COWLEY – The state title defense for the Southeast High School football was short lived.
The Cyclones fell to the Rocky Mountain Grizzlies 37-22 in the opening round of the Wyoming Class 1A 9-Man playoffs on Friday evening.
Southeast led on two occasions, including putting up the first points of the game courtesy of a 26-yard field goal from senior kicker Ryan Clapper.
The 3-0 lead held until the 2:02 mark in the opening quarter when Rocky Mountain scored its first touchdown of the game, taking a 7-3 lead into the second quarter.
Over the next 12 minutes the teams traded scores.
Senior running back Cord Herring put the Cyclones back on top with a 1-yard run, just seconds into the second quarter, but two minutes later Rocky Mountain countered with a 9-yard run.
With 4:02 left in the half, Herring added his second rushing touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run. His attempt at the two-point conversion failed, leaving the Cyclone lead at 15-14.
Once again, the Grizzlies countered with a 60-yard drive, chewing up all but six seconds of the half. Rocky Mountain capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to go back in front just before halftime.
It was the first of three consecutive scores by the home team.
The second and only score of the third quarter came with 7:38 in the third, pushing the Grizzly lead to 27-15.
Rocky Mountain pushed the lead to 34-15 early in the fourth quarter with 10:05 left in the game.
On the ensuing drive, Southeast successfully turned a hook-and-ladder play into seven points when senior quarterback Grant Logsdon’s pass found junior receiver Austin Short, who lateraled it to Clapper for the 17-yard touchdown.
The 34-22 deficit was as close as Southeast got to regaining the lead for the remainder of the night.
Clapper led Southeast in rushing with 69 yards on 10 attempts, while Herring had 33 yards on 12 tries. Logsdon was 5-of-12 passing for 52. His top target was Short, who hauled in three catches for 74 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, junior Wyatt Champbell led the Cyclones with 9.5 tackles, while Herring had 7.5. Sophomore Tiegan Thompson added 6.5 stops.
The Cyclone season ends with a 4-5 record.