Natrona County

Natrona County at Sheridan, 7 p.m

GAME OF CHAMPIONS: The Mustangs and Broncs have won the last five Class 4A state titles and nine of 10 since the championship games were moved to War Memorial Stadium.

Last year, Natrona County snapped Sheridan's three-year championship streak with a 28-14 victory. The Mustangs also won last year's regular-season meeting (34-7), giving each team five victories in their last 10 regular-season games.

DEFENSIVE CONCERNS: Despite outscoring its first two opponents by a combined score of 115-40, the Natrona County defense has proved vulnerable. Cheyenne South had 309 rushing yards in the opener and Gillette threw for 274 yards last week.

The defense has gotten tougher inside the red zone, but the Mustangs can't allow Sheridan to move the ball down the field and expect to keep them out of the end zone.

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STAR POWER: As expected, both teams have standout performers on both sides of the ball and both return a Super 25 selection -- Dante Wallace for the Mustangs and Garrett Coon for the Broncs. But it's the supporting casts that could prove to be the difference.

Wallace leads NC in rushing (106.5 ypg), but junior RB Braxton Bundy is averaging 97.5 ypg and junior QB Harrison Taubert is averaging 89.5 ypg. Taubert has also thrown six TD passes with just one interception.

For Sheridan, Coon leads 4A with 160.5 rushing ypg and five rushing scores. Quarterback Jacob Boint has yet to throw an interception and both of his touchdown passes have gone to Toby Jacobs.

TURNOVERS: The Natrona County defense has five takeaways (4 INT, 1 FR), with Wilsk Jackson leading 4A with two interceptions, including a pick-six against South. The Mustangs also forced a fumble on Gillette's first play from scrimmage last week and needed just two plays to turn it into a score, with Wallace running for a 21-yard TD.

Sheridan, meanwhile, has yet to commit a turnover. The Broncs are the only 4A team with a clean sheet through the first two games.

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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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