LINGLE – The last time the Lingle-Fort Laramie High School football team stepped onto the field for a playoff game, the 2019-20 senior class was still in middle school.
The year was 2015, and the Doggers were the top seed from the Class 1A East Conference. They were ultimately beaten 28-9 in the semifinal round by the Tongue River Eagles at Kirk Field in Lingle.
Now, for the first time since moving to the 6-Man division, and for the first time under the leadership of coach Matt Cornelius, the Doggers are back in the playoffs.
“We are excited to get back in the postseason mix and hopefully will shake somethings up in the state,” he said.
The Doggers head to the playoffs as the No. 3 seed from the East Conference and will travel to No. 2 seed Burlington on Friday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Burlington comes into the 2019 playoffs as the defending 6-Man runners-up after reaching the state title game as the No. 4 seed a year ago. The Huskies fell 73-38 in the championship game.
“Burlington has a winning attitude and went far in the playoffs last year. They have a really strong football community, so things will be loud, and the atmosphere will be a lot of fun in Burlington,” Cornelius said. “Our kids are prepared for it, and hopefully things will shake out with a win.”
Burlington likes to spread the offense out, and that has been an Achilles heel for the Doggers.
“About midseason, we’ve made some tweaks to our defense and have done a pretty solid job of containing that spread offense,” Cornelius said. “We are hoping to continue tightening things up throughout the week and make a good showing with our defense against it.”
Through seven weeks of the season, Burlington averaged 146.2 yards passing per game and 96.2 yards on the ground, while Lingle is just opposite.
The Doggers rack up an average of 258.8 rushing yards per game while averaging only 64.5 passing yards, and that is the game plan for L-FL.
“Pound-wise, we are bigger than their front line, so we are hoping to line it up and go toe-to-toe with them and run it right at them,” Cornelius said.
On the other side of the ball, Burlington gives up an average of 164.8 yards per game, while Lingle gives up 390.6 yards per game.
“There will be no surprises either way,” Cornelius said. “Their system has been the same all year and our system has been pretty much the same all year.”