Pine Bluffs 1A 9-Man Championship Preview

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 12:29 AM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - It’s safe to say that not many are surprised to see the Pine Bluffs football team back in the 1A 9-Man state finals. The Hornets once again had an undefeated regular season, winning many of their games in lopsided fashion.

While that sustained dominance could lead to complacency from other teams, coach Will Gray said his players have no problems staying motivated.

“It’s something that has to come from within. If you have a group of kids that all they do is worry about scores and margin of victory, then it’s tough. But if you have a group of kids that understand that practice is for a reason and we’ve got to find things to get better at, that’s what this group is good at doing. They don’t come to practice with ‘oh it’s just another hour and a half until I get to go home’, it’s ‘alright, this is what I specifically need to get better at,’” Gray said.

That mentality helped get the Hornets past Rocky Mountain in the semifinals-- the same team that beat them in the semis last year following another perfect regular season.

The meeting this time around was again not an easy one for Pine Bluffs. They jumped out to a 13-0 lead before surrendering 20 unanswered, and they found themselves down 32-27 in the fourth quarter. In that moment, the Hornets dug deep down the stretch and ended up pulling out a 35-32 victory to send them to Laramie.

Now, they’ve turned their attention to a rematch with the reigning champs Shoshoni. Pine Bluffs edged out the previous meeting 34-26 in the first game of the season, but Coach Gray said the Wranglers present a lot of problems for his team-- especially in the run game.

However, he was confident that on Saturday the heart of his players will be on full display.

“This year I think they’re just ready. They’re ready to just go play and give our community everything they have one last time,” Gray said.

The Hornets’ attempt to finish an immaculate season kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday.