TORRINGTON – Seventeen local football players were named all-conference, while 10 of those 17 were named all-state in the recent postseason honors that were released last week.
Torrington was the most well represented with 11 players named all-conference and seven all-state. Southeast racked up five all-conference and three all-state, while Lingle-Fort Laramie had one all-conference player.
The Blazers had four all-state honorees on offense and three on defense.
“I think its excellent any time you have the amount of selections we had,” Torrington coach Mark Lenhardt said. “It just speaks to how well our season went.”
Starting on offense, Breyden Bivens was named all-state after ranking third in 3A in passing yards per game (160.5). He threw for 19 touchdowns and ran for another six. The senior averaged 17.2 yards per game on the ground as well.
Nathan Stitt was Bivens’ top target on the year, hauling in 11 touchdowns on 43 receptions. He averaged 68.9 receiving yards per game. Although Stitt was named all-state on offense, he still showed his hands on defense, racking up four interceptions and six pass breakups on the year.
Bryan Lemmon was named all-state as a running back, ranking third in the class with 114.6 yards per game on the ground. His 18 rushing touchdowns placed him second in 3A. Lemmon also had 25 receptions for 475 yards and four touchdowns. Helping pave the way for Lemmon and the rest of the Blazer backs was Scott Woodruff, who was named all-state as an offensive lineman.
“We had a pretty dangerous three-headed monster with our quarterback, wide receiver and running back,” Lenhardt said.
Although Lemmon and Woodruff both were honored on offense, they had solid years on defense. Lemmon paced the Blazers with 14.1 defensive points and six tackles per game, while tallying nine tackles-for-loss, a sack, a pass breakup, an interception and a blocked kick. Woodruff averaged 2.8 tackles a game and rounded out his season with a tackle-for-loss and a sack.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball, Josh Kingsley and Jacob Wamboldt both made their presence known all season and they were recognized for their efforts. Wamboldt, who also spent time on the offensive line for the Blazers, racked up 3.6 tackles per game and finished the year with 7 tackles for loss and one sack. Kingsley paced Torrington with four sacks on the season, which he paired with four tackles-for-loss, a fumble recovery, a pass breakup and four tackles per game.
Bo Moorehouse, who was recognized as a defensive back, was the final all-state player for the Blazers. On the season, he had five interceptions, four pass breakups and two tackles for loss, while averaging 2.5 tackles per game.
Brandon Bennick, Lathen Canaday, Cade Schwartzkopf and Josh Posten rounded out the all-conference nominees for Torrington. Bennick, like Woodruff and Wamboldt, helped protect Bivens and provide lanes for Torrington ball carriers as the center on the offensive line. Canaday capped the offensive line, playing as a tight end all season. In the passing game, he had six receptions for 65 yards.
Posten and Schwartzkopf were both recognized for their efforts in the defensive backfield. Schwartzkopf led Torrington in interceptions, with six on the year, and he had three pass breakups. The junior recorded 1.5 tackles per game. Posten finished the year with one interception, four pass breakups and a tackle-for-loss. He was also third for the Blazers in tackles per game, averaging 3.9.
Of the 11 players named all-conference for Torrington, six were underclassmen and are set to return next year.
“Those guys have played a lot of football and they’ll be as experienced as pretty much everyone in the state,” Lenhardt said.
Five of the all-conference nods, four of which were also all-state, have played their final down in a Blazer uniform.
“These guys were incredible over a four-year period,” Lenhardt said. “They’ve carried on a tradition over their time here. I’m really pleased for these kids because I’ve seen the work they’re put in.”
In the 3A East, the Blazers had several standouts. Lemmon, along with Michael Yeaman of Douglas, was named co-offensive player of the year, while Wamboldt was named the 3A East lineman of the year.
“I think (the linemen) is one of those positions where the game is won or lost,” Lenhardt said. “We have been very fortunate to have big talented guys, but we also put a lot of emphasis on developing them.”
Lenhardt, who has piloted Torrington to a 31-9 record over the past four seasons and guided the Blazers to their first championship game since 1996, was named the 3A East coach of the year.
The Blazers’ 11 all-conference players paced the 3A East, with Buffalo coming in second with nine honorees. Douglas turned in eight all-conference players, followed by Riverton (five), Rawlins (four) and Lander (three).
On the all-state list, Cody and Star Valley were the most well-represented teams with eight nominees apiece. Torrington came in next with seven, followed by Green River (six), Buffalo (five), Evanston (three), Powell, Rawlins and Riverton (two apiece) and Douglas and Worland (one apiece).
Cyclones Chase Lovercheck, Tanner Hort and Hunter Woodruff were recognized as all-state players in 1A 11-man.
Lovercheck was the top rusher for the Cyclones, racking up 108.8 yards per contest, which was third best in the class. He also averaged 6.8 yards per game receiving. The senior accounted for eight touchdowns on the year, putting him second on the Cyclones. He also ranked fourth on the team in defensive points per game (6.3), averaging three tackles per game, along with two tackles-for-loss on the season.
Hort spent a lot of his time in the trenches for Southeast, with his biggest presence felt on defense. He led the Cyclones with 15.5 defensive points per game. He racked up 7.2 tackles per game and eight tackles-for-loss and a sack on the year. He also spent time on the offensive line throughout his senior season.
Another senior in Woodruff spent all his time in the trenches, helping to anchor the offensive line for the second-best rushing attack in 1A 11-man (272.4 YPG). On defense, he tallied 2.3 tackles per game, along with a half sack and a tackle-for-loss on the year.
Seniors Brady Fullmer and Sterling Werner also joined Lovercheck, Hort and Woodruff on the all-conference list for the 1A 11-man East.
As the signal caller for Southeast, Fullmer averaged 47.3 passing yards per game. On top of passing, he also was big in the run game, tallying 42.1 yards per game on the ground, with seven rushing touchdowns. His nine total touchdowns led the Cyclones in scoring this year. He also stepped in on defense when needed and tallied 2.3 tackles per game, three tackles for loss and an interception.
Werner’s presence was felt on both offense and defense. Coming out of the tight end spot, he was the top receiver for Southeast, tallying 23 receiving yards per game and a receiving touchdown. On defense, Werner was a menace in the backfield, racking up 7.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks on the season, along with 4.7 tackles per game.
In the 1A 11-man East, Pine Bluffs had the most all-conference selections, with eight, while Big Horn had seven. Upton-Sundance had the next most (six), followed by Southeast’s five, Wright (four), Niobrara County (three) and Tongue River (two). Pine Bluffs also had eight all-state selections, followed by Big Horn, Cokeville and Upton-Sundance, who each had six, Southeast and Rocky Mountain with three apiece. Niobrara County, Wind River and Wright each had two, while Saratoga and Shoshoni rounded out the selections with one apiece.
Senior Gaven Niles was the lone all-conference representative for the Doggers. He made a huge contribution on defense, ranking fifth in the conference in defensive points per game, averaging 20.8. Throughout the season, he averaged 8.6 tackles per game, while racking up 17 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks and a blocked kick on the year.
“Gaven was a defensive specialist. Coaches had to change their game plan to deal with him,” L-FL coach Matt Cornelius said. “On defense, if we needed a big play, he was a guy who normally came up big.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Niles toted the rock twice on the season, but he took both carries in for a score.
Brandon Hill was named all-conference honorable mention for his efforts during his final football campaign with L-FL. Like Niles, Hill didn’t carry the ball often, with only 10 carries on the season, but he made them count, recording three rushing touchdowns on the year. He was second on the team in receiving, hauling in 34.9 passing yards per game. He had a team-high 28 receptions and accounted for two receiving touchdowns.
On defense, Hill was second on the team in tackles per game, with 6.4. He also had four tackles-for-loss and two pass breakups.
“Brandon was a two-way starter for two years for us so that will be hard to replace next year,” Cornelius said.
Kaycee led the way in 1A six-man East with seven all-conference honorees, while Midwest and Guernsey-Sunrise each added five. Hanna-Elk Mountain chipped in four and Hulett accounted for three. On the all-state list, Kaycee again topped the list with six recognitions, followed by Farson-Eden (four), Burlington (three), Little Snake River (three), Meeteetse (two), Midwest (one) and Hanna-Elk Mountain (one).