by nathan oster
You’d have to go back pretty far in the annals of Wyoming football history to find a Greybull-Lovell game resembling the one played Friday night in Greybull.
The Buffs led 43-0 at the half, added another score in the third to trigger the mercy rule running clock and coasted from there to a 53-7 mauling of the Bulldogs. It was the most one-sided game in the rivalry since 1992, when Lovell hung one on the Buffs, to the tune of 57-0.
The win was the exclamation point on a pretty memorable week for first-year Greybull coach Eli Moody. He and his wife welcomed their first child on Monday. By Wednesday, he was back at practice. And by Friday night, he had secured his first win over his old school.
“It was a weird feeling (in warmups) to look over and see the Lovell uniforms on the other side,” said Moody, a lineman for the Bulldogs in his high school playing days. “Some of their coaching staff was there when I played, too. But once the game started, it wasn’t weird at all. I was just calling plays and coaching the kids up, like always.”
A fast start set the tone for the Buffs. Greybull put up 20 points in the first quarter and 23 more in the second to take a commanding 43-0 halftime lead. The Buffs substituted more freely in a second half that was more competitive.
Keisel finished with five touchdowns — three on the ground, two receiving, while Caleb Bottom and Elian Davila each caught touchdown passes from Brock Hill, who might have played his best game of the season.
“We have some guys who are playing out of their minds right now, going fast, hitting hard, and doing everything right,” said Moody. “Zack Keisel, Gerardo Corral and Elian Davila come to mind right away; they’re playing at a very high level.
“Brock played another great game at quarterback too, which was huge.”
The lineup change continues to pay dividends, too. Corral, who was out a couple of weeks, is playing left tackle and Ben Kraft, who was playing there, is now in the backfield. “Every game he gets more confident and more productive, both in terms of running and blocking,” said Moody.
Greybull finished with 229 rushing yards on 39 attempts, an average of 5.8 yards per carry.
Keisel led the way, finishing with 157 yards on 16 carries. Kraft gained 35 more on five attempts and Caleb Bottom had 33 yards on six attempts.
Hill missed on more throws than he hit, finishing 6 of 13, but the connections he did make went for 249 yards. Bottom caught two for 81 yards, Keisel one for 60, Bridger Clark one for 43, Kraft one for 37 and Davila one for 28.
Lovell was stymied by the Greybull defense. The Bulldogs finished the night with just 113 total yards — 14 through the air on 3 of 19 passing and 99 on the ground, with 77 of them coming in the fourth against the Greybull second stringers.
The only downside for the Buffs was on the injury front, as starting wide receiver and cornerback Felipe Gaytan injured a knee on the second-half kickoff. Gaytan is also the team’s backup quarterback, so Hill ended up playing more than the coaches wanted with the outcome no longer in doubt.
Gaytan will miss this week’s game for certain. His outlook beyond that wasn’t known Monday.
Moody said the win was “definitely a confidence booster,” noting that it was the first time all season that his team posted back-to-back victories. Greybull now stands at 4-2 heading into the final two contests of the season.
First up is a road game this week at Lyman; the two teams kick off Friday at 2 p.m.
That’ll be followed by the regular season finale against conference leading Mountain View.
“We’re emphasizing this week that if we win them both, the playoffs will go through Greybull,” said Moody.
A win this week would at least guarantee the Buffs a first-round home playoff game.
“Lyman’s been up and down, but they’re getting tougher as the season goes along,” said Moody. “They are pretty balanced between the run and the pass; defensively, they are a straight up 4-4.”
Greybull20 23 7 3 — 53
Lovell0 0 0 0 — 7
G — Elian Davila 28 yard reception from Brock Hill.
G — Zack Keisel 31-yard run (conversion good)
G — Keisel 60 yard reception from Hill.
G — Keisel 3 yard run (conversion good)
G — Keisel 3 yard run (Matt Werbelow kick)
G — Bottom 68-yard reception from Hill (Werbelow kick)
G — Keisel 37-yard run (Werbelow kick)
G — Werbelow 30-yard field goal.
RUSHING — Greybull 39-229 (Ben Kraft 5-35, Zack Keisel 16-157, Brock Hill 4-2, Felipe Gaytan 1-9, Irving Castro 5-(-5), Caleb Bottom 6-33, Avery Swiftney 4-(-2); Lovell 33-99.
PASSING — Hill 6 of 13 for 249 yards
RECEIVING — Keisel 1-60, Bridger Clark 1-43, Caleb Bottom 2-81, Elian Davila 1-28, Ben Kraft 1-37.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Keisel led with 22 points, followed by Gerardo Corral with 19, Kraft with 12 and Davila with 11.