LINGLE – The Lingle-Fort Laramie High School football team wrapped up the 2021 season with a 31-24 win over the Greybull Buffaloes on Friday evening at Kirk Field.
After starting the season 0-4, the Doggers won three of their last four games, but the team will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
“We had to do some growing up this year, and we did that,” LFL coach Brandon Gifford said. “I hope this will give us a little momentum and give us a bigger foundation to start from next year.”
On Friday evening, Lingle wanted to get off to a quick start, and that’s exactly what the Doggers did.
On the third play of the game, LFL forced and recovered a fumble near midfield. It took about a minute into their first drive for sophomore quarterback Nolan Spears to find freshman receiver Louden Bremer on a 44-yard touchdown pass.
It was the first of three scores in the quarter for the Doggers.
“We got off to a great start. It was what we wanted to be able to do,” Gifford said. “They made a few adjustments, and there were times where we lost our focus and stopped doing the basic assignment football.”
Coming off a muffed punt by Greybull, junior Slade Hopkins sprinted 21 yards for a touchdown with 7:37 left in the opening quarter to push the Dogger lead to 14-0.
Following another defensive stand by the Doggers, Hopkins added his second score of the game, this time on a 16-yard run.
Lingle added one more score with 7:53 left in the second quarter courtesy of a 22-yard field goal from freshman Elijah Hatch.
Two minutes later, Greybull punched in their first score of the game from 1-yard out.
It was the start of three consecutive scores by Greybull to tie the game at 24 early in the fourth quarter.
“We had a hard time moving the ball offensively after that, and momentum shifted, and credit Greybull, they made some plays and made it a ballgame down the stretch,” Gifford said. “It was nice to see our kids never panic. They continued to play football, and we told them they were going to have to grind a little bit.”
Lingle went back in front 31-24 with 7:24 left in the game on a 1-yard run by Hopkins. The go-ahead score was setup by a 70-yard run by Spears.
Spears led the Doggers in rushing 209 yards on 22 carries. More than 160 of those yards came in the fourth quarter. Hopkins added 72 yards on 14 attempts and three touchdowns. Spears was also 2-of-14 passing for 40 yards. Bremer was his top target for 44 yards and one score.
Despite the win and the late season surge by the young Dogger squad, LFL will miss the playoffs for the second straight season with a 3-5 record.
“We are losing only two seniors. We’ll have every starter back on the offense side of the ball and almost every starter back on the defensive side of the ball. It’s a good position to be in,” Gifford said. “We can’t just sit around and not get better this offseason. We need to make sure we continue to get better, or otherwise, we could get caught up again. We need to do the little things in the offseason.”