LINGLE – The Lingle-Fort Laramie Doggers football season has come to a close after they missed the playoffs with a 2-6 record this fall.
The Doggers started their season with two losses, falling at home against Little Snake River in Week 1, 66-20, and losing after a short road trip in Week 2 against Guernsey-Sunrise, 33-6. The Doggers picked up their first win of the season against Normative Services Institute, snagging the 75-7 win on the road.
Sitting at 1-2, L-FL hit a skid, losing four-straight. The Doggers failed to defend their home field against Midwest in Week 4, 47-11, and fell on the road in Week 5, 43-30, against Hanna-Elk Mountain. Kaycee, who is currently riding a 28-game winning streak, beat the Doggers in Lingle in Week 6, 74-0. L-FL hit the road Week 7 to take on Hulett, surrendering a 58-30 loss.
In Week 8, the Doggers picked up a forfeit win over Rock River, who canceled its season due to lack of numbers. L-FL did play a Nebraska opponent in Week 8, losing to South Platte to close out the season, 44-36.
The passing game was the strength of the Doggers this year, ranking sixth in 1A six-man with 139.1 yards per game through the air. Eleven teams rank ahead of L-FL’s five passing touchdowns, while two teams have thrown more interceptions than the Doggers (eight).
The Doggers’ ground game was toward the bottom of the classification, ranking 13th in rushing yards per game with 75.1. They did score 14 touchdowns on the ground, which was 11th among 1A six-man teams. Their 14 lost fumbles rank 13th.
Looking at the offense as a whole, L-FL racked up 214.3 yards per game, putting them 12th. They scored 19 touchdowns (12th) and committed 22 turnovers (15th).
Cordell Forkner was the top passer for the Doggers, accounting for 137.1 yards per game through the air. He averaged 13.4 yards per completion and ranked fifth in the class in passing yards per game.
Ty Mueller was his top target, averaging 38.5 yards per game. Brandon Hill was not far behind, piling up 34.9 yards per contest. Hayden Hill (19.6 YPG), Cooper Hill (19.1 YPG) and Alex Pugsley (18.6 YPG) rounded out the top receivers for L-FL.
Hayden Hill was the top rusher for the Doggers, accounting for 31.3 yards per game on the ground and had a team-high four rushing touchdowns. Pugsley toted the rock for 25.6 yards per game. Gaven Niles cashed in for two rushing touchdowns, while Brandon Hill turned in another three.
On the defensive side of the ball, the L-FL secondary was unforgiving, allowing a second-best 70.4 yards per game through the air. Their 10 passing touchdowns allowed was tied for fourth-best but they were only able to come away with two interceptions (tied for ninth).
The Doggers weren’t as tough against the run, allowing 205.1 yards on the ground (ninth). They gave up 25 rushing touchdowns (ninth) and came away with only four fumble recoveries (tied for 11th), but they were menaces in the backfield, accounting for a third-best 40 tackles for loss.
Overall, the Dogger defense ranked eight, allowing 275.5 yards per game. They allowed 35 touchdowns, while coming away with six turnovers.
Niles was the top defender for the Doggers, racking up 20.8 defensive points per contest, ranking him sixth in the class. The senior accounted for 29 solo tackles, 34 assisted tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and a blocked kick this year.
Forkner and Brandon Hill also helped out on the defensive side of the ball. Forkner contributed 15.4 defensive points per game, while Hill had 13.8. On top of his 16 solo and 42 assisted tackles, Forkner was consistently around the ball, coming away with two fumble recoveries and an interception. He rounded out his stat line with eight tackles for loss and a half of a sack. Hill tallied up 6.4 tackles per game, four tackles for loss and two pass breakups.
Zane Rising, with four tackles for loss, and Gage Correa, with three, were forces in the backfield. Cooper Hill was also a turnover machine, coming away with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
2017 was the first year that the Doggers were eligible for the playoffs after the drop to six-man, but they were unable to sneak into the postseason. With 10 underclassmen on this year’s roster, L-FL will be looking to use the experience earned this fall in the years to come.