CHEYENNE – From the opening kickoff, Cheyenne South showed it was going for broke against No. 3-ranked Thunder Basin on Friday night.
The Bison nearly recovered that on-side kick, setting up the theme for the remainder of the night: Thunder Basin capitalizing on short fields during a 45-6 victory.
The Bolts (2-1) scored 42 first-half points. It netted a touchdown on all but its first possession, and started all of its first-half drives on South’s half of the field.
“We took a chance with that on-side kick and almost got it,” South coach Dan Gallas said. “We had practiced that quite a bit, and Thunder Basin did a good job of going and getting the ball before it got to them. We could tell that ball was going to go 10 yards if they didn’t come get it.
“If we get that, we’ve got the opening possession, and who knows what happens.”
Thunder Basin started their second possession on South’s 39-yard line, and scored three plays later when senior running back Isaiah Halliburton bulled his way into the end zone for the first of his three touchdowns. Halliburton – who is Class 4A’s leading rusher – gained 53 yards on seven carries before exiting the game late in the first half with a left leg injury.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes,” junior linebacker Robert Campbell said. “We have a lot of young players who are still in the process of learning stuff. The effort was fully there, but we have to come together and do our jobs.”
Added senior Braeden Hughes: “We have to get it into the young guys’ heads that they’re not playing junior high anymore. They’re playing varsity ball, so they have to get aggressive and hit the other team in the mouth.”
In addition to Halliburton’s three scores, the Bolts also got a 32-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Caden Randall, a 9-yard catch from Kayden LaFramboise and a 2-yard reception from Ethan Cox.
Cade Ayers drilled a career-long 42-yard field goal to start the second half. That put Thunder Basin up 45-0 and started the running clock due to the 45-point mercy rule.
The Bison got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter when Hughes took a handoff and raced to the right. He tip-toed down the left sideline and got in for a 30-yard touchdown.
“I like our kids because they play hard for the whole game,” Gallas said. “They’ll make mistakes, but who doesn’t at this age? We had way too many off-sides penalties. That really hurt us. I was disappointed in that.
“We have to eliminate mistakes because that’s our biggest issue right now. Our execution can be very good at times, and then it’s not.”
Dillon Glick had an interception and a blocked punt for the Bolts.
South plays at Campbell County (1-2) at 6 p.m. Friday.
THUNDER BASIN 45, SOUTH 6
Thunder Basin…… 21 21 3 0 – 45
Cheyenne South…… 0 0 6 0 – 6
TB: Halliburton 1 run (Ayers kick), 6:56.
TB: Randall 32 pass from Baker (Ayers kick), 4:50.
TB: Halliburton 15 run (Ayers kick), 0:42.
TB: LaFramboise 9 pass from Baker (Ayers kick), 11:16.
TB: Halliburton 5 run (Ayers kick), 8:31.
TB: Cox 2 pass from Baker (Ayers kick), 0:03.
TB: Ayers 42 field goal, 5:51.
CS: B. Hughes 30 run (run failed), 1:18.
Thunder Basin: Baker 3-(minus-11), Randall 2-14, Halliburton 7-53, Black 4-17, Cox 3-28, Foltz 1-14. Cheyenne South: B. Hughes 11-57, Garcia 11-(minus-3), Thoms 4-6, Aragon 9-19.
Thunder Basin: Baker 10-19-0 146, Cox 2-3-0 17. Cheyenne South: Garcia 3-10-1 13.
Thunder Basin: Cox 1-2, Holte 1-12, Ayers 1-9, Jordan 2-12, LaFramboise 2-48, Randall 3-63, Glick 1-12, Vetter 1-5. Cheyenne South: B. Hughes 1-2, Weber 1-13, Thomas 1-(minus-2).