The fourth-ranked Laramie Plainsmen concluded the regular season with a second straight loss Friday night at Kelly Walsh, 18-15.

Plainsmen head coach Chuck Syverson admitted the line of scrimmage was a big factor in their defeat.

“I was really surprised with how they really handled us up front. I thought we’d do a little bit better job than that. Part of it was, I think we came out a little bit flat that first half. Second half, I thought they responded and played a little bit better.”

Syverson added that penalties really hurt.

“We have some cut blocks we use on some plays, and we got some high-low calls on it, and we haven’t done that all year… some mental break-downs with some false starts that took us out of some key situations. A couple turnovers, but I didn’t think the turnovers killed us. I really thought the penalties were probably the biggest difference in the game tonight (Friday night).”

Laramie committed ten penalties for 99 yards.

Running back Sesar Chavez took a screen past 57-yards for a touchdown. That gave the Trojans the lead for good with 4:10 left in the third quarter.

Conor Beeston returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards, but two plays later the Plainsmen fumbled. Kelly Walsh defensive end Hunter Wright scooped it up and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. It made it 18-7 Trojans with 3:10 left in the third.

Laramie (4-5) answered right back with a seven-yard Taylor Dodd to Beeston TD pass. The two hooked up for a 2-point pass, as the Plainsmen trimmed it to 18-15 with 31 seconds left in the quarter.

Kelly Walsh (5-4) went on a 12-play march and reached the red zone, but Laramie held and got the ball back with five minutes left.

The Plainsmen got all the way to the Trojans 35-yard line, but two penalties and six-yard loss put LHS in a hole. Dodd threw three straight incompletions, and Kelly Walsh took over on downs.

Three kneel downs later, the Trojans won their fourth straight game and broke a three-game skid to Laramie.

The Plainsmen had 289 yards on offense. Dodd was 15-of-22 for 159 yards, a TD and an interception. He added 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Nate Burman led the defense with two interceptions.

Kelly Walsh finished with 230 yards total offense. Chavez ran for 66 yards on 15 carries and had the one TD catch. Defensively, they sacked Dodd three times and forced the two turnovers.

With the loss, Laramie fell into a three-way tie for fifth place in the final standings with Natrona and Cheyenne East. The Plainsmen get the sixth seed because of tie-breakers. The Mustangs upset of top-seed Gillette earlier in the season gives NC the five-seed. Laramie’s win against East earns them six. East falls to seven.

The Plainsmen will be on the road in the first round of the 4A playoffs next Friday. They head to Rock Springs to take on the Tigers. Laramie lost the first meeting earlier this season, 29-21 on Sept. 2 in Laramie.

Syverson said, “I just think offensively we did so many good things against them last time; just had so many opportunities that we missed; we had so many turnovers that game, which killed us.”

Kick-off of the playoff game has yet to be determined.