Oct 13, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe Tigers are 2-4 on the season, but both wins are in the East 3-A conference.
A suffocating defense lifted the Lander Tigers to a 21-0 victory Friday night over the Buffalo Bison on the football field at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
Buffalo finished the game with just 50 yards of offense.
Jess Oldham, Jack Mazurie and Jaxon Hedges scored a touchdown apiece for Lander's offense.
"The coaches told us that five plays would win the game. We didn't know when those five plays were going to happen, but we pulled through," Mazurie said. "Our lineman did a good job for us."
Mazurie delivered some crushing hits to the Buffalo running backs from his linebacker slot.
Mazurie was credited with 27 defensive points. He had 11 unassisted tackles and five assisted tackles.
"We were just all fired up on defense," Mazurie said. "We were working together and playing as a team."
The victory was a crucial win for the Tigers in the Class 3-A East standings.
Lander is now 2-1 in conference play and 2-4 overall.
The Tigers are third in the league standings. Douglas and Riverton are deadlocked for first with 3-0 records.
The top four teams from the conference advance to the playoffs. The top two teams will have the opportunity to host opening playoff games.
Lander plays at Rawlins this Friday night.
The Tigers and Riverton end the season Thursday, Oct. 24, at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
"It puts us in a nice position to make the playoffs and have a high seed," Lander coach Doug Hughes said. "I thought the kids did a tremendous job. They played as physical football as they have all year."
The game was won in the trenches by the Lander defense.
"We challenged them to get excited about football, to play with emotion, and to play as a team," Hughes said. "They responded very well with that."
Arion Mefferd was the nose guard for the Tigers.
Wade DeWitt and Chris Williams were in the tackle spots.
Oldham and Noah Rohrbacher were the defensive ends.
Mazurie, Reb Lindwurm and Ben Gonzales were the linebackers.
"They did a tremendous job of cleaning things up," Hughes said.
Lander struck first when Mazurie threw to Oldham on a 40-yard halfback pass on the first drive of the game.
"We worked on that in practice," Mazurie said. "That is the first time we have ever completed it."
The touchdown set the tempo for the rest of the game.
"We have had that in for a couple of weeks," Hughes said. "We were just waiting for the right time to use it."
The two teams went scoreless in the second quarter.
"We thought with our attitude we needed to jump on them early and take the lead," Hughes said.
Lander quarterback Pete Spriggs threw an interception to Buffalo, and the Tigers fumbled a punt in the second quarter, but the Bison could never mount a drive against Lander's defense.
The Tigers were in command of the field position and the pace of the game in the second half.
"Our control of the field position was a very important factor for us," Hughes said. "We really played the field position game. Our kids did a great job of executing it."
Spriggs stopped a Buffalo drive after picking off a pass in the third quarter.
Later in the third quarter, Mazurie scored on a 6-yard touchdown run at the 2:11 mark of the period.
In the final quarter, Hedges powered his way to a 10-yard touchdown run for the 21-point margin ofvictory.
Spriggs led the team with 95 yards rushing on seven carries.
Mazurie had 54 yards on 13 carries. Hedges put in eight carries for 44 yards. He ran the ball for the majority of the fourth quarter for the Tigers.
Lander 21, Buffalo 0
LANDER 7 0 7 7 -- 21
BUFFALO 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Lander -- 11:11, Jess Oldham 40-yard pass from Jack Mazurie (Keaton Scott kick), 7-0.
Lander -- 2:11, Jack Mazurie 6-yard run (Scott kick), 14-0.
Lander -- 4:00, Jaxon Hedges 10-yard run (Scott kick), 21-0.
Rushing -- Jack Mazurie, 13-54; Jaxon Hedges, 8-44, Pete Spriggs, 7-95.
Passing -- Mazurie, 1-1-40; Spriggs 2-10-19.
Receiving -- Oldham, 1-40; Jaxon Hedges, 1-18, Marvin Aragon, 1-1.