by nathan oster
For the second week in a row, the Greybull Buffs started slowly.
But unlike the week before against Big Piney, this time the Buffs were able to climb out of the hole they dug themselves Friday evening in Pinedale, overwhelming the hosts with 24 unanswered points to win 25-14.
“It was one we needed to win, especially considering it was a conference game,” said Coach Marty Wrage, whose team improved to 1-1 in the Class 2A Northwest while evening its overall record at 2-2.
Statistics and scoring particulars were not available at press time, but Wrage described it as two games within one. The first one was dominated by the hosts, who scored two touchdowns in the opening quarter to take a 14-0 lead.
Their first followed a Greybull turnover, their second moments later after they got the ball back with good field position after a special teams miscue by the Buffs pinned them inside their own 3-yard line and their offense failed to pick up a first down.
“It happened pretty quickly,” said Wrage. “Right away, we were down 14-0.”
Wrage said he and his coaches emphasized the need to clean up the mistakes in their talks with players — and they responded. It started with a few first downs, and later, with their first touchdown of the game.
“We started moving the ball and defensively, we started adjusting to what they were doing.”
The Buffs pulled to within 14-12 at the half before blowing the game open with two touchdowns in the second half. Brayan Castro scored two of them; Riley Hill and Miguel Gomez had the others.
Weather conditions were a factor, as players had to deal with both snow and cold conditions.
The difference between the Big Piney and Pinedale games, though, was “our ability rush the ball better against a big defense,” said Wrage. “We had a number of kids play very well…and I think (quarterback) Riley (Hill) made better choices.”
At the midway point of the season, the Buffs find themselves closer to the bottom than the top, with a 1-1 conference record. Mountain View, at 2-0, is the league’s only unbeaten team. Greybull will get a crack at those Buffs in their regular season finale on Oct. 20.
Between now and then, they’ll have an opportunity to make hay against 1-3 Kemmerer, 1-3 Lovell and 2-2 Lyman.
First up is Kemmerer, a team that snapped its long losing streak in the opening week of the season, beating Saratoga 34-0, but has since dropped three straight, including conference matchups against Pinedale, Big Piney and Lyman.
“They bigger, more aggressive and have a new coaching staff,” said Wrage. On tape, they “base what they do on the running game. They have a big fullback and a fast tailback, they play solid defense and they blitz quite a bit.”
Every game from here on out is a conference game for the Buffs.
Wrage said the Pinedale win was a giant step toward a playoff berth. “They’ll beat three or four teams on our side of the state, so it was really big that we got that win,” he said. “The key now is to start building on it.”
Kickoff time for Friday’s game against Kemmerer is 4 p.m.