by nathan oster
The team with the size and grind-it-out running game beat the one with speed and a fast-strike passing offense Friday night in a matchup of contrasting styles and ranked teams in Greybull.
Newcastle, which entered the game ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, turned a game that was tied at 14 apiece at the half into a 34-14 rout by playing keep-away from the Buffs and their top-ranked passing attack in the second half.
In the second half, Newcastle ran 37 plays, all but five of them runs, to Greybull’s 10.
Coach Marty Wrage credited the Dogies. “They have a quarterback who doesn’t turn it over, guards and tackles who pull — and for being such big guys, they move very well,” said Wrage. “They wall you off and they run behind them with great success.
“It’s a group that’s played together. They’ve run this offense and they’re smooth. They set you up … they set you up … then they hit a big play on you. A very good team.”
Greybull, now 2-2 overall after the nonconference loss, had risen to No. 5 in the 2A rankings, thanks to their impressive win over Big Piney in Week 3. Even though they lost, Wrage said he saw a lot of good things.
“Even though it doesn’t show in the score, we improved last week, especially as far as tackling and being aggressive against the No. 1 rushing team in the state,” he said. “That’s the most positive thing.” As a team, Greybull was credited with 16 tackles for loss.
The Buffs certainly had a flair for the dramatics in the first half. They scored less than a minute in, as Calder Forcella connected with Fabian Davila for a 79-yard strike over the top of the Newcastle defense.
Then, with time about to expire in the half, the Buffs brought their fans to their feet, scoring the tying touchdown on a play in which Forcella rolled to his right and fired into the end zone, where it was tipped by Fabian Davila and eventually caught by Miguel Gomez.
In between those two scores, Newcastle did what it does best, with Dillon Ehlers scoring a pair of rushing touchdowns. The Dogies nearly took the lead as time expired in the first half — and would have, had it not been for the hustle of Chris Ogg, who tackled Newcastle’s kick returner inside the 10-yard line.
Perhaps sparked by the nice return, the Dogies pulled away from the Buffs in the second half.
With Greybull crowding the line of scrimmage to stop the run, the Dogies burned the Buffs twice over the top. The first of their two scoring pass plays covered 64 yards, the second went for 62. Both were the result of coverage breakdowns.
“We had everybody up because they don’t throw the ball much at all … they caught us,” Wrage said. “They hit at the right time and the right place.”
Also contributing to the Buffs rough second half was a turnover on special teams.
For the game, Newcastle finished with 543 total yards. Greybull had 321, although just 66 in the second half.
Wrage emphasized that his team will ultimately benefit from playing the Dogies.
In Mountain View and Newcastle, the Buffs have now played two of the top three ranked teams in 2A. The two teams sport a combined record of 6-1. With Big Piney, a team the Buffs defeated, factored in, that mark rises to 9-2.
The four teams remaining on the Greybull schedule — Kemmerer, Pinedale, Lyman and Lovell — are a combined 4-12 to this point in the season.
“We think that going into these final four games, all of them conference games, that it’s going to be a huge advantage having played these quality opponents,” said Wrage. “I really feel that if we have a good week of practice, we get everybody healthy, that we’re going to be in good shape.
“The kids were positive after the game, already setting some goals. It’s a pretty sturdy group.”
After two straight games at home, the Buffs will hit the road this week for a 7 p.m. contest in Kemmerer. The Rangers are 0-4 overall, 0-3 in the Class 2A West, but “are still going to be a good challenge for us, defensively,” said Wrage.
“They run three types of offenses — some double wing, some spread, some empty backfield. They haven’t been able to sustain many long drives to this point, but they have on occasion hit on some big plays.”
Wrage said defense — and how to stop Kemmerer — will be a focal point of this week’s practice sessions. But on the plus side, the Buffs hope to welcome back some more of their injured players.
“We may be as healthy this week as we have been since the first scrimmage,” said Wrage.
Newcastle 34, Greybull 14
G — Fabian Davila 79-yard pass from Calder Forcella (Davila kick).
N — Dillon Ehlers 7-yard run (Jerad Bell kick).
N — Ehlers 47-yard run (Bell kick).
G — Miguel Gomez 1-yard pass from Forcella (Davila kick).
N — Trayton Farnsworth 64-yard pass from Ehlers (Bell kick).
N — Farnsworth 62-yard pass from Ehlers (Bell kick).
N — Ehlers 6-yard run.
RUSHING — Newcastle 54-382; Greybull 15-29 (Calder Forcella 13-14, Dawson Forcella 2-15).
PASSING — Newcastle 5 of 6 for 161 yards; Greybull (Calder Forcella) 18 of 33 for 292 yards.
RECEIVING — Greybull: Wyatt Nielson 7-100, Fabian Davila 3-107, Riley Hill 3-22, Miguel Gomez 2-26, Dustin Fox 2-36, Dawson McEwan 1-1.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Greybull: Cade Dooley led the team with 26 points, which included 12 total tackles, including three for losses. Lane Nielson added nine total tackles, including four for losses, to finish with 24 points, along with Calder Forcella, who had 14 total tackles, including two for losses. Riley Hill was next in line with 22 points, followed by Dawson McEwan with 16 and Justin Bacus with 14.