Buffs beat Riverside 28-12, move into three-way tie in conference

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By Nathan Oster

Facing a must-win situation, the Greybull Buffs scored 22 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Riverside 28-12 and keep their playoff hopes alive Friday night in the first gridiron matchup between the two rival schools since 2014.

The Buffs entered play as the only team in the West without a conference win.  When the final horn sounded, they had moved into a three-way tie with the Rebels and the Wind River Cougars, all of whom are vying for the league's final two spots in the playoffs which begin Oct. 30.

It was the second consecutive wire-to-wire win for the Buffs, who improved to 2-4.

"In the moment, and even more so looking back, I was very pleased with how the game went," said Coach Eli Moody. "The effort was there from the first play to the last play."

The Buffs led 6-0 at the half, thanks to a 13-yard pass from Cale Wright to Avery Swiftney.  It came on a four-and-long play. "We rolled the dice," said Moody. "Honestly it was just a great play by Cale and Avery, who ran a little slant across the middle.  When Cale was forced to roll out, Avery did a great job coming back rolling with him."

Riverside, which had narrowly missed on several first half scoring opportunities, finally broke through midway through the third, tying the game at 6 on an 18-yard run by Tate Clutter.

But after that, it was all Greybull, as the Buffs pulled back in front with a 15-yard pass from Wright to Aiden Reece, then tacked on touchdowns on a 55-yard Irving Castro run, a 2-yard Jesus Hernandez plunge and a safety, all of which made the score 28-6.

The Rebels rallied late, scoring a touchdown to close the gap to 28-12 and then recovering the onside kick, but the Greybull defense rose to the challenge, preserving the hard-fought win.

The Rebels outgained the Buffs 332-227, but Greybull had 14 first downs to Riverside's seven.

"Minus the two (Riverside scoring) drives, our defense bent, but didn't break," said Moody.

While it required a team effort, he singled out two Buffs in particular — sophomore linebacker Jake Schlattmann and sophomore nose tackle Chase Oster.  Schlattmann led the team with 32 defensive points, followed by Oster with 30.

"Jake's been solid all year, but the last couple of game's he's really stepped it up, which has been awesome to see," said Moody. "And the nose guard is usually an unsung hero, but Chase had a monster game inside.  (Riverside) is a run-heavy team, and when your nose guard has a game like Chase did, it goes a long way toward disrupting a running game."

Moody said the other key to the win was his team's offensive execution in the second half, which led to several  big plays. The one that really got the Buffs going, he said, was Castro's 55-yard sprint to paydirt, which happened right in front of the Greybull bench.

"Our energy level went up after that — and there was nothing that Basin could do to stop us," said Moody.

 

This week

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Rocky Mountain has wrapped up the conference title, and while Shoshoni has the inside track to earn the second seed, the Wranglers have some work remaining, with games remaining against Greybull this week and Riverside next week. The outcomes of those two games will determine each of their playoff fates.

The Wranglers currently sport a 4-2 record.

"The majority of their offense comes out of a spear backfield – featuring two fullbacks and a running back, which is something we run quite a bit too so we have some familiarity with it," said Moody.  "The strength of their team is probably their offensive line and their No. 1 running back, so stopping the run is going to be huge for us.

"I say it all the time, but we really need to be gap sound.  Moving down to nine-man, there aren't many teams that spread you out and beat you through the air, although a couple try.  We have to be sound tacklers.  We have to really bring it."

While the focus is on Shoshoni, Moody said he's looked into the tiebreaker scenario that would be needed if Greybull, Riverside and Wind River all finish with 1-3 conference marks.  The first two — head-to-head, then record versus common opponents — aren't likely to help.  The third, however, is point differential in conference games. Rght now, despite the thrashing by Rocky Mountain, Greybull is sitting pretty good, having beaten Riverside by 16 and lost to Wind River by just a single point.

"The last two weeks, we've played how we should have been playing all season," said Moody. "The boys are finally playing up to their potential – instead of playing timid and on their heels, they are attacking and that's what you have to do."

 

Riverside 0 0 6 6 ­— 12

Greybull 6 0 8 14 — 28

G — Avery Swiftney 13-yard pass from Cale Wright.

R — Tate Clutter 18-yard run.

G — Aiden Reece 15-yard pass from Wright (Castro run).

G — Irving Castro 55-yard run.

G — Jesus Hernandez 2-yard run.

G — Aiden Reece credited with safety.

R — Garrett Ellis Rudd 27-yard pass from Cash Duncan.

RUSHING — Riverside 46-230; Greybull 39-147 (Irving Castro 22-129, Camryn Chapman 6-17, Cale Wright 5-(-10), Jesus Hernandez 4-6, Isaak Gaytan 2-5).

PASSING — Riverside 8-of-24 for 102 yards; Greybull: Cale Wright 6-of-13 for 78 yards.

RECEIVING — Greybull: Colton Farrow 2-26, Castro 1-11, Reece 1-15, Swiftney 1-13, Isaac Thueson 1-13.

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Greybull: Jake Schlattmann led the way with 32 defensive points (16 assisted, 8 solo tackles), followed by Chase Oster with 30 (7 assisted, 5 solo, a tackle for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery) and Avery Swiftney with 21 (9 assisted, 5 solo and 1 pass breakup). Castro and Thueson had 19, Hernandez 18, Reece 15 and Farrow 11.