Blazers honored by ‘USA Today’

TORRINGTON – Torrington’s Jacob Wamboldt was named a first-team offensive lineman on the All-Wyoming team named by USA Today, while fellow Trailblazers Nathan Stitt and Bryan Lemmon were named second-team.

Wamboldt was a staple on the offensive line that was tasked with replacing Logan Harris, who was the starting center for the Wyoming Cowboys this past season as a freshman. Wamboldt, along with his fellow linemen, helped pave the way for the top-ranked offense in 3A.

“I think what sets me apart is the amount of time I put in during the offseason,” Wamboldt said. “The offensive and defensive line is a position where you have to put in work in the weight room both during the season and out of season if you want to be successful.

“Also, coaching is a huge part in being successful,” he added. “Our coaches do a great job of developing all of our players.”

Behind Wamboldt, and the rest of the line, Torrington averaged 203.9 rushing yards (fifth), 164 passing yards (fourth), 367.9 total yards (first) and 36.2 points per game (second).

Wamboldt also had a solid year on the defensive side of the ball, also in the trenches. As a defensive lineman, the senior tallied 3.6 tackles per game, while rounding out his stat sheet with seven tackles for loss and a sack on the season.

Wamboldt joins Harris as recent Blazer linemen to be named to the All-Wyoming team. Harris was named as a defensive lineman in 2015 and an offensive lineman in 2016, both on the first-team.

“Right now, we have a really good tradition of linemen,” coach Mark Lenhardt said. “We have been fortunate with having linemen with god given talent and our staff has done a lot of good things with that.”

Joining the 6-foot-2, 280-pounder on the offensive line of the All-Wyoming first-team are Blayne Baker (Sheridan), Hunter Cranney (Star Valley), Seth Mullinax (Big Horn) and Dan Slack (Natrona County).

On top of being named to the All-Wyoming team, Wamboldt has earned recognition in 3A. He was named all-state and all-conference, while earning the 3A East lineman of the year distinction.

“It is a great honor to be recognized the way I have been, but to me football isn’t an individual sport and I don’t focus too much on accolades,” Wamboldt said.

Stitt joined Wamboldt by being recognized on the offensive side of the ball, earning second-team honors as a wide receiver. He racked up the fourth-most receiving yards in 3A, tallying 68.9 yards per contest during his senior season. His 43 receptions were second among 3A receivers this season and his 11 touchdowns were a class-high.

“I really put an emphasis on the fundamentals,” Stitt said of what sets him apart as a receiver. “I put in a lot of work over the summer and I developed a bond with my teammates that allowed me to be the best that I could.”

The 5-foot-9, 155-pound senior had a game to remember against Douglas this season, where he recorded 189 receiving yards and three touchdowns. On top of his standout game where he broke Torrington High School’s single-game receiving yards mark of 167, Stitt had a standout season by breaking the school record for receiving yards on the season, with 758 to his credit, ahead of the old mark of 596.

“Nate is pretty uncoverable one-on-one. He did a great job in man coverage,” Lenhardt said. “When teams would scheme against him, it would really open up the running game because Nate drew so much attention.”

Like Wamboldt, Stitt played a key role on defense, averaging 2.2 tackles per game, while adding two tackles for loss, six pass breakups, four interceptions and a blocked kick to his stat line.

Stitt was honored with both all-conference and all-state recognition at the end of the season.

“This award really means a lot to me. It feels great to know that all the hard work has paid off,” Stitt said. “It stacks pretty high on the list (of postseason accolades). Only a few of the players in Wyoming can receive this award.”

Flipping to the defensive side of the ball, Lemmon, who is just a junior, was named to the All-Wyoming second-team as a linebacker. He paced the Blazers with 14.1 defensive points and six tackles per game, finishing the year with nine tackles for loss, a sack, a pass breakup, an interception and a blocked kick. His defensive points per game average ranked him 10th in 3A.

Lemmon was a major cog on a defense that allowed only 12.1 points and 224.1 yards per game, both of which ranked third in the class. The Lemmon-led defense was better against the run (121.3 YPG), finishing second in the class, than they were against the pass (102.8 YPG), sitting fourth in 3A.

When it came to all-state and all-conference recognition, Lemmon was named to both lists for his excellence on the offensive side of the ball as well. He was named the 3A East co-offensive player of the year.

The 6-foot, 175-pounder racked up 114.6 yards per game on the ground and 162.9 total yards per game, while notching 22 touchdowns this past season.

“To have the kind of production he has had on the field, it shows how good of a player he is,” Lenhardt said. “He is a very well-rounded kid. He likes to compete.”

Lemmon is one of only 12 non-seniors among the 45 honorees between first- and second-team on both offense and defense.

With three representatives, the Blazers are tied for the third-most players named either on the first-team or second-team. Sheridan leads the way with seven honorees, while Natrona County added six. Torrington and Cheyenne East each have three players named. Big Horn, Cody, Cokeville, Glenrock, Kelly Walsh, Mountain View and Star Valley all have two players on the list, while Big Piney, Buffalo, Evanston, Green River, Greybull, Laramie, Newcastle, Pine Bluffs, Powell, Rock Springs, Thunder Basin and Upton-Sundance round out the nominations with one apiece.

“This is a special place. This town has a blue-collar work ethic and a lot of our guys have adhered to that,” Lenhardt said. “Our program has helped in that, but the reality is these guys can flat out play.”

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