Glenrock hammers Big Piney, rematch set with Mountain View

Mike Moore photos
Tucker Bopp reaches across the goal line to finish off a 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Glenrock’s 45-0 quarterfinal win over Big Piney. The Herders will travel to face Mountain View in the 2A semifinal on Friday night for a chance to return to the state championship. 

Eddie Poe

It had been 358 days since Glenrock last faced the Big Piney Punchers.
After a dominant win over Lovell in last year’s quarterfinals, the Herders stayed on their home field and outlasted the Punchers in the 2A semifinal 30-27 to advance to the state championship. This year, Big Piney returned to Glenrock one week earlier with the same failed hope of keeping their season alive. It was also a trip of redemption.
Despite just an 11-0 lead before a hometown crowd at halftime this year, Glenrock put any doubts of another close game to rest early in the second half. They erupted for 34 points and shutout Big Piney 45-0 in true blowout fashion.
Against the third-best defense in the conference, the Herders used a combination of speed and athleticism to literally run over the Punchers. Ian Arnold added 121 rushing yards to his conference-leading total Friday night. He now has a 1,355 yards on the season and 15 touchdowns. His TD mark is tied with teammate Tucker Bopp and Briggin Bluemel of Mountain View in the conference.
The love was shared around the rest of the backfield, too.
Bopp rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns, Payton Steinmetz carried the ball for 42 yards and a touchdown, and Zane Moore contributed 10 yards of his own on the ground with a score. On special teams, Steinmetz added a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown and recovered a kickoff as Big Piney fell asleep. Defensively, Glenrock recovered two fumbles and picked off three Kaden Raza passes, including an interception by Dawson Blaylock.
“A lot of it has been our speed and conditioning,” Blaylock said about the change in outcome from last year’s close win. “It was a pretty slow game up until halftime. We came out with the same speed in the second half, and I think they were just wearing down much more than we were.”
If you asked Big Piney, they likely wouldn’t dispute it.
Even after Bopp went full steam into the end zone to take a 31-0 lead, Glenrock kept its foot on the pedal and continued to exhaust the Punchers on the ground. After a turnover to begin the fourth quarter, Moore called his own number and scampered into the end zone to quiet Big Piney once more.
“I think this year has been more about technique rather than strength like it was last year,” lineman Urian Moreno said, pointing to Glenrock’s vast improvement on the offensive line. “We’ve got more speed and I think that’s been a big contribution to that.”
The Herders will travel to Mountain View on Friday night for a chance to return to the state championship. It’ll be a rematch of last year’s title game in Laramie and a matchup of the top overall offense and defense.
At War Memorial Stadium last November, the Buffaloes held on to beat Glenrock 35-28 in a dog fight. Blaylock said the Herders shut last year’s bitter loss out of their memory banks pretty quickly, but now they will undoubtedly be using it as motivation on Friday.
“I feel like we’re in a better position this year because of how hard everyone wants it because we lost to them last year,” he said.
“All of us are ready,” Moreno added. “This week will be a way to get revenge for last year. We’re more focused this week to make sure that happens.”
Glenrock and Mountain View will kickoff at 2 p.m. Friday at Clarence Lammers Stadium with the winner advancing to the state championship in Laramie the following weekend.


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