YODER – For the second straight week, Southeast High School football team will meet a familiar opponent in the playoffs.
Last week, the Cyclones defeated Shoshoni 44-18 to advance to the Class 1A 9-Man championship game, and this week, Southeast will host the Niobrara County Tigers with a state title on the line.
Meanwhile in the other semifinal game, the Tigers traveled across the state to Cowley to defeat Rocky Mountain 52-35, avenging a week six home loss to the Grizzlies.
Friday evening will mark the third meeting between Southeast and Lusk with a state championship on the line.
The last state championship and playoff meeting came in 2012 at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie when the Cyclones defeated the Tigers, 40-6. The first meeting took place in Yoder when Southeast won 14-7 in 2001.
In 2020, the game returns to Yoder and Teeters Memorial Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
“It’s fantastic,” Southeast coach Mark Bullington said of playing at home. “I like the Laramie atmosphere. I don’t have anything against that. We’ve been over there two or three times, but it will be an advantage for us.”
It will be the second meeting between the teams in 2020. The teams last clashed on Oct. 16, and the Cyclones knocked off the Tigers 35-16 in Yoder.
In that game, the Southeast defense limited the division’s top running back Drake Lamp to only 141 yards of rushing. It was the first time in 2020 Lamp was held under 200 yards of rushing.
“They aren’t going to waiver from what they’ve done,” Bullington said.
Now, the Cyclones prepare one more time to slow down the Lusk rushing attack.
The Tigers average 480 yards of rushing per game and only 23 yards of passing.
“They have a kid that is averaging 300-some yards a game,” Bullington said. “They aren’t going to go away from that. They won’t come out throwing the ball over the place.”
In fact, the Tigers have only thrown the ball only 27 times all season, including eight times in the first game, less than a month ago.
Southeast counters with one of the best defenses in the state, allowing only 200 yards and 8.4 points per game.
Friday’s championship game will the 11th title game for the coaching duo of Bullington and assistant Shawn Burkhart.
“It’s just another game with just a little bit higher stakes,” Bullington said. “It’s going to be fun.”
In 2018, the Cyclones were winless at 0-8, and now the 2020 edition of the Southeast team looks to make history as only the third team in school history to finish undefeated.
“It would be fun to run the table,” Bullington said. “That’s our goal.”