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Lyman Eagles’ juggernaut eyeing state title

Posted: Friday, Nov 2nd, 2012

Photo by Anna Clemens

Lyman Eagles football is the best team against the run, allowing a paltry 28.4 yards per game, while Natrona, the 4A's top seed, gives up 30.7 yards per game on the ground. The Mustangs are the state’s second best defense, with that impressive 127.8 yards they hold teams to, but the Eagles are the state’s best in all classifications, limiting their opponents to an amazing 92.8 yards per game, on average.

Last year’s 2A state champions, the Lovell Bulldogs, the only team to beat Lyman in 2011, twice, including the state title game, scored six against the Eagles in Lyman this year. Kemmerer managed six points, as well. But that’s it. Lyman opened in the zero week at Altamont, Utah, winning 30-0, in a game that doesn’t count, as many teams conducted glorified scrimmages or played out of classification. The Eagles have eight shutouts to their credit in 10 games played in 2012, including their last six in a row. They have not been scored upon since the game against Lovell on Sept. 14.

And scoring? That’s were the Eagles tip the scales as the most dominant team via classification for the state of Wyoming. Including that first game, which doesn’t officially count — but we will, because it was conducted as more of a game than a scrimmage — Lyman has outscored their opponents 454 to 12. They finished the 2A West with a perfect 7-0, the regular season, 9-0, and pounded the Wheatland Bulldogs 50-0 last week in the playoffs.

Lyman ranks second in the division in rushing, at 249.2 yards, and display decent balance, with 129.6 passing per game. They don’t have to throw the way they run, most football talking heads would be quick to point out. Their 378.8 yards of total offense leads the classification, but by less than a yard over Lovell. 

It is said defense wins championships. The Eagles are far and away the division leader against the run, at 28.4 yards per game, against the pass, 64.3, and total defense, again, only allowing 92.8. Newcastle, Lyman’s semifinal opponent, comes next, and the Dogies give up 203.2.

Last year’s running back, now this year’s quarterback and returning All-State selection, Bransen Bradshaw, is in the top 10 in rushing and passing, with 77.6 yards on the ground and 1209.6 through the air. His favorite target is Cisco Taylor, a returning All-State and Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 player as a junior, averaging 56.7 receiving per game. The third returning All-Stater, Kyle Stokes, is good for 74 yards on the ground each time out, and the Eagles have several more with double-digit averages.

Bobby Wingeleth is a special teams weapon at punt returning, and another threat at receiver; Taylor excels at kickoff returns,
while Bradshaw, Taylor and Kyle Stokes represent three Eagles in the top 10 in scoring for the entire classification.
Marty Rollins is the second-best punter in the 2A football, and Miguel Sandoval is this the fifth-best kicker.

Stokes, Bradshaw, Dustin Rollins, Dalton Schofield, and Wingeleth all rank in the top 50 individual defensive point leaders.

Ted Holmstrom, who guided the Eagles to the state title game last year, accepted a coaching offer with 4A Laramie, clearing the way for former Star Valley Braves head coach Dale Anderson to take the reins of Eagles football. Holmstrom not only believes the Eagles could handle most 3A schools, but asserts, “With what they have coming back, they would compete very well in the 4A ranks this year.”

Strong words? Sure, but if you make it to Laramie, you can assess the talent and draw your own conclusions, because while nothing is a given, there’s little doubt Lyman will be there. They’ll draw the 9-0 Big Horn Bison or a rematch of last year’s state title game with 8-1 Lovell. The Dogies have something to say as one of four teams remaining, but most would agree the Bulldogs and Bison will be more of a battle than the Newcastle at Lyman semifinal kickoff at 1 p.m.

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