Multiple injuries to begin with, some more key players going down, and big plays doomed the Plainsmen’s chances Friday night in Class 4A football action.
Campbell County took advantage of a very thin Laramie roster for a 48-3 win in Gillette.
“It’s quite a predicament the program is in, the coaching staff is in and the school is in when your best player (senior running back Grahm Jaques) was lost for the season two weeks ago, and now our starting quarterback (senior Ethan Jenkins) is lost with a broken collarbone,” first-year LHS coach Paul Ronga said during the KOWB 1290 AM postgame show. “We are continuing to be decimated by injuries. We don’t even have enough linebackers right now to field, down to our third linebacker who also has an injury, as well.”
The Plainsmen capitalized on the first play of the game when Campbell County junior running back Ian Carter fumbled on the first play of the game. Laramie junior free safety Mason Branch recovered the ball at the Camels’ 26-yard line.
After three plays, Plainsman senior kicker Talon Luckie scored the first points for Laramie this season and converted his first career field goal with a line drive through the uprights with 10:03 left in the first quarter. The Laramie defense also kept Campbell County in check in making the 3-0 lead last to the end of the quarter.
But it was all Camels for the rest of the game.
“Yet again, with the resiliency of the program and the kids not quitting by coming out here after a 5-hour bus ride and going up 3-0,” Ronga said. “We were running and executing the offensive plays to get off to a great start and controlled the line of scrimmage. We were doing the things we wanted to do, but it just broke down.
“One of the reasons it broke down is because we are just so decimated, thin and just don’t have the manpower,” Ronga said. “We’re playing with sophomore players with no varsity experience and our opponents just keep coming in waves at us and we don’t have the manpower to sustain that.”
The Camels rolled up 442 yards of total offense in the game with 272 on the ground and 170 in passing to go with 19 first downs. Laramie had 37 rushing yards, 22 passing yards for 59 total and three first downs.
Campbell County (1-1) put the game out of reach with 27 second-quarter points as a result of four touchdowns: a 6-yard run from quarter Aidan Dorr; a 20-yard catch by tight end Logan Dymond on a pass from Dorr; a 47-yard interception return from defensive back Jace Walker; and a 39-yard catch from senior wide receiver Remar Pitter on a pass from Dorr with 20 second left before halftime at a 27-3 lead at the break.
Jenkins then came out of the Laramie locker room with a giant ice pack replacing his shoulder pads and sophomore Ben Malone took over at quarterback for the Plainsmen.
Junior running back Pablo Zepeda led the Plainsmen with 14 carries for 32 yards.
The Camels were led on the ground by Carter’s 117 yards on 17 carries and Will Miller chipped in for 99 yards on 10 carries. Dorr was 6-for-8 passing for 170 yards.
The Plainsmen will host Natrona (1-1) next Friday. The Mustangs will be coming off a tough battle against defending state champion Cheyenne East in a 14-13 loss.