For the second time in the last three years, the Laramie Plainsmen will play the Cheyenne East Thunderbirds in the quarterfinal round of the 4A playoffs on Friday night.

Laramie (2-7) qualified for the postseason with wins over Campbell County and Cheyenne South. They are the No. 8 seed and enter off a loss to Cheyenne Central in their regular-season finale last Friday, 48-32.

The Plainsmen are in the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. Two years ago, LHS fell at East, 37-21. They hope to use some of the momenta they’ve created over the last two weeks to try to slow down the Thunderbirds in this rematch.

Cheyenne East (8-1) has rattled off eight consecutive victories after losing in week 0. Thanks to their streak and Sheridan’s win over Thunder Basin last week, the Thunderbirds are the top-seed and have home-field advantage throughout the 4A playoffs. They also finished the year No. 1 in the final Coaches and Media Poll.

In week 3 of the season, Cheyenne East thumped the Plainsmen, 56-13, in Cheyenne. It was 7-0 after the first quarter. The Thunderbirds scored 28 points in a span of 3:07 of the second quarter. It was 42-0 by halftime.

Laramie will get some help in the form of Colter Nunn and Garrett Dodd, both of whom did not play in the first meeting this year. Unfortunately, LHS will be without senior and 4A’s leading rusher, Isaac Sell, who was lost for the season last week with a knee injury. He ran for 257 yards and two TDs in the first game this season.

KOWB’s David Settle spoke to senior Gavin Kopp and junior Graham Jacques in the video at the top of this story about the rematch, their roles this year, playing with each other, Gavin’s move to Laramie, Graham’s expanded role, and more.

The Plainsmen will need to slow down Cheyenne East’s No. 1 ranked offense that averages 451 yards and 38.9 points per game. The Thunderbirds have the top passing offense in the state, led by senior QB Graedyn Buell. He averages 329.1 yards of offense per game. Buell has thrown 29 touchdown passes with only four interceptions. He’s added nine TD runs. Buell has accounted for nearly 3,000 yards of total offense over the course of the season.

Laramie’s struggles on defense will be tested. They allow 439 yards and 38.9 points per game. They’re hoping to control the clock with an offense that’s found a new rhythm and balance over the last two games.

This will be the fifth postseason meeting between the two schools. The Plainsmen are 0-4 against the Thunderbirds. Two of those games were in the consolation playoffs in the early 2000s. All of the postseason games have been played since 2001.

Kick-off at Okie Blanchard Stadium in Cheyenne is 6 p.m. on Friday.

KOWB (AM 1290) will provide live coverage of the Plainsmen playoff game from Cheyenne. Join David Settle and Aaron Lozano, who will call the game live. The broadcast starts at 5 p.m. on KOWB, available anywhere with the KOWB mobile app, online, and with smart speakers.

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