There’s no doubt Laramie High running back Isaac Sell has emerged as an explosive force on offense during the Class 4A football season.
The senior has rumbled to a commanding lead in the state with 1,224 yards (174.9 per game) in seven games.
But when it comes to stopping the run on defense, fourth-year coach Clint Reed spread the wealth for instrumental leadership and effort to three seniors and two juniors.
They are seniors Colter Nunn and Gavin Kopp at linebacker, junior corner Jackson Devine, junior linebacker Graham Jacques and senior safety Garrett Dodd.
“Colter Nunn is a three-year starter for us (at linebacker), and I know he was out (with injury) for a couple of weeks and did we ever miss him,” Reed said. “He anchors the middle of the field for us and helps getting the calls. He is our quarterback on defense with alignments and him back last week was tremendous. He just keeps flying around.
“(Transfer) Gavin Kopp has been such a great surprise and a blessing at linebacker. We moved him inside with Colter and they are a great 1-2 punch right there.”
Kopp currently leads the Plainsmen with 85 defensive points with 53 tackles (30 assisted, 21 solo), a tackle for loss, a sack, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
“JD (corner Jackson Devine) is a two-year starter who works hard out on the outside, and (linebacker) Graham Jacques is another two-year starter working real hard. We are also glad to have Garrett Dodd back at free safety (after injury). He did a lot and sacrificed a lot this year being a receiver and safety for us in the passing game on both sides of the ball.”
Jacques is second on the team with 84 points with 47 tackles (23 assisted, 18 solo) with five tackles for loss an interception and a pass breakup. Dodd is third on the team with 77 points with 44 tackles (18 assisted, 26 solo) with an interception and a pass breakup.
Finally at homeThe Plainsmen (1-6) will host Cheyenne South (0-7) for what may seem to be fairly strange surroundings — for a game. Laramie has been on the road for five straight weeks and last played at home Sept. 4 for a 35-22 win against Campbell County.
The original schedule had a home game, which was supposed to be homecoming for the Plainsmen, against Kelly Walsh on Sept. 25. But smoke from the nearby Mullen Fire reduced the air quality to force the game to be postponed and moved to Casper the next day.
That game was originally planned to break up two weeks of playing away before and after that contest.
“That’s the theme all week,” Reed said. “We are just thankful to play at home in front of our community, families and peers. It feels like we haven’t had a game here forever, so to be at home — the kids are extremely excited.”
The Bison are led by junior quarterback Braedon Hughes. He leads South in rushing with 460 yards (65.7 per game) and passing 242 yards (15 of 66).
“South has been up and down the last few years, and they may be struggling a bit this year with numbers. But you have respect for any opponent you face and we know they are going to come out and expect to compete against us.
“They are trying to get their first win and we are trying to get our second. This will be critical for us if we want any kind of a postseason shot, so we have to come out to play and compete.”