Herders battle hard to the end, but fall short in last seconds

Tucker Bopp rushes through an opening in the Glenrock line to head up the field for a large gain in yardage.

By Dimitrios Dowse dowse@glenrockind.com

War Memorial Stadium roared with cheering fans as the rumble of thundersticks echoed throughout the massive stands that hold upwards of 30,000. Little did they know, the devout fans were in for an intense 2A State Football Championship battle against the Mountain View Buffalos Friday.
The game got off to a quick start, with the Herders (9-1) fighting from the opening kickoff. It didn’t take long for Glenrock to take an early lead following an 80 yard rush by Tucker Bopp to go up 7-0 early on.
Mountain View (8-2) responded by putting together a passing drive with a 75 yard touchdown to cap off the push near the end of the quarter to tie the game 7-7.
The Herders regained the lead early in the second quarter after picking up a 44 yard run from Bopp to lead 14-7.
Keeping the pressure on by putting up another touchdown Herder, Ian Arnold ran one in to bring the score to 21-7.
Fighting back, Mountain View returned the kickoff to the Glenrock 48 yard line and five plays later scored off a 13 yard carry by Kimball Madsen bringing the score back to a seven point difference, 21-14.
Payton Steinmetz helped keep the game in Glenrock’s favor when he ran back an 80 yard kickoff return with the help of some strong Herder blocking immediately following the Mountain View touchdown. Just before the halftime break, the Herders held a 28-14 lead.
Mountain View received the second half kickoff and in just over two minutes closed the gap by putting together a 71 yard drive with a good point after touchdown (PAT). 
Both teams stalled for the remainder of the third, with everyone struggling to score.
Mountain View took possession on their own 20 yard line with 9:18 left in the game.
After advancing to the Glenrock 36 and being held to a fourth and 10, Mountain View quarterback Kimball Madsen was able to connect a pass to Braeden Walk for a gain of 15 and a first down. Three plays later, the Buffalos were able to score on a short run and put the PAT through the uprights tying the game 28-28.
The Herders took possession and attempted a scoring drive, but the team’s offense failed to earn a first down.
After driving the length of the field, Mountain View was in scoring position with little time remaining in the game.
The score still tied.
Mountain View spiked the ball to stop the clock with 22 seconds left to play. An uneasy tension filled the stadium as fans braced for what was about to unfold.
The Herder defense hounded Madsen into another scramble, forcing an incomplete pass to bring Mountain View into a third down situation. The Madsen-Walk duo found a way to get in the end zone on a 12 yard pass play to go up 35-28, with only seven seconds remaining.
The Herders responded by going to the air for the first and only time of the day. The pass fell incomplete and the final seconds ticked off the clock to give the Mountain View Buffalos the Wyoming State 2A Championship title.
“Tough game, tough game,” head coach  Ray Kumpula said in the locker room following the loss. “We had it going and then they gained momentum against us and we couldn’t make the stops when we needed to.”
Despite the loss, the coach is happy with his athletes putting in the strong fight all season long.
“I’m super proud of my kids,” he added. “All I ask them to do is give it their best and leave it on the field. That’s what it’s all about.”
The game boiled down to who was going to make the plays down the stretch.
“I have to give it to Mountain View, they basically made the plays when they had to, and we weren’t able to do that. That was basically the difference,” Kumpula said.
With the season now drawing to a close, the Herders can start looking to next season and what they can do as a program.
“I thought we had a great season, we surprised a lot of people,” he concluded.


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