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CLASS 1A/6-MAN

Prep football: Snake River, Encampment meet for Class 1A/6-man title

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Encampment Football

Encampment's Koye Gilbert runs for yardage in the Tigers' game against the Natrona County freshmen on Sept. 19, 2019 at Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.

When the Wyoming High School Activities Association reintroduced 6-man football in 2009, Snake River was one of eight programs to field a team. Ten years later, Encampment finally joined the party. Friday, the Rattlers and Tigers will play for the Wyoming State High School Class 1A/6-man championship at the University of Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium.

“We’re pretty excited,” Encampment head coach Kegan Willford said. “It’s been a huge effort and our community has been so supportive. These boys have put in a lot of work and they take a lot of pride in starting their own program. It’s a pretty special moment for us to put all of that together in three short years and be where we are right now.”

Community support, driven players bring football back to Encampment

Encampment (8-1) is looking to repeat Snake River’s beginning timeline. After playing a non-varsity schedule in 2019 the Tigers advanced to the semifinals last year — losing 42-41 to eventual state champ Farson — and now they’re in position to win the program’s first state title.

The Rattlers lost in the quarterfinals in 2009 before winning back-to-back state championships the next two years and putting together a 22-game winning streak.

Two years ago Snake River claimed its third title behind a defense that didn’t allow a point all season until the championship game.

Class 1A/6-man: Myers' monster day guides Snake River's 71-38 title win

“Snake River is a great team with a lot of tradition,” Willford acknowledged.

Now Encampment is looking to start a tradition of its own. Snake River head coach Jack Cobb, a native of Baggs who played for the Rattlers, has no doubt the Tigers are on that path.

“They’ve always had good athletes,” he said. “I’m not at all surprised that they’re where they are because they’ve always been competitive.”

When the two teams met back on Sept. 10, Snake River (9-0) rolled to a 66-24 victory that Cobb said was closer than the final score indicated.

“I always say in six-man the score never tells the story of the game,” he said. “Once a team loses their momentum the game can change in a matter of moments.”

Sophomores Quade Jordan and Kaben Pickett lead the Tigers’ offensive attack. Jordan has rushed for 1,507 yards and 25 touchdowns; Pickett has thrown for 783 yards with 18 touchdowns and just one interception. Thirteen of those TD passes have gone to senior Koye Gilbert.

The Rattlers lead 6-man in rushing, averaging 329.3 yards per game on the ground. In the earlier win over the Tigers, Snake River rushed for 326 yards and eight TDs. Kannadis Peroulis rushed for 165 yards and four touchdowns. The junior leads the Rattlers with 1,456 rushing yards and 18 TDs.

Sophomore quarterback Zane Matheson, who took over after starter Hadley Myers was injured early in the season, has thrown for 520 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“Our depth has impressed me,” Cobb said. “We’ve had a few injuries that could have derailed us, but kids stepped up and we kept it going.”

Encampment averages 266.3 rushing yards per game, but is going against a Snake River defense that allows just 56.6 rushing ypg and has 36 tackles for loss. Senior Zander Risner has 13 TFL and 10 sacks for the Rattlers.

“Encampment is a big, tough, strong, physical team,” Cobb said. “They stay true to what they do and dare you to stop them. It should be a heck of a game.”

Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @wyovarsity

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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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