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Natrona County continued its march toward a possible No. 1 seed in the Class 4A playoffs with a 51-14 victory over Cheyenne Central on Friday at Cheney Alumni Field.

The Mustangs (7-1) enter the final week of the regular season tied with Cheyenne East and Thunder Basin atop the 4A standings.

Natrona County took control of Friday’s game from the opening drive. Junior Dante Wallace capped a 10-play, 71-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.

Following a Central punt, the Mustangs went 81 yards in nine plays for a 14-0 advantage. Sophomore quarterback Harrison Taubert, who was playing for injured senior Kade Stoner, connected with Jordan Bertagnole for a 30-yard scoring toss on a fourth-and-22.

The Indians (2-6) answered with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Dawson Macleary to Blaine Dilly late in the first quarter.

The teams then traded touchdowns — Taubert throwing an 8-yard scoring pass to Tehl Campbell and Macleary connecting with Ty Langley on an 8-yard score — before Natrona County added a 12-yard TD run by Taubert and a safety to take a 30-14 lead into the locker room.

The Mustangs put the game away with a dominating third quarter as Wallace added two touchdown runs (20 and 9 yards) and Taubert found Bertagnole for a 6-yard score.

Stoner, a senior, took the first snap of the game for the Mustangs before handing over the reins to Taubert. Stoner was injured in last week’s Oil Bowl victory over Kelly Walsh but is expected to be ready for next week and the playoffs. Taubert rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in addition to his three TD passes. He also threw two interceptions.

Wallace went over 1,000 yards for the season on his first carry and finished with almost 200 yards rushing and leads 4A with 19 rushing touchdowns.

Natrona County closes the regular season at Rock Springs (3-5). Thunder Basin, a 33-17 winner over Kelly Walsh, hosts Laramie (4-4) and Cheyenne East hosts Sheridan (6-2).

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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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