YODER, Wyo. — The Southeast football team battled back to take down Lusk 47-28 in the Wyoming 1A state championship game on Friday.
Cord Herring scored with 9:30 left in the second to give Southeast the 13-6 lead. Lusk, though, answered with a score of its own and a 2-point conversion run to take the 14-6 lead going into halftime.
Lusk started strong in the second half. The Tigers’ Aric Eaton sprinted into the end zone for a 79-yard touchdown. Lusk went up 22-13 after scoring on the 2-point conversion.
After marching down the field, Herring again punched the ball into the end zone from 3 yards out for another Southeast touchdown. The Cyclones cut the lead to 22-20.
Lusk was driving down the field, but their drive was stalled on a fumble that was recovered by Southeast.
Herring scored on a two yard run to put Southeast back up 27-22.
On its ensuing possession, Lusk again coughed up the ball only to be recovered by Southeast with 2:22 left in the third quarter. Southeast, though, gave the ball right back on an interception.
The Tigers capitalized on the interception scoring as time expired in the third. The score gave Lusk its last lead of the game at 28-27.
Herring said despite all of the lead changes neither he nor his teammates ever hung their heads.
“I don’t think there was any panic that set in. Our defensive coordinator, Coach (Shawn) Burkart had a game plan that we knew would work. We just had to come out and execute it. We kind of let off there a couple times. We knew we had to step back up and finish it off,” Herring said. “We knew they had those two really good running backs, (Jasper) Caldera and (Drake) Lamp. We knew we just had to get them stood up. Once we slowed them down we had to get after the ball and see if we could get some turnovers.”
Burkart agreed with Herring’s assessment.
“I don’t think we had any panic, we were just trying to get out of our way at times, it seemed like, with the turnovers and the mental mistakes we were making, “ he said.
With 9:18 left in the game, Herring again bulldozed his way into the end zone to reclaim the lead for the Cyclones, 33-28.
Southeast forced another fumble with 9:14 left in the fourth leading to another Herring touchdown and the 40-28 lead.
Southeast’s Ryan Clapper put the game further out of reach on a 17-yard scamper into the end zone to give the Cyclones the 47-28 lead.
Another Lusk turnover sealed the game for Southeast. The Cyclones’ Reece Robertson intercepted a Lusk pass with 2:10 left to play.
A 17-yard run by Clapper helped Southeast eat up the rest of the clock to claim the state title, the ninth of head coach Mark Bullington’s career.
The win over Lusk was the second of the season for Southeast.
“It’s always tough to beat a team twice,” Burkart said. “That is a good team. It wasn’t like they were a pushover. They’re a big rival, you throw all of the records out (when we play them). I’ve been in a couple of these and lost in the title game. It’s always a tough one.”
This was Southeast’s ninth state championship since Burkart has been an assistant for the Cyclones.
“It never gets old,” he said.
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