Tigers blown out by Bison at home, 42-0Oct 8, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
As the sun sank behind the Wind River Mountains to the west of Bill Bush Stadium in Lander on Friday, the sky was set ablaze with color, providing a beautiful backdrop for the football game about to be played.
However, once the fiery orb disappeared behind the horizon and darkness fell on the proceedings, the only beauty left was the ease of which the visiting Buffalo Bison moved the line of scrimmage in a 42-0 victory against the Lander Valley Tigers.
Coming off their courageous effort against Fremont County rivals Riverton last week, the Tigers had hoped to build on the momentum such a fine performance provided, but those hopes were quickly snuffed out by a physical Buffalo squad who bossed the line all evening.
Early on its opening possession, Lander tried a halfback option pass by DeAundre Velarde, which was intercepted by a Bison defender.
However, the visitors fumbled the ball right back to the home side on the ensuing play.
But, the Tigers failed to capitalize on their good fortune and it wasn't long before Buffalo's Ray Rabou rumbled in from five yards out for the game's opening score, as the extra point made it 7-0 in favor of the Bison.
Midway through the second quarter, Buffalo struck again as quarterback Luke Glassock hooked up with Isaac Nicholson for a 12-yard scoring pass and it was 14-0.
Bad went to worse for Lander, as they were forced to punt on their next possession, only for the kick to be blocked after a bad snap and recovered by Buffalo's Caleb Jones for another score.
On the play, Velarde suffered a shoulder injury, which relegated him to the sidelines for the rest of the contest, adding injury to insult for the Tigers.
Buffalo added yet another touchdown before the first half ended, as Glassock hit Aaron Thiele for a four-yard score to make it 28-0 at the half.
The Tigers ran for 138 yards on the game, but it was the Bison who continued to stampede over the Lander defense all night, pounding out 294 yards on the ground.
According to Tigers head coach John Rounds, the visitors' ability to control the line of scrimmage was the critical factor in the outcome.
"Buffalo won the game in the trenches," said Rounds. "They were more physical at the point of attack."
It was a physicality which continued in the second half, as the Bison added one more touchdown in both the third and fourth quarters for the final margin.
Once the game was clearly out of reach, some young players got an opportunity to show what they had to contribute, as Ty Massey took over for starter Max Mazurie at quarterback and John Fawson got some carries out of the backfield.
"At that point, we wanted to get some of our younger kids some reps," said Rounds. "John ran the ball nice -- he's a quick kid."
Velarde is day-to-day with a shoulder injury, but perhaps more painful for Rounds and his club was the nature of how they lost the game, he said.
"It was disappointing," said Rounds. "It was a tough week for us, as some of our varsity starters missed practice with illness, so I had an uneasy feeling going into the game, but give Buffalo credit."
One player who stepped up in Velarde's absence was fullback Nathan Motherway, who carried 17 times for 77 yards, including a 23-yard run in the third quarter.
"Nathan was definitely a bright spot for us, especially after DeAundre got hurt," said Rounds. "He broke a number of tackles and we commended him on his efforts after the game."
Lander (1-5, 0-3 Class 3-A East) will travel to Douglas to face the Bearcats next Friday.
"We'll go right back to work getting ready for Douglas," said Rounds. "They're more spread out offensively, which we match up with better inside."
Buffalo 7 21 7 7 -- 42
Lander 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Buffalo - Rabou 5-yard run (Glassock kick).
Buffalo - Nicholson 12-yard pass from Glassock (Glassock kick), 6:16.
Buffalo - Jones punt block recovery (Glassock kick), 3:56.
Buffalo - Thiele 19-yard pass (Glassock kick), 1:25.
Buffalo - Thiele 4-yard pass from Glassock (Glassock kick ), 2:52.
Buffalo - Rabou 5-yard run (Glassock kick), 10:19.
Buffalo - Rabou 14-86, Jones 8-74, Ruby 5-52, Hatch 3-41, Lopez 3-26, Glassock 3-9, Waterson 2-4, Milmine 2-2.
Lander - Motherway 17-77, Velarde 7-25, Dempster 5-23, Fawson 5-16, Mazurie 4-10, Shakespeare 1-1, Massey, 2-(-14).
Buffalo - Glassock 8-9-0-77.
Lander - Mazurie 3-14-2-25, Massey1-8-0-12.
Buffalo - Thiele 4-43, Hatch 1-19, Nicholson 1-12, Swanston 1-6, Milmine 1-(-3).
Lander - Motherway 2-14, Coffee 1-12, Renner 1-11.