Plainsmen Face Tough Test At Thunder Basin [VIDEO]
For a second straight week, and to conclude the regular season, the No. 5 Laramie Plainsmen play a ranked opponent in No. 2 Thunder Basin.
The outcome of Friday’s game in Gillette doesn’t mean anything as far as Laramie’s playoff seed is concerned. The Plainsmen are locked into No. 5 and will either play at Sheridan or Cheyenne East next week in the first round of the playoffs.
Laramie (4-4) enters off a 42-3 loss at No. 4 Sheridan last week. It was a rough second half that got away from LHS.
Thunder Basin (7-1) is still alive for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They come off a 33-17 victory in Casper last week over Kelly Walsh. The Bolts’ lone loss is to No. 1 ranked Natrona, 41-34, in week five of the season.
Plainsmen head coach Clint Reed chatted with KOWB’s David Settle about heading to a new destination, understanding that this game has no impact of their playoff seeding and how they’re approaching it, plus looking at a tough Thunder Basin team. All of that from the boys’ in the shades in the video above.
Three senior players have made their mark in their first year in the program in various ways this season. Matt Smith, Destin Gabbidon, and Akil Ebanks visited with KOWB’s David Settle about their experience with Laramie football.
The key match-up in Friday’s game will be the No. 1 pass defense of Laramie against the No. 1 pass offense of Thunder Basin. The Bolts average 247.5 yards per game through the air, while the Plainsmen allow only 102 yards per game and have 13 sacks.
Junior quarterback Mason Hamilton is the No. 1 passer in the state, regardless of class. He’s averaging 243.5 yards per game, has 23 touchdown passes, and only five interceptions. Hamilton’s completing nearly 61 percent of his passes.
Not to be overshadowed is the Bolts’ defense that ranks No.2 in Class 4A and allows only 232.8 yards and 11.8 points per game. They are led by seniors Terren Swartz and Marcus Glick.
Laramie is led by senior Jason Upton. He is averaging 141.4 total yards per game and has scored 10 touchdowns. The Plainsmen will be without leading rusher Baxter Tuggle, who is sidelined with an injury. Defensively, senior Ben Kruzich continues to anchor a unit that allows only 275.9 yards per game. Kruzich leads Class 4A’s in defensive points at 16.2 per game.
The game is set for a 6 p.m. start from Thunder Basin Stadium.
KOWB (AM 1290) will broadcast the game live from Gillette. David Settle and Dan Bleak will call the game. You can also listen online, through the KOWB app or on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. Coverage will begin at 5 p.m.