ARAPAHOE – Going into Friday’s opener, the Lingle-Fort Laramie High School football team faced the tall task of a four-hour bus ride to St. Stephens High School. Getting off the bus ready to perform was a point of emphasis for the Doggers heading into the game.
It wasn’t an issue as LFL took advantage of many short-field opportunities, capitalizing on the advantage to the tune of a 71-0 win over the St. Stephens Eagles.
“The kids looked good. They came out ready to play and focused,” coach Brandon Gifford said. “The score proves that. We just played very well.”
Over the course of the game, the Doggers scored in all three facets of the game, including offense, defense and special teams.
In all, six LFL players found the end zone in the blowout.
LFL was strong out of the gates with 35 first-quarter points.
“I don’t know if we took a snap on our side of the field,” Gifford said. “We had really short fields to work with. Our defense scored two touchdowns. We had a kick returned for a touchdown. The short fields, being able to score in all three phases is really the reason why the score looks the way it looks.”
The Doggers tallied only 198 yards of offense – 130 on the ground and 68 through the air.
Senior Slade Hopkins led Lingle with 66 yards rushing on three attempts, scoring twice. Sophomore Louden Bremer led the team with three touchdowns, including an 80-yard kickoff return for a score, a pick six and a receiving touchdown.
Senior quarterback Brian McCoid threw only once in the game, which went for a 14-yard touchdown to Bremer. The remainder of the passing yards came courtesy of freshman Brady Cook who was 4-for-6 passing and one touchdown.
Defensively, sophomore Kaden Riggs paced the team with 16 defensive points, including two interceptions and a pass break-up. Hadley Fleming tallied eight assisted tackles, while Cooper Fauber had four solo stops.
The big win also allowed the Doggers to get some younger players some key varsity experience early in the season.
“That’s huge having depth, especially trying to make a deep playoff run,” Gifford said. “In order to do that, you have to have depth. Getting young guys playing time is how you build the depth. Anytime we can get those young guys in there and get varsity snaps, it’s going to make a huge difference late in October.”
Now, Lingle (1-0) turns its attention to the 1A 9-Man East Conference play on Friday evening when they travel to Lusk to face the Niobrara County (0-1).
“We know them well. We know what they are going to run,” Gifford said. “The thing about Lusk, no matter what personnel they have, they are going to get off the ball. They are going to fire, and they are going to go downhill. They are going to try to bully you, run you over and wear you down. That’s been their MO since I’ve been in Lingle.”
Gifford added the key to the game will be at the line of scrimmage.
“We have to match them physically, and if we can do that, I like our gameplan on offense and we’ll have a chance to be successful.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“In order to even get to the playoffs, we have to win our conference games. This is the first one out of the gate, and Lusk is always a quality opponent. Getting a win there would catapult us and gives us another layer of confidence moving forward.”