The Plainsmen Seek a Playoff Surprise [VIDEO]
Post-season high school football is upon us with the Laramie Plainsmen taking on the Natrona County Mustangs Friday night in Casper.
Laramie (3-6) is in the 4A playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, though you have to go back to 2000 for the last time the Plainsmen advanced past the quarterfinals. LHS enters off two straight losses to No. 1 Sheridan and No. 5 Thunder Basin. The last victory for the Plainsmen was at Cheyenne South back on Oct. 6, 27-8.
Natrona County (8-1) is ranked No. 2 in the final Wyopreps.com Coach’s and Media Poll and seeded second in the playoff bracketing. The Mustangs have rattled off six straight wins after a week two loss in overtime at Sheridan. One of those was a 42-10 victory over LHS on Sept. 15 in Laramie.
Although the history of this series dates back to 1909, Friday night will mark only the sixth playoff meeting all-time according to research with Wyoming-Football.com. The most recent was in 2011 with NC winning 44-0. There were three meetings in the ‘90’s, which included a victory by Laramie in the 1994 state title game. The first official playoff game between the programs was in 1935, when they played a half, and the result was a 6-6 tie.
Plainsmen head coach Clint Reed knows it’s a major challenge for his team, as he spoke with KOWB’s David Settle about the game and preparation. Reed realizes it’s a new season, they did play NC tough in that game six weeks ago, and they’ve made some adjustments for this one.
Natrona has the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense in class 4A. They are averaging 427.7 yards and 49 points per game and allow only 228.6 yards and 10.4 points per game.
Senior running back Brett Brenton spearheads their offensive attack. He leads 4A in rushing (155.6) and all-purpose (212.4) yards per game. Senior QB Jesse Harshman is tops in passing yards (170.8) and second in all-purpose (200.9) yards per game. Brenton has scored 23 touchdowns, while Harshman has accounted for 24, with 19 TD passes and five rushing.
NC is anchored defensively by senior linebacker Chase Brachtenbach, who is ninth in class 4A in defensive points at 14.8 per game.
Laramie has dropped to ninth in total offense at 244.6 yards and 20.8 points per game. They are No. 7 in defense and give up 359.7 yards and 28.3 points per game.
Senior Nathan Burman is No. 4 in passing (152.4) yards per game and No. 5 in all-purpose offense (169.4) per game. Senior Chad Browning is fourth in receiving with 30 receptions for 623 yards and seven scores. He’s averaging 20.8 yards per catch.
Defensively, LHS is led by senior Daylon Puckett at 16.4 defensive points per game, which ranks third. Senior Garrett Worden is fifth at 15.6 points per game even after missing last week with an injury.
Natrona has won 12 straight games in the series, but is only 2-2-1 all-time in the playoffs against the Plainsmen.
Kick-off is at 6 p.m. from Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.