GREEN RIVER, WYOMING (September 11, 2020) – In an intense defensive battle, the Green River High School football team pulled out their first victory of the season in their home opener against the Buffalo High School Bison on Friday, 8-6.
“It’s nice to get that first one of the season, without a doubt. We got that monkey off our back and got in the win column. It feels real good. As far as the win goes, it’s all about the kids. They played their butts off,” said Green River head coach Kevin Cuthbertson, who also picked up his first victory as head coach of the Wolves.
“That’s one hard-nosed football team. Buffalo comes to play ball and they play ball for four quarters. There’s no quit in them. We had to battle them the whole. I’m happy with the way our kids responded to adversity. I’m proud that they battled for four quarters.”
The Bison got on the scoreboard first early in the opening quarter with 56-yard touchdown pass play. Buffalo went for the two-point conversion, but the Wolves defense made a critical stop to keep the offense out of the endzone.
The Wolves had struggled to move the ball down the field offensively until the end of the second quarter. With 51 seconds left in the first half, senior running back James King had a 10-yard rush to put the Wolves in the red zone on the four-yard line.
On third down with six seconds left, King navigated his way through the Buffalo defense to get into the end zone to tie the game at six with zero left on the scoreboard.
The Wolves lined up for a field goal attempt, but a bad snap caused senior kicker Oran Watts Pavey to pick up the football and look for other options. He was able to find senior wide receiver Kolby Ivie streaking in the end zone. Watts Pavey lobbed up the pass and Ivie pulled it down to convert the two-point play to give the Wolves an 8-6 lead going into halftime.
“It was a fire call,” Cuthbertson said. “We had a bad snap and it’s something that we’ve work on in practice just in case that happens. Oran was heads up. He took it off to the righthand side and looked exactly where he was supposed to and found Kolby in the endzone. We were lucky enough he was able to lob it up there and Kolby was able to go get it.”
Buffalo had a chance to take back the lead late in the third quarter. Green River senior quarterback Jachob Fuss was picked off at their own 30-yard line by Buffalo junior defensive back Anthony Peters, who returned the football to the Wolves’ 24-yard line with 3:26 left in the quarter.
With 1:47 remaining in the third, Buffalo sat on the Wolves’ goal line on third down. Buffalo senior running back Hyrum Hatch was stuffed at the goal line and the Wolves were able to force a fumble, which was recovered by senior Max Orr.
“Our defense rose up time and time again tonight,” Cuthbertson said. “They were pushed to the limits and they kept rising up and overcoming adversity. Right there at the goal line they stuffed them on first down. Second down, they come up with the big hit and we get the fumble recovery. It was a huge point in the game for us.”
King rushed for 103 yards on 28 carries for the Wolves, scoring a touchdown along the way. Fuss completed four of his 16 pass attempts for 40 yards. As a team, the Wolves managed to cause two turnovers on defense by recovering two Bison fumbles.
With the win, the Wolves improve to 1-1 on the season.
Cuthbertson, who played his high school football at Green River, was humble about grabbing his first win as head coach of his alma mater.
“It feels pretty good, but like I said, it’s not about me. It’s about these kids. I’m just happy and proud of them,” he said.
Green River travels to Worland on Friday, Sept. 18, to take on the Worland High School Warriors at 6 p.m.