As if the Buffalo High School Bison football team wasn’t lights out enough on offense and defense Friday night in Thermopolis, the actual lights themselves went out at the Hot Springs County football stadium and cast a pretty dark shadow over the Bobcats as they struggled early and often with the Bison.
Bison quarterback Luke Glassock was nearly perfect through the air and the Buffalo rushing attack racked up 153 yards as BHS kicked off conference play with a convincing 47-16 2A East conference win over Hot Springs County High School, despite a lack of lighting in the southwest corner of the stadium.
“They only had one light working over there,” Bison coach Rob Hammond said. “It was pretty dark in that corner. I guess we are pretty lucky here with our stadium.”
The win puts the Bison at 1-0 in conference play and 1-1 on the young season.
This one was basically over before it began.
The Bobcats fumbled on their first possession and the Bison wasted no time capitalizing. Glassock hit Aaron Thiele for a 25-yard scoring lob and the punishment was just beginning.
A shifty run from Cody Milmine set up another scoring connection from Glassock to Thiele on Buffalo’s next possession, this one a 35-yard strike.
“We wanted to work on pass protection and our power blocking scheme,” Hammond said. “When we get outside, we wanted the blocking to be better, too. Those were all big improvements.”
Buffalo led 13-0 just minutes into the first quarter after they had converted one of two extra points.
Thiele finished with two catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Glassock would finish eight of nine for 172 yards and four touchdowns before the night was over.
The Bobcats couldn’t get out of their own way throughout the opening stanza. This after falling big to 1A Big Horn 43-0 the previous week.
Milmine had another strong gain on a pass from Glassock after Buffalo took their next possession. The senior QB then found Milmine on a screen that went 30 yards for a score. After the 2-point conversion from Mason Moon to Jace Skovgard, the Bison led 21-0 with plenty of time left in the first quarter.
Milmine finished with four catches for 81 yards and a score. He also averaged over 5 yards per carry on three rushes.
The Bobcats continued their offensive struggles as Buffalo took control late in the first. It didn’t take long for the Bison ground game to get into the scoring column.
Rowen Ruby avoided tacklers for a 40-yard touchdown run with 1:48 to go in the first. The extra point made it 28-0.
A 6-yard touchdown run by Ruby stretched the lead to 35-0 early in the second frame.
“We just aren’t at that point in the season where we can start subbing in the backups so early in the games. Everyone needs to get their reps,” Hammond said. “And Thermopolis has some talent. I still think they are going to end up being a playoff team.”
The Bobcats started to put together a drive in the second and ended up threatening in Bison territory.
An interception by Dawson Hatch, however, followed by a long touchdown return diminished any hope for a first half Bobcats score. Hatch’s return was unofficially 90 yards, and after the missed extra point Buffalo led 41-0 heading into halftime.
Hatch added a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. The junior finished with 50 yards rushing on six carries and was two of three passing for 13 yards.
The Bobcats eventually scored late in the third and added some scoring in the fourth, but it was well out of hand before the home team found the end zone.
“We got better from last week and I think it showed,” Hammond said. “It’s tough when you get down early. Thermopolis needs to believe they can win when it happens. It’s happened to all of us.”
The Bison will stay in conference Friday night with a home game against Burns. The Broncs should have a little more life than the Bobcats.
Burns is 2-0 on the season with a 46-6 win over 1A Wright and 41-30 conference victory over Moorcroft.
“Burns has a lot of good athletes and a quarterback that does a good job throwing the ball,” Hammond said. “They are going to come out and do a lot of similar things to what our team is doing this year. We had to get better up front which we did. Having a lot of sophomores come in and play well last week also gives us a lot of confidence. We’ll come out and play well.”