Last year the Lovell Bulldogs defeated the Lyman Eagles twice en route to an 11-0 season and Lovell High School’s second state football title, topping the Eagles 21-13 in the state championship game in Laramie.
Saturday, the Bulldogs and Eagles will meet for the fourth time in two years as they battle on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, and like last year’s second game, this one is for the title.
Kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Lyman edged Lovell 20-6 in Lyman back on week three of the season (Sept. 14) in a game that was a one-touchdown game until the Bulldogs allowed the Eagles to score late in hopes of scoring themselves, converting an on-side kick and then scoring again. It was their only hope as Lyman was running out the clock.
The Bulldogs on Saturday will be fighting to not be the two-game sweep victim the Eagles were a year ago.
“We’re pretty familiar with them, and they’re familiar with us,” coach Doug Hazen said. “We’ll do our normal thing. At this point we’re prepared to do anything. Lyman is a good football team, and this is for all the marbles.”
Like last year, both teams come into the games with high-powered offenses. After nine games (first round of playoffs), Lyman had the top offense in Class 2A with 378.8 yards per game, and Lovell was a close second and virtually tied at 378.3 yards per contest. Lovell, however, was averaging 9 yards per play, Lyman 7.3.
Lyman has been the top defensive team this season, allowing just 92.8 yards per game through nine games, and Lovell was third at 216.7 yards per contest – much of that in the second half against second- and third-string players.
Lyman’s top weapon is receiver Cisco Taylor (#1), who is fourth in the state in receiving at 56.7 yards per game and has 34 receptions for 510 yards and 11 touchdowns. Bobby Wingeleth (#33) has 17 catches for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Bransen Bradshaw (#44) has completed 79 of 130 passes (61 percent) for 1166 yards and 22 touchdowns, with 10 interceptions.
For Lovell, Dylan Hultgren has completed 54 of 96 passes (56 percent) for 957 yards with 18 touchdowns and just four interceptions (through nine games). Cody Savage is Hultgren’s top target with 19 receptions for 451 yards and nine touchdowns through the Glenrock game. Ryan Clark had 15 receptions for 148 yards and four TDs.
Dino Collins leads the state in rushing for the Bulldogs at 153.7 yards per game (playing less than half a game, on average), carrying 116 times for 1,383 yards and 20 touchdowns. Nathan Grant had 483 yards rushing after nine games on 43 attempts, with four touchdowns.
Quarterback Bradshaw has 109 attempts for 698 yards and 15 touchdowns to lead Lyman. Kyle Stokes (#2) is the top running back with 667 yards on 82 carries, scoring 10 touchdowns.
“Their strength is that they have a lot of depth,” Hazen said. “Their defense swarms the football, and they haven’t allowed a lot of points, I think three touchdowns total.
“They bottled us up in Lyman and we didn’t throw the ball really well. We had five turnovers and three were interceptions.
“It will be a heck of a game.”
By David Peck