LARAMIE — Battered and bloodied, Ian Crawford still took pictures with family and fans from Cody. The Broncs’ senior lineman stared across from one of the biggest lines in the state for 48 minutes and walked out of War Memorial Stadium with a 20-0 victory.
Torrington came into Friday afternoon’s game with a starting line that averaged 6-foot and 225-pounds. That size allowed the Trailblazers to run for 344 yards on 82 plays on Jonah Field. But none of those 82 ended in gold-and-brown-painted paradise.
Crawford anchored a defense that shut out the same Trailblazers that averaged 41.6 points per game to win the Wyoming State High School Class 3A Football Championship. It was the first shutout in any state title game since the Broncs closed the door on Douglas, 19-0, for their 2014 championship.
Cody started the season 2-3 and needed a late bye week to recover from its ailments. Just over a month later they were crowned champions.
“We’ve grown every single week,” Crawford said. “We learned from our mistakes and got better every week. I feel like that’s evident and amazing.”
Cody opened the scoring on a Charlie Beaudrie touchdown run in the second quarter. A quick flare route to Jared Grenz went for 3 yards before the junior turned up the sidelines and ran another 76 yards to paydirt.
Still, Torrington marched down to the Cody 22 trailing 14-0 midway through the fourth quarter. The ‘Blazers had life behind mobile quarterback Breyden Bivens and all-purpose running back Bryan Lemmon.
That is, until Crawford found his way into the backfield and sacked Bivens from the blindside on fourth down. Crawford ran with the defensive stunt to the right but Torrington junior Scott Woodruff’s 6-1, 285-pound frame stopped the initial blitz.
“I was stuffed,” Crawford said. “Then (Bivens) rolled out of the pocket just enough for me to get onto him. And we’ve had a statement all this year that we hold dear, and it’s relentlessness.”
Cody went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, allowing Torrington another opportunity. Bivens once again guided the Trailblazers down the field until they got into the red zone.
Beaudrie finished with just 52 rushing yards, but it was his anticipation for the slant route that put the game away.
“They had been running slants the whole game,” Beaudrie said. “I tried to jump it a couple times and didn’t get it, just tackled them.
“I read it that time and just ran for my life.”
The sophomore intercepted the pass near the right hashmark of his own 4. He wended his way through blockers and up the far sidelines before shaking off a tackle from Bivens and finishing the 96-yard return.
Upon the final whistle, the Broncs huddled at midfield before migrating to the south end zone. Crawford touched the gold that he partly earned as a freshman in 2014. There was no doubt this one happened because of the Broncs defense and himself.
He took a glance down at his arms, which were scratched and taped. He quickly checked under the right side of his chin, where he had been lacerated and the wound only recently dried.
“Oh, yeah,” Crawford said, “but I wouldn’t trade it for anything right now.”