2A semifinal preview: Big Horn at Lovell

BIG HORN — The Big Horn Rams are halfway there in their dethroning the Lovell, Lyman two-year reign atop 2A football.

The Rams blew by Lyman in last week’s 2A quarterfinal, 52-14, and move on to the team that knocked them out of the 2A semis a year ago when they travel to Lovell for a 6 p.m. Friday kickoff.

Big Horn entered that 2012 semi undefeated and literally untouched, having won all but one of their games by double digits. After building a two-score lead, Lovell rushed back amid Ram turnovers to steal the title berth. The Bulldogs lost to Lyman in Laramie.

The Rams will tell you they aren’t thinking about that this week.

More recently, Big Horn and Lovell played a shortened, week zero game this fall, and Big Horn jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the scrimmage. Head coach Michael McGuire said it will be important for his team not to think on games played a year or even 10 weeks ago.

“It’s very important, they’re a different team now than they were in week zero, as are we,” McGuire said. “They are an undefeated football team who is much improved from when we saw them last time.”

It wasn’t so long ago that Big Horn found the top of 2A football. They won consecutive championships in 2003-04, and they played for a title in 2010.

“We know this game is going to be a battle for all four quarters,” he said. “Our focus is on what do we have to do to be successful Friday.”

As Big Horn was the season’s only unbeaten last year when they hosted Lovell, at 9-0 Lovell is the only remaining undefeated team in 2A. Lovell fought off Wheatland 28-18 last week.

The Bulldogs provide a well-balanced attack on offense. Ethan Egle is sixth in rushing yards per game in 2A with 113.6 ypg., just ahead of Big Horn’s Colter Carzoli in eighth with 111.2 ypg. Lovell’s Beau Green is fourth behind Connor McCafferty in third in passing stats, tossing 15 TDs to nine interceptions this season.

“They are very multiple so we must be sound and execute our calls, play with passion, and be great in our fundamentals.”

Lovell’s ability to stop the long-shot will be put to the ultimate test Friday when Big Horn and their No. 1-ranked offense come to town.

The Rams win over Lyman came with several long touchdowns from their “big 3” — or the breakaway ability of wideout Christian Mayer, running back Colter Carzoli and quarterback Connor McCafferty.

McCafferty’s ultra-efficient season continues as he has been a part of 37 of the Rams 53 touchdowns this year. He’s thrown for 26 while tossing just two interceptions and run for 11 more.

“Lovell has done a good job of not giving up big plays,” McGuire said. “We will have to execute at a high level and take what they give. If we do that we can be successful.”

The Big Horn-Lovell winner gets the winner of Thermopolis-Mountain View on the Nov. 15 2A state title game in Laramie at War Memorial Stadium.

By the numbers
Big Horn at Lovell, Friday at 6 p.m.

Rushing
4. Big Horn 232.6 ypg./7. Lovell 202.0 ypg
Passing
3. Big Horn 174.8 ypg./5. Lovell 137.8 ypg
Total offense
1. Big Horn 407.3 ypg./ 6. Lovell 339.8 ypg.
Rush defense
6. Big Horn 159.7 ypg./9. Lovell 177.9
Pass defense
10 Lovell 117.7 ypg./ 12. Big Horn 120.0 ypg.
Total defense
7. Big Horn 279.7 ypg./ 8. Lovell 295.6
Turnover margin
Big Horn +14/Lovell +3

About

Brad Estes

Sheridan Press sports editor

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