by Keith Kelley–5 Sept ’14
It was the much-anticipated rematch of last year’s 4A state championship, as #2 Cheyenne East and #3 Natrona County met at Bison Stadium on the campus of Cheyenne South High School. And it was every bit as advertised, as the Mustangs forced five T-bird turnovers, and East continued to shoot itself in the foot with those turnovers and untimely penalties in a 14-7 loss to NC.
Things started out nice for East. After a one-yard punt by Logan Thomas, the Thunderbirds started out their opening drive at midfield. Nine plays later, Tevis Bartlett scored from one-yard out, to give East a 7-0 lead. Natrona would answer in the second quarter, as quarterback Casson Bergen hit tight end Austin Luers from 14 yards out, to tie the game at seven. That’s the way the two teams would go into the locker room.
The second half saw Natrona capture the momentum, and take the lead after forcing an East turnover. Running back Stevann Brown would score from 13 yards out to give NC a 14-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
Things got very interesting late. The Mustangs had two goal-to-go situations, to try and go up by two scores, but East’s defense would finally force turnovers on both occasions, the last on a third and goal at the one, giving East one last chance to tie. But the Thunderbirds would have to go 99 yards in two minutes. The drive started off great, as Bartlett rumbled for 28 yards on first down. East would convert a fourth down later in the drive, and eventually get the ball to midfield. Bartlett’s fourth down pass was incomplete, and NC would get the win.
T-bird head coach Chad Goff gave all the credit to Natrona’s defense, especially the secondary for causing all kinds of problems for East’s passing game. Bartlett finished 5-15 for 28 yards and threw four interceptions. But Goff says they will learn from this and hopefully respond well, beginning next week.
Bartlett did finish the game with 98 yards rushing and that lone TD. But NC’s defense held East to 173 yards of total offense. Natrona rushed for 158 yards, and had just 213 yards of total offense, in this defensive battle.
The Mustangs move to 2-0 on the season, while East falls to 1-1. The Thunderbirds are set to host South next Friday night.
Cheyenne South 31 Cheyenne Central 28
The Bison earned their first ever win over the Indians, in this back and forth affair at Riske Field. Just like last week, South trailed late, but would mount a drive that could win the game for them. But unlike last week, the Bison would punch it in for the win.
South’s Austin Barker threw for 384 yards in the win. South, 1-1 on the season, plays East next Friday. Central, 0-2 is at #1 Gillette.