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Natrona County running back Brett Brenton dives into the end zone against Cheyenne East during their game Nov. 3, 2017 at Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.

All Brett Brenton wanted to do was play college football. That dream lived on throughout the start of his senior season even when no one contacted him.

That’s when Natrona County head coach Steve Harshman stepped in. The long-time coach of the Mustangs volunteered to call the Wyoming coaching staff to get Brenton a preferred walk-on spot.

“I’m going to keep calling them until they contact you,” Brenton remembered his coach saying.

Harshman did and Wyoming listened. Considering how standout linebacker Logan Wilson and tight end Josh Harshman are both Natrona County products, the Cowboys’ coaching staff was receptive to a dynamic, undersized playmaker.

“Finally, Gordie Haug wanted me to come visit and that was a dream come true,” Brenton said. “I committed that day on my visit.”

So Brenton sat on that commitment for months before finally signing his letter of intent to play football at Wyoming as a preferred walk-on on Wednesday in the Natrona County High School library.

Brenton may have gained the attention of multiple Division I programs in the region if not for his size. He’s under 6-foot and weighed in at 183 pounds for football season but cut down to 170 for wrestling. Throughout his career, however, he showed size didn’t really matter.

The Star-Tribune Super 25 selection finished third in the state in all-purpose offense (207.4 per game) despite the Mustangs’ youth in his junior season.

He only improved in his senior season, leading the state with 152.7 rushing yards per game and 25 rushing touchdowns. He was the only player to average over 200 all-purpose yards per game. Those were a couple reasons he was named Super 25 Offensive Player of the Year.

Haug, now running backs coach at Wyoming, chomped at the bit about this.

“They’ve talked to me about playing running back,” Brenton said, “they’ve also talked to me about playing slot receiver, they aren’t sure yet, I’m going to try both. I’ll play anything they want me to play as long as I’m playing.”

Brenton has been sidetracked this week after a freak accident in wrestling practice forced him to have surgery. He’ll miss Thursday’s Miller Cup but still plans to return for the Class 4A West Regional. There he plans to qualify for the state meet, where he hopes to defend his state championship.

In the spring he’ll focus on football workouts while attending Natrona County track practices.

“I’m not going to go to any of the meets,” Brenton said. “I’m just going to do sprint workouts.”

Brenton will then play in the Shrine Game before reporting to UW’s summer camp. Then he can live his dream of playing football for Wyoming, even if it took a couple of phone calls.

“It’s really about that developmental piece,” Harshman said. “I think Coach Bohl has proven that, not only at Wyoming, but at North Dakota State. He knows how to take guys, develop them and train them.”

Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyTrib


High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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