Postgame Thoughts: Lyman Soars From 13-0 Deficit to Win 14-13

Postgame Thoughts: Lyman Soars From 13-0 Deficit to Win 14-13

SweetwaterNOW photo, Jayson Klepper

LYMAN – The Lyman Eagles faced a tough challenge in this year’s quarterfinals going against the other convocation of Eagles with Tongue River coming to town. Lyman was down 13-0 at the half but rallied back to win 14-13

Here are some postgame thoughts on the game:

No.1 Rushing Team Vs. No.1 Defense

The Lyman Eagles came into this week hosting the best ground game in the state, averaging 261 yards per game in the regular season. This complemented Lyman’s defensive unit well which was fourth in the state overall, only allowing 209 yards of total offense per game. This would be almost double Tongue River’s.

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Tongue River was overlooked for most of the season. The team didn’t get much media attention all season and coaches never ranked in the top three teams in the state. Their defense was amazing though. They only game up 71 passing yards and 64 rushing yards per game, which were both best in the state. The 64 rushing yards per game was seconded by Torrington at just 94. This helped lead them to a 7-2 record on the season with their only two losses coming from Big Horn which was the first seed in the east and Torrington, the second seed.

Starting Slow

Lyman came into the game with a lot of momentum after claiming the second seed in a 12-0 victory over Cokeville in week eight. This momentum stayed with the team but didn’t result in points in the first half.

Lyman would have multiple opportunities inside the red zone but would be held in check by Tongue River. Lyman played a solid first half defensively as well, forcing a turnover on an impressive interception by Sam Gregory but again the Eagles failed to capitalize. Tongue River gained some momentum in the latter half of the second quarter and would score on both of their last two drives and make it a 13-0 ball game after a blocked PAT.

This blocked PAT would prove to be a game-changer.

Tale of Two Halfs

After being held scoreless in the first half the Lyman Eagles had to find something on offense to get back into this game while also keeping Tongue River at bay. In their first drive of the second half, they would lean on Gregory, who had the interception on defense in the first half. He would have 89 yards rushing in the second half alone and give his team their first score of the game and make it 13-6 after failing a two-point try. This would shift the momentum back in Lyman’s favor and the defense started to thrive.

After holding Tongue River and forcing their second straight punt, Lyman got the ball back and started to march down the field. They would get the ball all the way down near the 10-yard marker but Tongue River made a great play and forced the ball lose on a QB sneak.

Lyman’s defense kept its composure and forced a third straight punt on a three and out.

Tongue River’s defensive unit also started to get things going again and force a three and out of their own and made Lyman punt it back with just seven minutes left on the clock and Lyman was still down seven.

A drive that could end the game if Tongue River played their cards right ended up being the turning point Lyman needed. On the first play after the punt by Lyman, the Eagles defense forced a fumble and Kyse Hurdsman fell on it to give Lyman the ball on Tongue River’s 34-yard line. Lyman’s stadium erupted.

Lyman now had just under seven minutes to drive 34 yards and potentially tie the game. They started off strong and got the ball inside the 20 but faced a fourth and four on the 13 and just under four minutes left to go. After taking a timeout to think it over, Head Coach Dale Anderson decided to go for it and pulled out a trick play. Carter Bradshaw lined up under center for what seemed to be a QB sneak but tossed it back to Hurdsman and he pulled the ball down and lobed it to Caleb Smith, who caught it and ran for the touchdown.

The score now sat at 13-12 and Lyman was still down. Coach Anderson decided he wanted to go for the win now and sent his offensive unit back out there. After forcing an offsides penalty, Bradshaw ran it in for the two-point conversion and gave his team a 14-13 lead with 3:40 left to go.

Lyman would force a three and out and another punt before successfully running the clock out for the 14-13 win.

Klepper’s Game Ball 🏈

Today’s game ball goes out to the coaching staff

It took great leadership from the top down to rally from a 13-point deficit and the guts of this coaching staff didn’t go unnoticed this week

The trust they had in these kids to make the play when it counted was something we don’t see from every team.

Great job to Coach Anderson and his staff!

– Klepper

Mountain View Buffalos Stay Undefeated

In other Bridger Valley news, the Mountain View Buffalos continued their flawless season by defeating Wheatland. With this victory, the Buffalos improved to 10-0 on the season and will host Torrington next week.

Looking Ahead

The Lyman Eagles head up to Big Horn next week for a semifinals rematch to take on the team that sent them home last year. Big Horn is also the state’s defending champions.