Too many mistakes cost the Laramie Plainsmen in a 37-14 loss at No. 1 Natrona last Friday night in Casper.

Laramie (2-2) had four errors in special teams and finished with four turnovers in the game.

Plainsmen head coach Clint Reed knew the mistakes were big against a quality opponent like NC. The first thing that came to his mind was,

“Mental breakdowns. We had some breakdowns early in the first quarter. Some special teams with some punt blocks.”

There were two punts blocked and three fumbles in the first half. Despite all that, the Plainsmen trailed the Mustangs only 16-0 at halftime.

Natrona (4-0) broke the game open with two key scores early in the third quarter. The Mustangs’ Isaac Palomo returned the opening kick-off of the second half 99-yards for a touchdown. After a punt by Laramie, NC ran a stop-and-go to receiver Jordan Bertagnole for a 44-yard touchdown pass and a 30-0 lead.

The Plainsmen came right back for their first score when Jason Upton found Preston Buszkiewic for a 14-yard TD pass. The Mustangs answered with a Dante’ Wallace 27-yard touchdown run.

Laramie added a score just inside two minutes left with a 5-yard Upton to Brady Epler TD pass.

Reed said, “I’m very, very proud of the guys for competing. I really am and the defense played absolutely amazing in the first half. You just can’t give them 20-yard drives.”

Reed admitted that’s on him, and stated he’ll get with his staff to make corrections moving forward.

“The attitude and effort are great by the kids. We (the coaching staff) have to figure out how to be accountable, be disciplined and cut down on those situations, so they are in a position to be successful.”

Reed also knew the two big plays early in the second half were back breakers.

“The kids had a great attitude in the locker room (at halftime). They came out of halftime focused on some things and some adjustments that we talked about, and it just kind of took the sail out and broke your back a little bit on the kick-off return. It really did.”

Natrona finished with 295 yards of total offense. They ran for 171 yards. Wallace had 59 and the one TD. QB Kade Stoner threw for 95 yards and the one touchdown.

Laramie had 174 yards of total offense. Jason Upton threw for 103 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Baxter Tuggle had 58 yards on the ground. The defense had four sacks in the game, which included 1.5 sacks from Chris Zepeda. They also forced a fumble.

This game marked the 14th straight win for Natrona in the series with LHS.

The Plainsmen return home to face another long-time rival in Cheyenne Central Friday night at Deti Stadium. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.

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