by nathan oster
The Greybull Buffs moved into a tie for second place in the Class 2A West Conference with a 34-7 win Friday night in Kemmerer.
With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Buffs now sit at 2-1 in league play and 3-2 overall with back-to-back home games on the horizon against Pinedale and Lyman before the season finale in Lovell.
The Buffs broke out offensively, and particularly on the ground. One week after averaging less than 1 yard per rush against a burly Newcastle front, the Buffs ran wild in Kemmerer, generating 280 rushing yards on 332 carries, an average of 8.5 yards per rush. Two Buffs broke the 100-yard mark, with Calder Forcella generating 157 and Dawson Forcella collecting another 110.
Coach Marty Wrage said Kemmerer came out focused on stopping the pass — and that the Buffs just took what the Rangers gave them.
“They started out with only three guys on the line and eight defensive backs,” he said. “We played well at the line of scrimmage. We ran a lot of traps and counters, and our linemen did a good job of getting a push.”
While not as strong up front as Newcastle, Wrage said Kemmerer had some quality kids in the trenches and that his kids got the best of them on that night. He also credited his backs for showing patience by waiting for the holes to materialize.
Kemmerer got the Buffs attention early, driving 70 yards for the first score of the game. The Buffs “had trouble getting lined up properly” to stop the Ranger attack.
“And it looked like our kids had been on a long bus trip,” Wrage said of the early struggles. “But after that drive, they really settled down and got things going.”
The turning point wasn’t one play but rather Greybull’s ability to move the ball on the ground. By establishing the run, the Buffs gained control of the line of scrimmage, which paid dividends on both sides of the ball.
“After that first drive, they didn’t do much,” said Wrage.
The Buffs, meanwhile, reeled off five unanswered touchdowns.
Dawson Forcella’s 3-yard plunge with 5:10 to play in the opening quarter tied it at 7. A 61-yard pass from Calder Forcella to Wyatt Nielson set it up.
The Buffs took the lead at the 10:04 mark of the second on a 3-yard quarterback keeper by Calder Forcella.
It remained 14-7 until late in the third when, with 4:25 to play, Forcella and Wyatt Nielson connected on a 3-yard touchdown pass. The Buffs tacked on two more scores in the fourth, on runs by Calder Forcella and Fabian Davila, to put the Rangers away.
Greybull finished with 485 yards of offense and had only two turnovers.
For a team with playoff aspirations, the Buffs had to win in Kemmerer.
“All the conference games are crucial, but with our core of young players it was huge that we got out of there with a win,” said Wrage. “Now we head into the part of the season where teams fall into two categories — they’re either trying to get into the playoffs, like we are, or they are trying to knock people out.”
With no conference wins, the Rangers are cast in the role of spoilers.
They played motivated football against the Buffs.
“That’s a team that doesn’t give up and fights all the way to the end,” said Wrage. “In that way, they remind me of how Riverside plays. Physical and tough to the end.”
The Buffs will be back on their home turf Friday night, hosting Pinedale. The Wrangers are 1-4, with their only win coming at the expense of Kemmerer. Last week they were crushed by Mountain View, 51-8.
“They run some spread, but their preference is to run out of it,” said Wrage. Like the Rangers, the Wranglers battle to the final gun. “Even last week, when Mountain View was getting on them, they just had a couple of breakdowns that cost them,” he said. “They played physical against them.”
Greybull 34, Kemmerer 7
G — Dawson Forcella 3 yard run (Davila kick).
G — Calder Forcella 3-yard run (Davila kick).
G — Wyatt Nielson 3-yard pass from Forcella (Davila kick).
G — C. Forcella 5-yard run.
G — Davila 13-yard run (Davila kick).
RUSHING — Greybull 33-280 (Dawson Forcella 14-110, Calder Forcella 18-157, Fabian Davila 1-13.
PASSING — Greybull (Calder Forcella) 13-of-23 for 205 yards.
RECEIVING — Wyatt Neilson 5-105, Fabian Davila 1-5, Dustin Fox 3-34, Cade Dooley 1-9, Dawson Forcella 3-52.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Lane Nielson racked up 30 defensive points to lead the team. He had 13 assisted and 3 solo tackles. Dawson McEwan was next in line with 25 points, followed by Riley Hill with 20, Cade Dooley 17 and Calder Forcella 14.