Newcastle at Burns
Records: Newcastle (2-5 overall, 2-3 Class 2A East Conference) at Burns (2-5, 2-3)
Kickoff: 6 tonight at Bronc Stadium, Burns
Last week: Newcastle lost at Torrington, 35-22; Burns lost at Upton-Sundance, 21-12.
Last meeting: Burns won 20-12 on Oct. 29, 2020, in Newcastle.
Facts: Burns struggled to get its offense going early during last week’s loss. The Broncs didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter. “We had guys open, and we just missed them,” Broncs coach Brad Morrison said. “We were a block or two away on a couple runs. During the fourth quarter, we finally settled in and made some throws and catches and moved the ball. Some early injuries definitely changed our game plan, and their defense is designed to make you execute perfectly, and we just didn’t.” … The offense could see more success today against a Newcastle pass defense that ranks 14th in Class 2A, allowing 153 ypg. Broncs QB Caden David ranks sixth in the state in passing (150 ypg), and receiver Cooper Lakin is sixth with 54.6 receiving ypg. “I think we need to scale down the offensive scheme and just get really good at our basics,” Morrison said. “We can do a better job of demanding perfect technique in practice. I think we’ve got the pieces to be explosive on offense, and it’s been frustrating to know how good we can be and not see it consistently.” … Cody Winslow continues to pace the state in defensive points (22.2) and tackles (13.6) for Burns.
Central at Rock Springs
Records: Cheyenne Central (1-6) at No. 1-ranked Rock Springs (6-1)
Kickoff: 6 tonight at Tiger Stadium, Rock Springs
Last week: Central lost at Cheyenne East, 33-27; Rock Springs beat Cheyenne South, 65-0.
Last meeting: Rock Springs won 21-14 on Oct. 16, 2020, in Cheyenne.
Facts: Rock Springs has Class 4A’s top scoring offense at 42.4 points per game, while ranking second in total offense (390 yards per game). The Tigers are just as stout defensively, ranking first in the state in total defense (234 ypg) and third in scoring defense (11.7 ppg). ... Rock Springs is talented across the board, but especially at the skill positions, Central coach Mike Apodaca said. University of Wyoming commitment Isaac Schoenfeld’s stats don’t jump off the page, but the way Rock Springs utilizes him stands out, Apodaca said. “They use him everywhere: receiver, tight end, (running) back, Wildcat quarterback,” the coach said. “They do a good job of moving him around and getting him opportunities. He’s not their only guy, though.” ... Tigers receiver Andrew Skorcz is second in the state in receiving average (71.1 ypg), while quarterback Brock Bider is third in passing (157.7 ypg). ... Central’s six losses have come by an average of 8.83 points per game. Remove the 22-0 season-opening loss to Natrona County, and that average falls to 6.2 points per contest. Despite the close losses, Apodaca said the Indians are keeping their spirits high. “The frustrations could mount to the point where you feel like you just can’t overcome it, but I feel like we’ve addressed that on the coaching side,” he said. “These kids have kept coming back and worked hard and been competitive each week. We just have to forge forward and finish strong through the last part of the season.” ... Central junior quarterback Keagan Bartlett leads the state in rushing at 114.6 yards per game. ... Senior linebacker Eli Castillo is second in 4A in defensive points per game (17.1).
East at Kelly Walsh
Records: No. 4-ranked Cheyenne East (6-1) at Kelly Walsh (3-4)
Kickoff: 7 tonight at Harry Geldien Stadium, Casper
Last week: East beat Cheyenne Central, 33-27; Kelly Walsh lost at Sheridan, 42-0.
Last meeting: East won 34-9 on Oct. 16, 2020, in Cheyenne.
Facts: The Thunderbirds lead the state in total offense (394 yards per game). They also average 33.9 points per game. ... East will have its hands full defensively. Kelly Walsh senior Cameron Burkett is second in the state in rushing average at 90.7 yards per game. He is a bruising back who is hard to tackle. “They run a lot of stuff through him, so you have to make sure you tackle him,” East coach Chad Goff said. “They’ve done some good things with him, and then had some other kids step in and do some good things in their option offense. You don’t see the option a lot anymore. Back in the day, you used to prepare for it three or four times per year. Now, you might see it once.” Seeing an uncommon offense means being assignment-sound, Goff said. “If you’re supposed to go to dive back, go there every time. If you’re supposed to go to the quarterback, go to the quarterback,” he said. ... East senior quarterback Gavin Goff suffered a season-ending injury late in the T-Birds’ win over Cheyenne Central. He was averaging 188.7 passing yards and 61.1 rushing yards per game. Sophomore Cam Hayes will take the reins of the offense for the remainder of the season.
Laramie at South
Records: Laramie (0-7) at Cheyenne South (0-7)
Kickoff: 6 tonight at Bison Stadium, Cheyenne
Admission: $5 for adults; $3 for military, seniors and students without IDs; students with IDs are free.
Radio: KFBC (97.5 FM, 1240 AM)
Last week: Laramie lost to Thunder Basin, 55-22; South lost at Rock Springs, 65-0.
Last meeting: Laramie won 55-2 on Oct. 16, 2020, in Laramie.
Facts: For the second consecutive week, the Bison will be without a handful of starters due to illness. Some of the missing players have COVID-19, some were lost to contact tracing, and others have non-COVID illnesses. “We will have a couple guys we missed last week back, but we will still be missing others,” South coach Dan Gallas said. ... Even though the undermanned Bison lost at top-ranked Rock Springs, there were positives from that game, Gallas added. “We had some young kids play who were able to have some success,” he said. “They did some things and had nice games. We were pleased with some things we saw from those young guys, despite the substantial number of guys who did not play. I’m really glad we didn’t cancel the game because it gave those young guys the chance to play. They improved, and their confidence grew.” ... Laramie sophomore quarterback Ben Malone is fourth in Class 4A in passing yards per game at 146.3. Receiver Jackson Devine is third in receiving average at 62.1 yards per contest. “They have a bit of spark, so we’re going to have to play smart,” Gallas said. “We’re going to have to play with intensity and maintain ball security and not give them more opportunities than they deserve. We have to gang tackle and make sure they’re not passing over the top of us.”
Lingle-Ft. Laramie at Pine Bluffs
Records: Lingle-Fort Laramie (2-4 overall, 1-3 Class 1A nine-man East Conference) at No. 1-ranked Pine Bluffs (6-0, 4-0).
Kickoff: 7 tonight at Carlstrum Field, Pine Bluffs
Radio: KRAE (101.1 FM, 1480 AM)
Last week: Lingle won at Moorcroft, 53-16; Pine Bluffs won at Wright, 48-6.
Last meeting: Pine Bluffs won 61-19 on Oct. 16, 2020, in Lingle.
Facts: Pine Bluffs ranks second in both scoring offense (41.3 ppg) and scoring defense (9.7 ppg) in Class 1A nine-man, trailing only Shoshoni in both categories. The Hornets have yet to score less than 30 points, and the only team to score more than 20 points against the Hornets is Shoshoni in a 34-25 Pine Bluffs victory. “(Our consistency) comes from lots of reps in practice and being willing to practice with a purpose each night,” Hornets coach Will Gray said. “Having a lot of veteran players helps us be able to rotate a lot of guys in and out during practice, so everyone is on the same page.” … Hornets QB Stu Lerwick paces nine-man with 206.2 passing yards per game, while the Hornets have four pass catchers ranking in the top 10 in receiving. … Lingle running back Nolan Spears ranks third in the state with 149.8 yards per game heading into a contest where Pine Bluffs hopes to carry its momentum into the final two weeks of the season and ultimately the postseason. “Complacency isn’t on our agenda,” Gray said. “We have to continue improving each day at practice and on Friday nights.”
– By Robert Munoz and Jeremiah Johnke, WyoSports