TORRINGTON – The Southeast High School and Lingle-Fort Laramie High School football teams will face familiar opponents in the semifinal round of playoffs of their respective classifications.
Southeast will travel to Big Horn, a team who the Cyclones hosted in Yoder just two weeks ago, while the Doggers will make a return trip to Hanna to square off with the Hanna-Elk Mountain Miners.
Just two weeks ago, the Cyclones and Big Horn met in Yoder with the visiting Rams coming away with a 49-7 win over Southeast.
The teams come into Friday Class 1A semifinal matchup having two different opening round games.
Big Horn crushed Wind River 82-0, setting a state record for most points in an 11-man postseason game.
Meanwhile, Southeast dealt with rare penalty issues. They were flagged 13 times for 135 yards. However, the bigger issue for Friday night for the Cyclones – they will be without junior quarterback Hayden Anderson, who was ejected from the 25-6 win over Shoshoni with no explanation from game officials, according to coach Mark Bullington.
“We will have to be creative without our quarterback,” Bullington said. “It is what it is, and we have to move on.”
Ultimately, if Southeast wants to pull off the upset and return to Laramie for the first time since 2012, it’s going to come down to limiting the big plays.
“We saw some holes,” Bullington said of Big Horn. “They are sound. They threw four bombs on us because we didn’t have coverage.”
In the first meeting, Southeast struggled to throw the ball, but Bullington is confident that his team can move the ball on Class 1A’s top defense, who averages allowing 170.1 yards per game during the regular season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday in Big Horn.
The Doggers will look to avenge a 69-24 loss in week four of the season.
When asked about what it will take to defeat HEM this time around, juniors Cordell Forkner and Cooper Hill simultaneously responded, “Turnovers.”
L-FL turned the ball over 12 times in the midseason loss to the Miners, and the Doggers hope to limit those this time around.
“That’s no excuse for a 40-point loss,” L-FL coach Matt Cornelius said. “I would like to think we are a much different team than we were the first time we played them. We are hoping to go over to Hanna and shake things up.”
HEM is coming off a 73-36 win over Meeteetse in the opening round.
The Doggers will once again have their hands full with HEM twins, Conor and Shane McGraw.
“Keeping the twins locked in,” Hill said for an additional key to game.
Both McGraw’s are ranked in the top five in all-purpose yards in the 6-man ranks.
“Hanna has two really good skills players and they like spread the field out so you are forced to spread the edges out,” Cornelius said. “It also spreads out the field for those two young men to have some space to run.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Hanna, and a win would send the Doggers to their first state championship game since 2009.
“We just have to do our jobs and we’ll do fine,” Forkner said.