Natrona County senior Cole Montgomery jumps over a Green River defender in the second quarter on Friday night. (Tim Kupsick/Star-Tribune)

Before its game Friday night, the Natrona County football team entered Cheney Alumni Field via 'The Mustang Walk,' in which NC fans form two lines that the Mustangs walk between in groups of two.

It was the only thing that slowed Natrona County all night.

The top-ranked Mustangs scored on their first eight possessions and racked up 418 yards of total offense during the first half as they cruised to a 51-12 victory over Green River.

"I don't know how you slow them down," Green River coach Darren Howard said. "Their quarterback [Jimmy Shellenberger] can beat you with the run or the pass and their line is very physical.

"That's a great football team."

The Mustangs (5-0 Class 4A) are certainly playing like one.

Natrona County has allowed just 31 points on the season and had gone 13 consecutive quarters without allowing any points until Green River got two fourth-quarter scores against the Mustangs' backups.

Meanwhile, the Natrona County offense continues to light the scoreboard.

The Mustangs are averaging 42.6 points per game and have scored at least 31 points in each of their games.

"This offense is scary good," NC wide receiver Jordan Dick said. "We've got a bunch of big guys up front that can create holes that you could drive a car through.

"And then we've got Cole [Montgomery] in the backfield, who is amazing. And then you've got the two guys outside in Vinnie [Kyle Vinich] and Barnesy [Braden Barnes] that are hard to cover."

Montgomery leads the Mustangs with 648 yards on the ground and eight rushing touchdowns, three of which have gone for 50-plus yards.

"We had great blocking [Friday], so it's easy to run behind those guys," Montgomery said. "It's a total team effort. The guys blocking for us just make our job easy."

Natrona County center Zach D'Amico said it's a matter of mutual respect between the offensive line and the skill players.

"They give us so much love back, it's just a great thing," D'Amico said. "When we work together as a unit we're as good as we can be."

Shellenberger, in his first year as the starting quarterback, has been equally impressive. The senior signal-caller has completed 55-of-84 passes for 935 yards and nine TDs.

He has also added seven rushing touchdowns and has gone three games without throwing an interception.

"We've got to give props to our coaches [in the press box]," said Vinich, who was on the receiving end of an 80-yard scoring toss from Shellenberger on Friday. "They scout whether we should have a run or a pass … they do a really good job."

Of course, it helps to have talented players throughout the lineup. Dick said that talent extends to the Natrona County reserves.

"Some of the best practice we get is against our scout guys," Dick said. "Those guys push us every day in practice and that really helps."

The Mustangs expect to get pushed even harder over the final four weeks of the regular season, with games against Gillette and Sheridan on the horizon.

Even coming off a 2-8 season, Natrona County knows it's entering the stretch run as the team to beat. The Mustangs welcome that challenge.

"Every game we win we're just making one more circle on the target on our backs," Vinich said.

It's a target that opposing defenses are seeing plenty of as they try to catch up to the NC offense.

Contact sports reporter Jack Nowlin at (307) 266-0528 or Check out his blog at

Mustangs Tracker

FRIDAY: Natrona County 51, Green River 12.

RECORDS: Mustangs (5-0 Class 4A); Wolves (0-5).

GIVE ME AN O: NC scored on all eight of its first-half possessions Friday and is averaging 42.6 points per game.

HE SAID IT: "This offense is scary good." – NC wide receiver Jordan Dick.

NEXT: NC at Cheyenne East, 7 p.m., Friday.


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