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PREP FOOTBALL

Natrona County secures home playoff game; Kelly Walsh falls to 7 seed

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NC v East Football

Natrona County quarterback Tyler Hill runs for yardage in the Mustangs' game against Cheyenne East on Sept. 3 at Cheney Alumni Field in Casper. Hill threw three touchdown passes in NC's 51-27 victory over Cheyenne South on Friday night.

Friday night might have been Senior Night for the Natrona County football team, but when the dust settled across the state it wasn’t the final home game for the Mustangs.

Natrona County (6-3) did its part against winless Cheyenne South, building a 38-0 lead and coasting to a 51-27 victory at Cheney Alumni Field. And longtime rival Sheridan held on for a 28-20 victory at Thunder Basin to not only claim the No. 1 seed for the Class 4A playoffs beginning next week, but hand the Mustangs the No. 4 seed. NC will host the Bolts (6-3), who fell to the 5 seed as a result of a 28-14 loss to the Mustangs last week.

Across town, Kelly Walsh wasn’t as fortunate. The Trojans went into their game against Gillette with a chance to claim the 6 seed with a victory, but turned the ball over four times in the first quarter and suffered a 33-6 defeat. That dropped the Trojans (3-6) to the 7 seed, which means they’ll play at No. 2 Rock Springs (8-1) in the quarterfinals. The Tigers defeated KW 52-0 on Sept. 10.

Natrona County jumped on South early. Kaeden Wilcox got things started with a 23-yard touchdown run, followed by a 56-yard scoring pass from Tyler Hill to Kayden Pharr. Luke Spencer added a 43-yard TD run and Hill threw a 16-yard TD pass to Roman Overstreet to make it 28-0 after the first quarter.

The Mustangs extended the lead to 38-0 on a 26-yard field goal from Zach Barrett and a 7-yard pass from Hill to Billy Brenton. Natrona County added two touchdowns in the second half on a 4-yard run from lineman Brendyn Nelson and an 80-yard kickoff return by Wilcox.

For the Bison, Will Aragon scored two rushing touchdowns and Osayas Garcia threwtwo TD passes.

***

Kelly Walsh took the opening kickoff and drove deep into Gillette territory before fumbling and the Camels recovered at their own 8-yard line.

The Camels returned the favor two possessions later, but another KW fumble near midfield gave the ball back to Gillette. The Camels took advantage when Mason Drube connected with Brady Tompkins for a touchdown pass. Following another KW fumble the two hooked up again to make it 14-0 with just 39 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

Yet another fumble by the Trojans gave the Camels the ball late in the quarter and Logan Dymond made them pay with a 4-yard touchdown reception from Drube early in the second quarter. Kelly Walsh did get on the board just before the half on a field goal from Beckham Stowe but trailed 20-3.

The Trojans couldn’t fully capitalize on a 65-yard run from Cam Burkett early in the second half and had to settle for another Stowe field goal.

Dymond scored his second TD to push the lead to 27-6 and Will Miller capped the scoring with a 4-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

The loss was the fourth in a row and the sixth in seven games for the Trojans.

Also Friday, Rock Springs won 31-15 at Cheyenne East and Cheyenne Central secured the No. 8 seed with a 58-13 victory over Laramie.

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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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