It all comes down to this game. The Laramie Plainsmen have a shot at playoffs. They take on the Central Indians in Cheyenne on Friday night.

It’s simple, the winner advances to the playoffs next week, while the loser has their season come to an end. The kick-off is at 6 p.m. at Riske Field in Cheyenne.

Both teams are 1-7 this season. Laramie enters off its first victory at Cheyenne South last week, 42-19. Cheyenne Central has lost three in a row. They fell at top-ranked Rock Springs last week, 42-18.

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Plainsmen head coach Paul Ronga says there is a lot to play for.

“After what we’ve been through this season, to actually be in a position, right now, where we know that if we win, we continue on is extremely motivating for this program. My hats off to these guys for being in this position, and for them to create this spot for us, which was unfathomable weeks ago.”

He said their key is to build off of how they played last week in the win at Cheyenne South.

“When we’re able to be this and do this, which is consistent, we have success. When we’re not, we don’t… To take a look at what we did and how we were consistent in executing our plays in all three facets of the game, and then continue to build on that, and always try and get better. That has been the emphasis this week.”

The key match-up in the game will be the strengths of the two teams. The Central ground attack versus the Laramie passing game.

The Indians are averaging 184 rushing yards per game. They have the top rusher in Class 4A in quarterback Keegan Bartlett. He’s at 121.5 yards per game and has scored 12 rushing touchdowns. He is also No. 1 in all-purpose yards per game at 222 and has thrown for five more TDs. The Laramie defense is allowing 250 rushing yards per game and is giving up 7.7 yards per rush attempt.

The Plainsmen counter with the No. 3 pass offense in 4A at 163 yards per game. They’re guided by sophomore QB Ben Malone, who has risen to No. 3 in passing at 148.6 yards per game. He’s completing 61 percent of his passes. Malone is also up to No. 4 in all-purpose yards at 175.2 per game. LHS also has two of the top eight receivers in 4A with Jackson Devine (second) and Adrien Calderon (eighth). The Central pass defense allows 132 yards per game and 15.1 yards per completion.

Both teams have three players ranked in the top 50 in defensive points in 4A. LHS is led by Quail Perkins at No. 17. The Indians have two players in the top 10 on defense with Eli Castillo in second and Richard Prescott in seventh.

Ronga added that he sees great stuff from Central.

“Their record is not indicative of who they are. They’re a thousand times better than that. Obviously, the best runner in the league (Bartlett) and leading rusher in 4A. Defensively, they’re all over the place. They do great. They’re fast. They’ve got a nose guard that’s gonna present a lot of problems for us.”

It will be the 137th meeting on the football field between these two teams in a series that dates back to 1909.

KOWB will have live coverage from Cheyenne. Join David Settle and Aaron Lozano on the broadcast call. The pregame starts at 5 p.m. on KOWB radio (AM 1290). You can also listen anywhere with the KOWB app, online, and through smart speakers.

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