Oct 31, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe winner f Friday's game earns a spot in the Class 3-A semifinals.
An extra bonus for finishing second in the Class 3-A East football conference for the Lander Tigers is a home playoff game. Lander hosts Cody in the opening round at 7 p.m. Friday at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers clinched the position in the playoff bracket with a 22-21 victory over the Riverton Wolverines in the final game of the regular season.
Lander ended the year at 4-4 overall, 4-1 in conference play.
"It's a nice reward for our players who have worked so hard over these last few weeks and have simply refused to give up," Lander coach Doug Hughes said.
Lander won four out of its final six games to earn the high seed. The Tigers started the year with an 0-3 record.
"We have taken the attitude to play as hard as we can each play of every game, accept the outcome, and then move forward," Hughes said.
One of the early setbacks was a 28-0 defeat to Cody in the season opener in Park County.
"After the Cody game, we realized that we needed to get better in all phases of the game," Hughes said. "We kept our heads up and went back to work. I feel that we are a much-improved team at this point of the season."
Cody finished No. 3 in the West conference behind Powell and Star Valley.
"We would like to get off to a fast start, but I think our players have proven that they can come back from a deficit," Hughes said. "They will give everything they have, no matter what happens early in the game."
The winner of the Cody-Lander game plays the winner of Torrington (No. 4 East) vs. Powell (No. 1 West seed) in one of the semifinal game.
The title game is Friday, Nov. 15, at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
"We have to stay engaged at the line of scrimmage and not get pushed backward," Hughes said. "We also have to break open some plays on offense."
Jaxon Hedges has put the ball in the end zone six times for Lander. Teammate Jack Mazurie has scored five times.
Hedges and Mazurie both had a touchdown in the win over Riverton.
"We are playing as well as we have all year long in all phases of the game," Hughes said. "Our front lines are much improved from the beginning of the year."
The center for Lander is Talen Connell. The guards are Arion Mefferd and Kyle LaTorre.
The tackles are Wade DeWitt and Landon Cleveland.
The tight end is Reb Lindwurm.
On defense, the Tigers go with Mefferd at nose guard. DeWitt and Chris Williams are the tackles. The ends are Jess Oldham and Noah Rohrbacher.
The Broncs have the fifth best offense in Class 3-A, putting up 311.3 yards per game.
"Cody is a very good football team," Hughes said.
"They have a very talented line on both sides of the ball. They challenge you to play a physical football game."
Carter Myers is the best runner on the team at 116 yards per game. He has a total of 932 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Tate Pehringer is next on the list for Cody with 355 yards.
Class 3-A standings with conference mark listed first then overall
Douglas 5-0, 8-0
Lander 4-1, 4-4
Riverton 3-2, 4-4
Torrington 2-3, 3-5
Buffalo 1-4, 1-7
Rawlins 0-5, 1-7
Powell 5-0, 8-0
Star Valley 4-1, 5-3
Cody 3-2, 5-3
Jackson 2-3, 4-4
Worland 1-4, 3-5
Green River 0-5, 1-7
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