Wolverines' Draper county player of yearNov 26, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Small-town high-school football requires young men who are skilled on both sides of the line of scrimmage, whether it be advancing the ball on offense or preventing it on defense.
For the Riverton Wolverines this season, Jaren Draper was exactly that player. For his efforts, has been named Fremont County Player of the Year by the sports staff of The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News.
Draper finished the campaign second in Class 3-A with 87.6 receiving yards per game, hauling in 39 receptions for 701 yards -- an average of 18 yards per catch -- and scored six touchdowns.
Draper wasn't done there, ranking fourth in Class 3-A, averaging 17.8 defensive points per game from his safety position, making 8.1 tackles per game, with 53 solo stops, along with a sack and a interception on the season.
According to Wolverines head coach Pat Patterson, Draper's most valuable asset is his reliability.
"Jaren is a valuable player to us because he's so rock-solid dependable," said Patterson. "He's a practice-every-day, give-it-100-percent kind of kid.He does whatever you ask without question and is a true team player."
Patterson said Draper already was an outstanding player leading up to this season, but the ook his game up another notch with undying work ethic.
"Jaren had a real breakout year this season," he said. "He played a lot for us last year on both sides and was a steady player, but this season he took his game to the next level with hard work."
However, not only does Draper run roughshod on the gridiron, but all year round, which makes him well-rounded, said Patterson.
"The thing a lot of people don't realize about him is he does everything," he said. "Now that football is over, he'll excel on the basketball court, followed by track, and finally the baseball field. There is no offseason for this kid."
Draper also offers leadership-by-example for his teammates, which is a valuable asset, said Patterson.
"To me, the greatest thing you can say about any player is he gives you everything he has, and they're coachable -- this describes Jaren to a T," he said. "Jaren is a quiet leader, he's not a rah-rah kind of player that fires others up with his inspirational speeches -- he just goes out and plays hard."
But, for Draper, it's not just about sports, despite the fact it's a big part of his life, said Patterson.
"Off the field, he's a quiet kid who works hard in the classroom, is an awesome brother to his siblings and a fine young man who lives his faith," he said. "I can't say enough about what a great job his parents have done in raising such a fine young man."