Thunder Basin gets defensive in 10-7 come-from-behind win over Cheyenne Central

Photo courtesy of Brian Mitchell.

Without the services of injured leading rusher Isaiah Haliburton, the Thunder Basin High School football team had to step up in other areas in the senior’s absence Friday against Cheyenne Central. His team didn’t disappoint as the defense put on a clinic and the offense did enough to save the day and beat the Indians 10-7 showdown.

After trailing for most of the game, the Bolts met the challenge in the final 24 minutes of the game. In fact, they were shut out at halftime for the first time this year 7-0.

The halftime speech was all it took. The TBHS defense paved the way to victory by shutting out the Indians in the second half with big play after big play.

That gave the offense time to finally find just enough rhythm to chalk up another win. The Bolts got close to the end zone late in the third before stalling. But Cade Ayers did not let that drive go to waste as the senior split the uprights on a short field goal with 5:03 left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to four, 7-3.

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The defense continued to smother Cheyenne Central and made sure the offense got the ball right back.

The Bolts made the most out of their next possession with what turned out to be the winning points of the game. Senior quarterback Ryan Baker connected with junior receiver Kayden Laframboise on a 70-yard pitch-and-catch that ended with a touchdown and a 10-7 TBHS lead with 13 seconds left in the third stanza.

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That led to a defensive tug-of-war fight to the finish.

The game went down literally to the final second. The Indians thought they grabbed the lead with two minutes left to play on a long run by quarterback Keagen Bartlett. However, a holding call snuffed that out.

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Cheyenne Central didn’t give up. The visitors got inside the TBHS 30-yard-line with less than two minutes to go and appeared ready to steal the game.

Denied.

The Bolts buckled down like a state-title contender. Huge defensive plays by Elie Churches, Darius Felton, Lane Catlin and the stingy Thunder Basin defense rocked the Indians. Lafromboise and Catlin then batted down two passes and Central faced fourth down with two seconds on the clock. A last-second 42-yard field goal try was long enough but wide left and the Bolts won again.

Thunder Basin, now 3-1 and ranked No. 3 in the state, take on cross-town rival Campbell County next Friday night.