An eight-game winning streak, a conference championship and advancing to the state semifinals caught the attention of coaches this year, who voted nine members of the Lovell Bulldogs football team to the 2A West All-Conference team announced this week.
Four of the nine Bulldogs were also named to the Class 2A All-State team, and four additional players earned second-team all-conference honors.
Lovell (8-2) opened the season with a non-conference loss at Big Horn, won seven in a row including six conference games, and beat Thermopolis in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Glenrock in the state semifinals, 13-10 in overtime.
“Obviously, we were really fortunate as far as all-conference selections go,” coach Doug Hazen said. “Typically, when you win the conference you have a lot of good players, which we did.”
Hazen was named the co-2A Conference Coach of the Year, along with Marty Wrage of Greybull.
Named all-state for the Bulldogs were seniors Beau Green, Nic Haskell and Konner Davis, and junior Jaret Collins. Green was named for the second consecutive season.
Joining the quartet on the all-conference first team were senior Merrill Beck and juniors Riley Abraham, Trace Murphey, Brandon Teter and Tyler Teter.
Earning second-team all-conference notice were seniors Kenneth Powell and Jacob Winterholler and juniors Kade Gifford and Kaleb Mayes.
Quarterback Green was third in Class 2A this year in all-purpose yardage with 1,875 yards, according to Wyopreps.com. The senior completed 72 of 168 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns, with only three interceptions, and he rushed for 783 yards and nine touchdowns on 145 attempts, a 5.4-yard average.
On defense, Green was third on the team in defensive stats with 121 points in 10 games as a safety, with 57 tackles (22 solo), seven pass breakups and four interceptions.
“Beau meant a ton to this team,” Hazen said. “He was a team captain and was the first three-year starter at quarterback I’ve coached. He was a guy who kind of rallied the troops. He’s been there and played in big games before. He set the tempo in practice.
“He commanded our offense really well. He ran the ball extra hard this year and emerged as a real running threat. When we moved him to safety, that’s when we began to take off defensively. He played the run as well as the pass.”
Haskell was a huge presence at 6-9, 215, and excelled as a tight end and defensive end. He caught 17 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 13.4 yards per catch, and on defense he recorded 83 defensive points with 46 tackles (eight solo), six tackles for a loss and three sacks.
“Nic, unfortunately, missed part of the (early) season, and we could tell the difference when we were without him,” Hazen said. “Teams had a really hard time running to his side of the field, and offensively, he emerged as one of our major receiving threats.
“We didn’t get the ball to him enough early in the season, partly because he was hurt, but he made several key catches in a number of games late in the season. He was really a positive leader. This was one of those special teams for me. They worked hard, didn’t complain and went out and did their best. They were the consummate team. This senior group has re-set the tone for us.”
Collins was named the 2A West Lineman of the Year. The junior was a force at 6-2/280 and was fourth on the team in defensive points as a tackle, which Hazen said was amazing. Collins finished the season with 118 defensive points, recording 77 tackles (seven solo), six tackles for a loss and three sacks. He was the team’s right guard on offense.
“Jaret was the lineman of the year and deservedly so,” Hazen said. “He was a force for us on both sides of the ball. We pull a lot and ran specific plays with Jaret as the lead blocker. Defensively, he clogged up the middle and was a force inside.”
Davis emerged this season as a strong all-around player, playing both outside and inside linebacker on defense and tight end and fullback on offense. The senior led the Bulldogs in defensive points with 143, recording 96 tackles (23 solo), six tackles for a loss and three pass breakups. He backed up and filled in for Haskell at tight end and Abraham at fullback.
“Konner did every single thing you could ask of any player,” Hazen said. “He played injured and played in multiple different spots. When he was in there (on offense) we never took a step back. He gutted through a lot of things and never missed a game.
“If you could have 100 kids like Konner Davis you’d have a very successful football program. He was a joy to coach.”
Beck started at left guard on offense and both tackle and end on defense. The senior was sixth on the team with 102 defensive points, finishing the season with 65 tackles (15 solo), three tackles for a loss, a sack and two fumble recoveries.
“Merrill was another kid with a great work ethic,” Hazen said. “He wasn’t the biggest kid or the strongest kid, but he was very effective at all of the positions he played. He had a great attitude. You can be successful with a lot of players like Merrill.”
Hard-hitting junior Abraham started at fullback and outside linebacker for the Bulldogs, finishing second on the team in defensive points with 138 and recording 77 tackles (17 solo) on the season, with five tackles for a loss, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, an interception, a sack and a blocked kick. He carried the ball 44 times for 213 yards, a 4.8-yard average, and scored four touchdowns. He also caught seven passes for 174 yards, leading the team with a 24.9-yard average on receptions.
“He made a tremendous number of plays on defense and is a kid who, for whatever reason, finds himself in the right place at the right time. He’s not flashy but is a very good football player.
“He’s a great blocker, and when you give him the football he makes plays and is a good pass-catcher out of the backfield. He does everything very fundamentally well.”
Murphey was a standout on the line on both sides of the ball, starting at right tackle on offense and right defensive end. He recorded 56 tackles, five solo, with two tackles for a loss and a sack.
“Trace is a really quiet kid and another one who flies under the radar, but he’s an outstanding offensive lineman,” Hazen said of the 6-5, 245-pound junior. “He and Jaret were both on the right side, and that made for a very large side of the line for us. I’m really excited to get both of them back next year.
“On defense Trace got better and better as the year went on as he understood what we expected from him. His physicality improved.”
Brandon Teter started at wide receiver and cornerback for the Bulldogs. The versatile junior led the Bulldogs with 24 receptions for 433 yards and five touchdowns, an average of 18 yards per catch, and he carried the ball 41 times for 195 yards and four TDs, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He also returned 13 punts for 94 yards and 12 kickoffs for 204 yards. Teter was the team’s punter and kicker. He also completed one of two pass attempts for 15 yards.
On defense, Teter recorded 40 tackles including 14 solo tackles and had eight pass breakups, two tackles for a loss and two interceptions.
“Brandon was very versatile,” Hazen said. “He stepped in at running back and was our backup quarterback. He’s an extremely athletic kid. The sky’s the limit for him as far as how good he can be. He was a fixture at wide receiver, the kind of kid you want to get the ball to in different ways.
“He was our left corner (on defense), the right side for an offense. Most teams are right-handed, but he was a kid teams tried to throw away from. He was a playmaker for us on both sides of the ball.”
Twin brother Tyler Teter was the starter at running back and middle linebacker for the Bulldogs this season, though he missed some time due to injury. Ty Teter led the team with 839 yards rushing on 165 carries, a 5.1-yard average, with 10 touchdowns. On defense, he recorded 67 tackles, 13 solo, and had a pair of pass breakups.
“Ty had an excellent year,” Hazen said. “He was bunged up with turf toe for a time but early in the season we didn’t know what kind of team we’d be but hit our stride when we started running the ball with Ty. Physically, he surprised some teams. He’s a hard runner, a downhill runner. On defense he patrolled the middle of the defense and gave us some backbone in there. He could cover a lot of ground.”
Senior Kenneth Powell was one of the four second-team all-conference players for the Bulldogs. He played some left tackle on offense and started on both the defensive line and at linebacker.
“Based on need, we moved him to inside linebacker (when Ty Teter got hurt), and he stayed there,” Hazen said. “He was a really important part of our defense. He not only excelled but made the change willingly. His learning curve was steep, but he learned fast and did a great job.”
Powell finished fifth on the team in defensive points, recording 68 tackles, 17 of them solo, with two tackles for a loss and a pair of sacks.
Fellow senior Jacob Winterholler anchored the Lovell offensive line at center and also played some defensive line this season, Hazen said.
“The center is a very important position,” the coach said. “Jacob was very consistent with what he was asked to do. He was a very important part of the offense that people take for granted. He communicated well with the other linemen and his quarterback.”
Junior Kaleb Mayes played some wide receiver and tight end on offense but really made an impact on defense at cornerback, giving Lovell two (with Brandon Teter) talented corners. He finished the season with 36 tackles, 19 of them solo stops, had two interceptions and led the team with 11 pass breakups.
“Kaleb found a home at corner,” Hazen said. “We had two long and lanky corners, which was a luxury to have. He got to know the position and what we expected of him. We were searching for a cornerback, and he solidified the position this year. He got some valuable reps on offense and will play an integral role next year.”
Junior Kade Gifford was another big and strong (5-11, 250) lineman for the Bulldogs this season, seeing a lot of time at left tackle on offense and left defensive tackle, as well.
“Kade came out late this year but thankfully decided to come out,” Hazen said. “He made the most of his opportunity. We had needs at certain positions and at times Kade was a two-way starter for us. He got a lot of playing time and a lot of experience. My goodness, we have a lot of big bodies back on the defensive line next year with Trace, Jaret and Kade.”
Green was also named to the Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 squad as a second-team player, and Brandon Teter was named to the Super 25 third team.
Hazen also noted the contribution of seniors Britton Woody and Shawn Mollett as co-captains with Green and Haskell.
“They set the tone, like the other seniors,” he said. “They got the guys working hard with a good attitude and the right approach. They were coachable and committed.”
Hazen said team awards announced last week included Green
as team most valuable player, Collins as defensive MVP and Ty Teter as offensive MVP.
By David Peck