Three turnovers in the first half led directly to three touchdowns, which aided Thunder Basin in a 34-7 victory over the Laramie Plainsmen Friday night.

The Bolts scored on their first six possessions after Laramie had taken a 7-0 lead at Deti Stadium.

Plainsmen head coach Clint Reed said mistakes cost us.

“Some penalties and some turnovers bit us again after that (good start). As soon as that did, I think you guys (radio commentators) said it clearly, short fields, short fields, short fields, and our defense was backed up all night.”

LHS took the game’s opening possession and drove 80 yards in 11 plays. Junior Baxter Tuggle capped the drive with a 43-yard touchdown run. That gave Laramie an early lead.

Reed said his team came out real strong, “When we don’t turn it over, we don’t have any penalties and first down after first down after first down and just churned out some yards, it was a nice looking drive. It was a nice tone to the evening.”

The Bolts answered that with a field goal after the Plainsmen defense had a stand.

Laramie (3-6) was forced to punt on its next set of downs, but a bad snap and recovery by Thunder Basin at the Plainsmen five-yard line led to the Bolts first touchdown. It was a 1-yard run by Austin Clemetson, who had three TD’s in the game. That made it 9-7, but the point after was missed.

An interception led to another Bolts score with a two-point pass for a 17-7 lead. After a punt by LHS, Thunder Basin drove for a field goal. The Bolts forced a Plainsmen punt and scored on a Keaton Wilkerson 5-yard TD pass to Trenton Johnson.

A fumble on the ensuing kick-off return led to a quick drive with Clemetson’s final touchdown run of the game.

Reed even complimented the Bolts’ running back.

“That dude’s got a heart. I mean, to come out here and look like he’s running on one leg, and to see a young man work like that is pretty nice to see.”

Neither team scored in the second half. Laramie threatened, but an interception inside the Thunder Basin 5-yard line stopped the drive.

The Plainsmen were held to 193 yards offense with four total turnovers. Tuggle ran for 107 yards on 21 carries.

Reed was very pleased with the junior.

“We just fed him the ball, and he just had an attitude and an effort about him, that just set him above everyone else. To get him over 100 yards, to see what he could do, he just had a heart out that. He was getting hit, Jason (Upton) went down and it was time for Tuggle to take over, and he did.”

Thunder Basin (5-4) finished with 311 yards and no turnovers. A balanced attack featured 138 yards on the ground and 173 through the air between two quarterbacks. Clemetson had 111 yards rushing.

Laramie heads on the road in the first round of the class 4A playoffs as the No. 7 seed. They will play Friday, Oct. 27 in Casper against the second-ranked and No. 2 seed Natrona County Mustangs. Kick-off has been set for 6:00 p.m. from Cheney Alumni Field. NC beat the Plainsmen in week 3 of the season on Sept. 15, 42-10, in Laramie.

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