Buffs begin title defense

No. 2 Braeden Walk looks for running room as No. 10 Briggen Bluemel sets to lead-block in 2A West Conference action against the Kemmerer Rangers. The Buffs whipped the Rangers 42-0 and have won seven straight heading into Friday’s home quarterfinal playoff game against the Thermopolis Bobcats set for a 1 p.m. kickoff. (KEMMERER GAZETTE/Michelle Tibbets)

EVANSTON — Defending a state title is never an easy task. When you’re the reigning state champion, you will receive everyone’s best shot throughout the season, as every team desires to knock off the championship team.

The Mountain View Buffalos begin their quest for a repeat now that the postseason has arrived. The Buffs defeated the Glenrock Herders, 35-28, last Nov. 10 to win their fifth state championship in school history and their second title of the Brent Walk era, which began in 2012. The Buffs were also the class of the Wyoming’s 2A division in 2014 when they defeated Big horn, 28-19, the team that had bested Mountain View in the 2A state championship the season prior.

Mountain View is riding a wave of momentum entering this Friday’s quarterfinal playoff game against the Thermopolis Bobcats. The Buffs soundly defeated Thermopolis, 31-8, back on Sept. 21, and the Buffs are again at home for the scheduled 1 p.m. kickoff. Should they win Friday, Mountain View will face the winner of Glenrock and Big Piney and as the No. 1 seed from the 2A West, the Buffs would again play host for the semifinal contest.

The Buffs have strung together seven consecutive victories after dropping their season opener to Class 1A perennial powerhouse Cokeville, 20-13, on the road.

As the expression goes, “that’s why we play the games,” noting that any team is capable of springing an upset to a higher ranked or favored team — it happens every season on the gridiron.

But the Buffs are a poised football team with a tradition of winning in the postseason and with a roster of 50-plus players, Mountain View likely has more depth than any team they will face.

All indicators seem to point to a showdown with the only team ranked higher than Mountain View in the 2A ranks, the Buffalo Bison, who dropped down from Class 3A to join the 2A division this season. Like the Buffs, the Bison stumbled out of the gate, losing their home opener to 3A Douglas, but have since won seven games in a row.

Coach Walk previously told the Herald that a matchup with Buffalo would be a good thing, “because that would mean that we’re in the playoffs.”

An all-Buffalo/Bison 2A state title? An inevitable collision course for the top two ranked teams in the division? It’s just speculation at this point and both coaching staffs adhere to a “one-game-at-a-time” philosophy, but the odds-on probability would favor this matchup to materialize over any other two teams in the Class 2A playoff scenario, setting up for a Nov. 10 meeting at 10 a.m. in the University of Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium to determine Buffalo or Bison supremacy. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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