CHEYENNE – A big third quarter on both sides of the ball helped lift Cheyenne Central to its fourth consecutive victory Friday night at Riske Field.
The No. 1-ranked Indians defeated second-ranked Thunder Basin 38-26, to move to 4-0 and remain undefeated on the season. Central is the only remaining undefeated team in Class 4A.
It’s the first time its has been undefeated after the first four games of the season since 2009.
“For the first time all year we were explosive offensively,” Central coach Mike Apodaca said. “We knew we were going to have to be, we knew they were going to put up some points so I’m glad our offense continued to put pressure on (Thunder Basin).”
The first half featured a barrage of big plays.
Thunder Basin started the contest by holding Central to a three-and-out on its first possession. The Bolts were quick to turn that stop into points after maintaining great field position as Ryan Baker found Dylan Catlin for a 39-yard touchdown on their second play from scrimmage a 7-0 lead.
Just a little over three minutes later, Andrew Johnson tied the game for the Indians after the senior took a 72-yard bubble screen to the house thanks to some big blocks.
“I get all the credit and everything, but it really was set up by the blockers in front of me,” Johnson said. “I saw two dudes hit the ground and after that its just using my speed. … 100% all the props goes to (my blockers) and not me.”
The Bolts stormed down the field which allowed Hayden Lunberg to punch it in from 6 yards out. Central caught a break after the Garner Gauthier extra point was blocked by Johnson and the Bolts held a 13-7 lead.
Central’s offensive momentum continued as the team marched down the field. It was a Carter Lobatos nine-yard halfback pass to Brady Storebo that gave the Indians their first lead of the game.
Baker and Catlin connected for their second touchdown of the night after a Teagan Tippets 23-yard field goal pushed the Indians’ lead to 17-13. That touchdown was set up by a huge kickoff return by Isaiah Halliburton and the Bolts took a 20-17 lead into the break.
Lobatos quickly took the game into his own hands early in the third quarter. He picked off a Baker pass and, on the very next play, ran in a touchdown from 23 yards out. Lobatos ran in another touchdown a little over 4 minutes later from the 1-yard line after Baker threw another interception – which was picked off by Jadyn Cummings.
“That was actually the calmest our locker room has been,” Apodaca said. “We didn’t have to motivate the kids, they knew they had made some mistakes early.
“We just told them ‘This is proving time right now, you can talk about it or be about it,’ and I thought they were about it tonight.”
Thunder Basin got another touchdown on the board, but Central didn’t let go of the lead for the remainder of the evening.
A 30-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Cummins to Nathanial Talich and big fourth-down stop from the Indians’ defense iced the game.
“All of the work we put in this week and the hours and hours of film we’ve put in all came together,” Johnson said. “There aren’t any words to really describe (this win).”
CENTRAL 38, THUNDER BASIN 26
Thunder Basin... 13 7 6 0 – 26
Cheyenne Central.............. 14 3 14 7 – 38
TB: Catlin 39 pass from Baker (Catlin kick) 9:50
CC: Johnson 72 pass from Cummins (Tippets kick) 6:03
TB: Lunberg 6 run (PAT no good) 3:39
CC: Brady Storebo 9 pass from Lobatos (Tippets kick) 2:10
CC: Tippets 23-yard FG 9:42
TB: Catlin 25 pass from Baker (Gauthier kick) 9:25
CC: Lobatos 23 run (Tippets kick) 9:37
CC: Lobatos 1 run (Tippets kick) 5:19
TB: Pikula 12 run (PAT no good) 1:44
CC: Talich 30 pass from Cummins (Tippets kick) 4:37
Cheyenne Central: Lobatos 17-95, Cummings 2-20, Cummins 4-(minus-11); Thunder Basin: Pikula 20-127, Lunberg 9-42.
Cheyenne Central: Cummins 23-30-1, 351, Lobatos 1-1, 9; Thunder Basin: Baker 16-35-2, 245
Cheyenne Central: Johnson 6-177, Brock Storebo 2-30, Brady Storebo 3-27, Talich 5-75, Lobatos 3-21, Cummings 3-30; Thunder Basin: Meyers 1-6, Felton 2-20, Catlin 5-105, Pikula 4-65, Shepherd 1-23, O’Dell 1-31