Three turnovers in the fourth quarter cost the Laramie Plainsmen in a 27-14 season-opening loss at No. 3 Kelly Walsh last Friday night in Casper.

The game was tied 14-14 with six minutes left before Laramie QB Jason Upton was intercepted twice and fumbled once. Kelly Walsh turned the first interception and the fumble into touchdowns. Trojans QB Matt Hays scored on a 1-yard sneak for a 21-14 lead with 2:41 left. After the fumble, KW’s Spencer Wilson scored on a touchdown run from 16-yards out with 2:02 left and a 27-14 lead.

The fifth turnover of the game, the final interception, at the 1:41 mark allowed the Trojans to run out the clock.

Laramie head coach Clint Reed said perhaps there was a little panic late in the fourth quarter.

“With a tight game got excited, got a little bit, uh, you know it was almost like, maybe, we lost our patience and our cool right there. We felt like we had to throw the ball a little bit with the time. Got away from what we were doing well with the run game and Jason (Upton) and Baxter (Tuggle) with a 1-2 punch. We’re gonna look at the film, we’re gonna see what we need to do as coaches. We’re gonna put these kids in a position to be successful because they did everything we asked them.”

Tuggle and Upton combined for 279 yards rushing and both Plainsmen touchdowns.

Reed added, “It’s exactly what we were trying to get out of the run game with the RPO (run-pass option) and with those two doing it.”

Upton raced 94-yards on Laramie’s first possession for a 7-0 lead. After Kelly Walsh scored on back-to-back drives for a 14-7 lead, the score remained that way at halftime and all the way through the third quarter.

The Trojans turned the ball over on downs early in the fourth quarter at the Plainsmen 24-yard line. Four plays later, Tuggle punched it in from 23-yards out and tied it at 14-14.

Kelly Walsh capitalized on the late turnovers and sealed their third straight victory over Laramie.

The Plainsmen finished with 305 yards of total offense, but five turnovers in the game. Tuggle had 147 yards on the ground, while Upton finished with 132 yards. Upton struggled in the passing game, as he went 2-12 for 26 yards and four interceptions. Brady Epler led the LHS defense with 27 points. He had 11 tackles, an interception and blocked a kick.

The Trojans piled up 402 yards total offense. Senior Brock Spiegelberg ran for 275 yards on 33 carries with one touchdown.

Reed was proud of his team’s effort.

“I saw some amazing things out there. I just saw a team with some tremendous heart and some tremendous passion. You know, the little guy against the big giant, and that’s what it kind of was tonight (Friday). I mean, we got a team in Kelly Walsh that’s standing out here with about 75-80 kids strong. We’ve gotta a sideline with about 31, 32 kids and every single one of those kids contributed somehow.”

The Plainsmen will have their home opener this Friday night against Rock Springs. Kick-off from Deti Stadium is at 6 p.m.

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