the T-Wolves made adjustments, and answered on a quick touchdown drive. A key 35-yard catch by senior tight end, Roger Pfannenschmid, who finished the game with three catches for 53 yards. The ThunderWolves scored two plays later, following a two yard rushing score by Ashe, giving them a 28-21 lead, after a successful two-point conversion.
The score put the T-Wolves in the drivers seat for the rest of the game, ending the Rangers bid at a major upset, as they were able to avoid an upset.
“You never know when adversity is going to hit, but when it hits, you just have to be ready to adjust, and ready to step up to the task at hand and be able to make plays when your number is called,” Browning said.
Next week, the T-Wolves travel to Silver City, NM. to take on the 1-1 Western New Mexico University Mustangs, in their first RMAC game of the season.
“We all got to do a better job if we want to win the RMAC,” Wristen said.