The Buffalo High School Bison coaches and players wanted a more game-like atmosphere for this year’s scrimmage against Worland to get as ready as possible for their week one matchup with Douglas. After four quarters of dominating the Warriors Saturday at BHS, it looks like the Bison are more than ready as they head to Bearcat country on Friday.
The Bison pushed the 3A Warriors around the field all afternoon and cruised to a convincing win, with only a few holes to shore up before the official kickoff to the season.
“Up front we were dominant,” coach Rob Hammond said. “Worland brought in a whole different offense and our defensive line didn’t give them anything. Our offensive line had their way opening up some good holes.”
The physical Bison defense made a statement right away, forcing a quick three-and-out for the Warriors and a punt.
The offensive line opened up huge gaps for Rowen Ruby as the senior speedster reeled off consecutive big runs for the Bison offense. A Mason Moon touchdown pass to Dawson Hatch capped the first drive on first and goal to give Buffalo a quick lead. The extra point made it 7-0 and the Bison were rolling.
Buffalo forced another three-and-out on the following Warriors possession. The Bison offense then again ran all over the Worland defense on their way to the red zone. Worland would eventually stop the bleeding with an interception, but after taking over on offense the Warriors again ran into the stout Bison defense.
The Warriors could do nothing against the Bison and eventually gave the ball back on a high snap that rolled through the end zone for a safety to put Buffalo up 9-0.
After the kickoff and three straight first down runs for the Bison, however, the Warriors recovered a fumble near the goal line for Buffalo’s second turnover in the red zone.
“We hate to turn the ball over in the red zone, but it’s zero week and those things are going to happen,” Hammond said. “If the pass was just a little more on target the receiver is going to skip into the end zone. If that fumble doesn’t happen, that’s another definite touchdown. That’s just something we’ll work on and as the season wears on those things will get cleaned up.”
The fumble, however, didn’t give the Warriors any momentum.
Dallas Lopez and Anthony Graves combined for a sack on the Worland quarterback for a loss of 15 yards. Graves followed that up with another sack before Dakota Lopez picked off the Warriors after a tipped pass.
Hatch and Ruby then commenced to carving up the Worland defense en route to a Ruby score that put the Bison up 16-0 and in complete command.
The defense again stepped up to stop Worland on a fourth and three on their next possession.
After another Bison defensive stop, Moon found Taylor Swanston for a long pass and catch for another Buffalo touchdown to put the Bison up 23-0 with 23 seconds to go in the half.
Swanston had a big day on both sides of the ball and filled the gap nicely left by Luke Glassock in the kicking game. Swanston was perfect on every extra point and looked as if he could have knocked them all in from long distance.
The JV squad came in and picked up where the varsity left off in the second half as any questions about the Buffalo backups were answered emphatically.
Hunter Stone was solid at QB and flustered the Warrior offense when he took the field on defense. Jace Skovgard was everywhere on defense, as was sophomore Ben Camino who knocked down a fourth down Worland pass to force a turnover on downs and hauled off quality gains at running back.
Kael Kennedy had a solid effort for the Bison defense as well.
“We didn’t want to test our depth this early, but we were really happy with how the backups came in and played,” Hammond said. “So many guys stepped up and played well on the offensive line and on defense.”
Buffalo’s final score came on a Stone read option and keeper as he dragged a host of defenders across the goal line to put the Bison up 30-0.
Worland would eventually score late as the Bison went deep into the roster, but it didn’t seem to put a damper on a big day for a Bison team that had to replace so much from last season.
“Nobody got hurt which is really good. We have a couple of things to work on, but that is to be expected,” Hammond said. “Overall we were really happy with how things went. We were dominant on both sides of the line, but we face Douglas this week who is dominant in that area as well. It should be fun.”
The Bison will travel to former 3A rival Douglas on Friday. The Bearcats squeaked by the Bison 7-0 last year at BHS in Buffalo’s lone loss of the season.