The Saratoga Sun -

Miners head to Championship

Lingle-Ft. Laramie Doggers doggedly come at the HEM Miners but cannot defeat the hosting team in the playoff game to reach the finals of the State Championship


November 13, 2019

Mike Armstrong

Conor McGraw recovers the football that led to a touchdown a few plays later.

The Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) High School football team hosted the Lingle-Ft. Laramie football team at 1 p.m. on Friday for the right to go to the State Championship next week in Laramie.

The Miners won the game 92-58.

The Doggers had faced HEM before, on Sept. 28, when the Miners came out on top 69-24. The team that played back in September was much more physical this time around.

"The Doggers are a great team and have some great kids," HEM Head Football coach Zach Scott said. "They were tough and we had to earn the win today and we did."

The Miners scored first, but it was a see-saw scoring battle. The Doggers stayed close, but HEM maintained the lead. Lingle-Ft. Laramie looked to be changing late in the second quarter.

The score was 30-22 in favor of the Miners with 2:53 to go. The Doggers had just scored twice and the game seemed to be going their way. Shane McGraw took some air out the Doggers sails as he ran down the field to be in striking distance of the goal line. The Doggers defense dug in and, through penalties and plays going nowhere, the Miners found themselves back to the 25 yard line on fourth down. The momentum seemed to be going towards the Doggers again.

The McGraw Machine struck with Shane passing to his twin brother, Conor, who scored a touchdown. The score was 38-22.

The Miners were not done. Zander (Alex) Claice recovered a fumble seconds later. Shane passed to Brendon Reeves and the Miners were now ahead 46-22 with 2:22 left in the 2nd quarter. Seconds later, the Doggers were overwhelmed by HEM's defense and another fumble was recovered by the Miners. Three plays later, Conor ran in for another touchdown making the score 52-22. The Miners did not capitalize on the extra point.

With 25 seconds left, the Doggers made it their mission to get the field and score. They scored with 1.4 seconds left on 4th down.

Going into halftime, the Doggers were down about three touchdowns at 52-30.

The Doggers came out in the 3rd quarter and scored in the first few moments. The score was 52-38. Both teams kept each other scoreless until there was 5:35 left in the quarter and Conor went in for the touchdown. The Miners did not score the extra point and the score was 58-38.

The Doggers came down the field with a little less than four minutes left in the 3rd quarter when the Miners intercepted the ball. Shane ran the ball in for a touchdown and Conor scored the extra point. The Miners were ahead 65-38 with 2:52 left in the quarter.

Lingle-Ft. Laramie doggedly kept going at the Miners and scored with 1:48 left in the 3rd quarter. The Doggers missed the extra point making it 65-44.

With 1:13 left in the 3rd quarter Conor went in for another touchdown and Devon Grosstick got the extra point making it 72-44.

The Doggers came immediately back and scored and got the extra points, making it 72-52.

There were still 50 seconds left in the 3rd quarter and Shane took the ball down the field and scored. The extra point was good and the Miners were ahead 79-52 with 40 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. That would be the last of the scoring in the 3rd quarter. Five touchdowns had been scored in less than three minutes in the last of the 3rd quarter.

The Doggers started the 4th quarter with a touchdown and the score was 79-58. It would be the last time Lingle-Ft. Laramie would get points. For the Miners it was a different story.

Shane went in for a touchdown with Jase Smith getting the extra point making it 86-58 with 8:33 left in the game.

The Miner's defense stopped every attempt the Doggers made to score.

HEM was not done putting points on the board as sophomore Smith got a touchdown run. The score was 92-58 with 7:38 left in the game. This would be the final score.

Conor had seven touchdowns, Shane had four and Smith, Grosstick and Reeves all had one.

Shane attempted 11 passes, completed 10 for 219 yards.

The defense was balanced with Smith leading with nine solo tackles, Grosstick with eight, Shane six, Conor five and Joseph Borah getting four.

Scott said Smith had a big day defensively and offensively.

"We had some kids come in and step up and play extremely well," Scott said. "Jase Smith and Joseph Borah played amazing well."

He said, for the most part, the defense did a great job and he was proud of the starters.

Mike Armstrong

Shane McGraw goes in for one of his touchdowns on Friday against the Doggers.

"Our cast of characters are a special cast of characters. They work hard, they pick each other up and they don't blame anybody because they know we are going to make mistakes," Scott said. "But they always, always support each other and they are playing well as a team."

Scott said he knew the Doggers were going to bring a good game to the Miners.

"They would not have gotten where they are if they were not an excellent team," Scott said.

On scoring 92 points, the most of the season, Scott said he was not sure even that was going to be enough.

The Miners have not been in a championship game since 2010.

"This is a huge thing to make it there," Scott said. "These kids have worked their butts off since sixth grade and all these kids run this offense like a well oiled machine. We are headed where we need to be."

The championship game will be played at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16 at the University of Wyoming.


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