Laramie Fails to Slow Down Rock Springs in Playoff Loss
For a fourth straight year Laramie exited the playoffs with a loss in the first round Friday night. They fell at third-ranked Rock Springs, 37-15.
Rock Springs ran for 399 yards as a team. Matt Fowler rushed for 254 yards and four touchdowns, while Oaklan Jenkins added 112 yards on the ground and a TD pass to Marcus Kalista.
A key loss for Laramie occurred when junior Garrett Worden exited in the third quarter with an injury and didn’t return.
Plainsmen head coach Chuck Syverson said when he got hurt, it took a lot out of their defense.
“He makes a lot of plays in the backfield. They were really looking to run away from him as much as possible, just cause he was making so many plays. When he went out, it kind of balanced up their offense.”
Laramie got off to a slow start and punted on their first three possessions. They held the Tigers to one touchdown and a field goal. Down 11-0, Taylor Dodd connected with Conor Beeston on a 23-yard touchdown pass. A 2-point pass to McCade Johnson pulled LHS within 11-8 just before halftime.
The Plainsmen took their only lead when Dodd found Beeston wide open for a 40-yard TD pass. That made it 15-11 with 8:43 left in the third quarter.
Rock Springs came right back a Fowler TD run and regained the lead 19-15.
After the teams exchanged punts, Laramie tried a fake punt at midfield, but it was sniffed out by the Tigers. They took over and were in the end-zone six plays later and extended for a 25-15 lead.
Syverson said of the fake punt, “Every we had punted we had a lot of pressure on our punter, and they were bringing guys hard off that edge. For whatever reason on that one, they didn’t send them, and they sniffed it out.”
Rock Springs stopped Laramie on downs and had an interception that led to drives capped by two more touchdowns. The Tigers finished with 468 yards of total offense.
Laramie was held to 235 yards offense. The Plainsmen lost the time of possession battle, as their defense was on the field nearly eight more minutes. Dodd threw for 181 yards. Beeston finished with six catches for 99 yards.
Laramie still hasn’t won a first round playoff game since 2000. They concluded the season with a 4-6 record, which is the best for LHS since 2005.
“I think it (the record) just shows how much pride our guys have in themselves and in this team, and giving us the work ethic that they need to make this program better. It can’t just be a one or two class thing. It’s got to be everybody buying into the program and committing to it to make it that much better as we go forward.”
Syverson went on to say they set the bar 'high' for off-season work and being involved in other sports.
The Plainsmen will return five offensive and six defensive starters for the 2017 season.