Buffs put one in the win column

Nathan Oster

For the second straight season, the Greybull Buffs opened with a win on their home field, knocking off Moorcroft 28-14 in a nonconference nine-man game Thursday evening.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the game won’t end up on a wall of the Smithsonian. Defenses dominated. Neither team finished with a positive rushing total (Moorcroft’s net was -103, Greybull’s -19) and the teams combined for 18 penalties, seven turnovers and multiple breakdowns on special teams. 

But a win is a win, especially for a Greybull team breaking in new starters.

“It was extremely important for us to start off on the right foot,” said Coach Jeremy Pouska. “Hopefully it correlates to more success this year and in the kids gaining confidence in themselves and the program.”

The Buffs never trailed, scoring the game’s first points on a safety (stemming from a bad Moorcroft snap) and tacking on six more soon after on a 14-yard pass from Joel Miller to Aiden Reece.

Moorcroft pulled to within two, at 8-6, with a touchdown of its own in the second quarter.

The second half featured three Greybull touchdowns — the first two on passes from Miller to Jake Schlattmann.  After the second extended the lead to 20-8, the Buffs looked to be in the clear.  But the Wolves made a big play on defense, intercepting a Miller pass and returning it for a touchdown to close the gap to 20-14.

It set the stage for the biggest play of the game.  The Buffs had driven into Moorcroft territory, but were facing fourth and long. A stop would have given Moorcroft the ball, and with a couple minutes left, time to mount a drive to tie or win the game.

Miller dropped back, had time to throw and found Rodriguez for a 37-yard touchdown. The two connected again for the two-point conversion, which accounted for the 28-14 final score.

“It came down to us being risk takers as a coaching staff,” said Pouska.  “We didn’t want to just punt.  We wanted to make something out of nothing.  Zeus ran a go route, we called max protection and Joel made a great throw.  I had confidence that the guys would get it done.  It’s plays like that that help solidify and build confidence.”

In his first ever varsity start at quarterback, Miller finished 9-of-22 for 194 yards and four touchdowns.  Pouska said he was impressed with the resolve of his junior signal caller, noting that he didn’t let a couple of mistakes like the pick six bother him.

Isaak Gaytan was Greybull’s leading rusher, generating 38 yards on 15 totes.

Schlattmann was the top receiver, gaining 121 yards on three catches.

Of his team’s offensive struggles, Pouska said Moorcroft “had some physical guys on the line of scrimmage and sent constant pressure.  There were times they had a d-lineman in our quarterback’s lap at the snap of the ball.  Moving forward, our offensive line must do a better job understanding the blocking scheme, being more aggressive and keeping our quarterback upright.”

With the offense sputtering, “the defense is really what kept us in the game,” said Pouska.  Moorcroft ran 60 offensive plays, but gained just total 74 yards.  What they gained, they gained through the air.  The running lanes were clogged up with Buffs.

Eight players scored 10 or more defensive points, with end Chase Oster leading the way with 35 followed by linebacker Jake Schlattmann with 33.

“As a team, the defense came to play, pinned their ears back and flew around, which you have to do,” said Pouska. 

This week

The Buffs play their second consecutive Thursday game this week when they travel to Shoshoni for a 5 p.m. kickoff.  

The Wranglers won the state title last year, beating Rocky Mountain on the turf at War Memorial Stadium, and opened this season with seven returning all-staters, all of them seniors. The Wranglers will be coming off a week one loss, as they fell to Pine Bluffs, 34-26.  Rankings wise, was a matchup of the top two teams in the classification.

Last year, the Wranglers handled the Buffs, 54-6.

“It’s a tall order, that’s for sure,” Pouska said of the matchup.  “We just have to worry about ourselves, make sure we’re executing our plays and that we are doing our jobs on defense. If do that, we can play head up with any team in the state. We just have to believe it.”


Moorcroft     0 6 2   6 — 14

Greybull       8 6 0 14 — 28

G — Safety

G — Reece 14-yard pass from Joel Miller.

M — Cade Williams 20-yard pass from Ayden Petz.

G — Schlattmann 37-yard pass from Miller

G — Schlattmann 53-yard pass from Miller

M — Safety

M — Williams 30-yard interception return.

G — Rodriguez 37-yard pass from Miller (two-point conversion good).

RUSHING — Moorcroft 34 for -103;  bGreybull 42 for -19 (Jake Schlattmann 6-13, Joel Miller 12-(-21), Isaak Gaytan 15-38, Caiden Sorenson 4-5, Beto Diaz-Rios 1-(-29), Caden Hunt 4-(-8).

PASSING — Moorcroft 11-of-26 for 177 yards; Greybull 9-of-22 for 194 yards.

RECEIVING — Jake Schlattmann 3-121, Jesus Rodriguez 4-51, Aiden Reece 2-22.

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Chase Oster led with 35 defensive points (13 tackles including 3 tackles for loss and a blocked kick), followed by Jake Schlattman with 33 points (15 tackles, 4 tackles for loss), Steele Davis with 19, Beto Diaz-Rios with 15 and Jesus Rodriguez with 13.