Grizzlies blast NSI

It wasn’t a bad way to start the season.

The Rocky Mountain Grizzlies showed they are reloading rather than rebuilding this season as they pounded on the Normative Services Wolves Friday evening in Sheridan, 51-12.

“We have new players at new positions,” coach David Hayes said, “but we’re learning and getting better. Our goal is to get better every week.”

NSI actually scored first on a long pass play and led 6-0, Hayes said, but the Grizzlies responded with a 34-yard run by Derik Romero and a 12-yard touchdown pass on a screen play from freshman quarterback Kirby Winland to Romero. Rocky led 14-6.

Romero scored again before the end of the first quarter, this time scooping up a fumble and racing 50 yards for a touchdown. The Grizz led 21-6 after the first quarter.

Rocky didn’t score in the second quarter and gave up another long touchdown pass on fourth and one with just 15 seconds to go in the first half. Rocky led 21-12 at halftime.

The Grizz exploded for four touchdowns in the third quarter: a two-yard run by Logan Friedly, a 26-yard scamper by Romero, a three-yard run by Bryce Ward and an eight-yard run by Friedly. Rocky led 45-12 after three.

Jake Jones wrapped up the scoring with a one-yard run in the fourth quarter.

All in all, it was a good night for the Grizzlies, Hayes said, noting that Winland played well in his high school debut at quarterback.

“Kirby showed some real strong promise directing the team,” Hayes said. “He was poised, and he played well.

“Our running back by committee showed promise. We have new linemen at the varsity level, and we changed up some things from the Cody JV game. We showed signs of coming off the ball and blocking well.”

Winland completed five of 11 passes for 66 yards, hitting Friedly twice for 31 yards and Brandon Altman once for 20 yards, Romero once for 12 and Jones once for 3 yards.

Romero led the team with 92 yards rushing on seven carries. Jones added 87 yards on 12 carries, Friedly 67 yards on 10 carries and Ward 59 yards on six attempts. Wilson Flowers added 5 yards on one carry, Winland 7 yards on four attempts. The Grizz gained 308 yards on the ground.

NSI finished with 114 yards passing and 62 rushing.

Middle linebacker Caleb Estes led the Grizzlies with 23 defensive points on five assisted tackles, five unassisted stops, one tackle for a loss and one interception. End Brady Penman added 20 points, linebacker Romero 17 points, robber Flowers 15 points and linebacker Jones 12.

“This week we’ll work on being crisp and carrying out our blocks and our general assignments,” Hayes said, “what we want to do defensively and offensively.”

Chiefs to town

The Grizzlies will host the Wyoming Indian High School Chiefs in their home and conference opener Friday at 4 p.m. The Chiefs fell to Pine Bluffs 35-0 at home Friday but will no doubt be much improved this week, Hayes said.

“We don’t want to look ahead,” he said. “We want to concentrate on Wyoming Indian and play hard. I anticipate them coming and playing hard, too.”

The Rocky Mountain freshmen hosted Riverside Saturday and fell to the Rebels 22-6.

By David Peck