Green River Star -

By David Martin

Wolves advance to semi-finals

Returns to Jackson Hole Fri.


Photo courtesy of Alex Shoemaker/The Buffalo Bulletin

Candon Croft moves away from a Buffalo defender Friday night during the Wolves' first playoff contest against the Bison in Buffalo.

A hard-fought 24-20 victory in Buffalo Friday night gives the Wolves a chance for payback in Jackson Hole in the semifinal round of playoff games for the 3A State Football Championship.

The Jackson Hole Broncs defeated the Wolves earlier this year in Jackson. The Broncs are the higher-seeded team going into the game and will host the Wolves a second time at William T. McIntosh Stadium. The Broncs remain undefeated this year, coming off of a 44-21 win over Riverton last week in a contest also hosted in Jackson.

Head coach Don Maggi said they're going into Jackson with a fair idea of what to expect, but believes the Broncs will have a few new tricks ready for them on the field.

However, the possibility of a few new strategies is something that won't deter the Wolves, who have adjusted their play during the past few weeks as well.

"We're trying to mix it up and use the players' different talents. As a result, we've had more success lately," Maggi said.

This is the first time Jackson and Green River will face in a playoff game. The last time Green River reached the playoffs was during the 2012 season, where they were defeated in the second round.

The winner will face the winner of the game between Torrington and Star Valley in the championship match at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

For the team, their playoff berth represents an entire season of hard work, though Maggi is quick to point out some of the players have worked hard for years to reach the playoffs.

Friday night in Buffalo

The Wolves battled hard against the Bison throughout the entire game, as well as against frequent penalties issued against both teams.

The Wolves' first drive resulted in a touchdown that was called back and an interception at the goal line for the Bison. After the Green River defense held off the Bisons' initial drive, the Wolves were able to score the first points of the night on an 18-yard Drew Wilson running play. A successful PAT gave the Wolves a lead with 4:06 left in the first quarter.

Buffalo responded to the Wolves' score with one of their own in the second quarter. However, Wilson blocked the PAT attempt and kept the Wolves in the lead.

That lead ended later in the quarter after a second score and successful PAT by the Bison resulted in a 6-point deficit for the Wolves. With less than a minute left in the half, Green River took the ball to the Bison 36-yard line on a drive with plays from Wilson, Tyler Vendetti and Candon Croft. Unable to secure a touchdown by the end of the half, the Wolves' opted for a field goal from Chance Hofer to close half at 14-10. In the second half, Green River was able to take the lead after a touchdown from Croft and Vendetti. With the successful PAT, Green River took the lead 17-13 after a 77-yard, 10-play possession. However, the Bison came back and scored a touchdown and PAT early in the fourth quarter, with 11:08 left in the game.

The Wolves scored their final touchdown and PAT of the game with 7:51 remaining. The Wolves later took possession of the ball after a failed Bison fourth-down attempt, sealing the game for Green River.


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