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Powell wins overtime thriller over Douglas, takes 3-A title

Nov 18, 2013 - From staff reports

The clash of unbeaten Class 3-A powerhouses didn't disappoint.

Powell and Douglas needed overtime to decide the state championship Friday at War Memorial Stadium.

The Panthers came through in the extra session, stopping the Bearcats on the goal line, then sending quarterback Hayden Cragoe into the end zone from 2 yards away, giving Powell a 19-13 victory and its third straight state championship. The story was reported by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

"I was just going crazy, everyone was going nuts and it was the best feeling ever," Cragoe said. "It was a tough, hard-fought game. We had our moments and we didn't have our moments."

In other title games played on Saturday in Laramie, Cheyenne East edged Casper Natrona 14-13 in the Class 4-A title game.

Meeteetse outlast Midwest 65-30 in the Class 1-A 6-man title game.

3-A title game

Both defenses stymied the opposing offenses for much of the game, especially the Bearcats defense at the start.

Douglas limited Powell to just 53 yards in the first half. Douglas also forced the first turnover.

"This was a hard-fought defensive game on both sides," Powell coach Jim Stringer said. "(Douglas) had an aggressive three-man front we haven't seen the likes of all season."

"Our offense had to stay disciplined and make plays. We had to pick and choose."

Late in the first quarter, Douglas linebacker Taylor Davidson forced a fumble from Powell running back Cory Heny. Linebacker Logan Barker returned it 46 yards to set up an Austyn Matthews pass to Barker for a 28-yard score and an early 7-0 lead.

Barker, also a running back, accounted for 121 yards rushing on 22 carries. His longest scamper -- and for the game -- was 47 yards just before halftime to the Panthers' 10-yard line.

The drive stalled with an incompletion, a rush for no gain and a sack by Powell's Zach Thompson, who had 3 sacks in the game. There was not enough time to try a field goal before halftime.

The Panthers got on the scoreboard when Cragoe fired a bullet down the middle of the field to Kalei Smith for a 49-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, tying the score 7-7.

"The safety was going over the top of me for the whole game, so we set it up by going to the fade," Smith said.

"Finally I ran a skinny post right down the middle, and Hayden delivered a perfect ball right to me."

The Panthers took the lead on a drive set up by Baxter's interception of Matthews on the Bearcats' next possession. The pick placed momentum firmly on the Panthers' side, as they scored when Brendon Phister made a diving catch in the end zone after the ball bounced off two Douglas defenders.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Phister said. "I saw the ball go up in the air and knew I had to dive for it."

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