LARAMIE — Mark Largent huddled his Kaycee teammates at midfield for the last time on Saturday afternoon. A senior defensive leader, Largent led the team in prayer atop the bucking horse and rider logo at War Memorial Stadium’s midfield.
The Buckaroos defense had just made its last stand by forcing three turnovers and allowing only 162 second-half yards in a 55-30 win over Farson for the Wyoming State High School Class 1A/6-man Football Championship. That victory sealed a third straight state title for the town of 500.
Largent, the classification’s third-leading tackler, put the finishing touches on his high school career with a game-high 13 tackles, including four for loss and three sacks.
“We just tried to keep everyone in front of us,” Kaycee head coach Tony Rouse said. “Broke down, tried to push the pressure on them, force them to make quick decisions.”
Rouse took over as head coach just two weeks before the season began. It made no difference. Kaycee capped its three-peat with, statistically, the most dominant season in Wyoming 6-man history.
The 2017 Buckaroos defense allowed just 100 points, the fewest ever. Their point differential of 607 was by far the most since the classification began in 2009. The win also gave Kaycee a 31st consecutive victory, moving the Buckaroos into sole possession of the second-longest winning streak in Wyoming history (Laramie won 34 in a row from 1959-63).
But Saturday’s championship performance was far from dominant.
Kaycee took a 21-6 lead early in the second quarter only for Farson to score on consecutive drives to cut the margin to 21-18. The Pronghorns forced a turnover on downs as Kaycee couldn’t score on fourth and goal to end the quarter.
That momentum could not overpower the Kaycee defense in the second half, however, and the Buckaroos forced two turnovers in the opening four possessions. The offense that averaged 72.4 points per game coming into the championship answered with four straight scoring drives.
“Kaycee really showed in the second half,” Largent said. “We came out and we fired up. We knew we had to.”
Standout running back Danny Ramirez scored his fifth touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Ramirez’s 50th all-purpose touchdown of the season was his final carry of a 297-yard day. His five touchdown runs alone added up to 184 yards.
But his greatest feat as Kaycee’s workhorse wasn’t his yards or scores.
“My proudest accomplishment ever,” Ramirez said, “would be not fumbling the ball ever.”
His seven tackles and one interception also helped the Buckaroos’ defense hold Farson to 30 points for the second straight championship game.
A third straight championship puts Kaycee on the map, Largent said. The whole community came out to see their team complete the classification’s first three-peat and the state’s first since Powell’s in 2011-13.
The town joined the Buckaroos huddled in celebration near the south end zone. Largent directed them all to put their hands up.
“Who are we?” he asked.
With a loud, thunderous voice of nearly 500, the crowd responded: “Kaycee.”