Natrona Takes Care Of Gillette For 2nd Undefeated State Championship Season In 3 Years [VIDEO]
Video highlights of the 4A State Championship Game, between Gillette vs. Natrona.
Scroll down to see highlights!
Thanks in part to 5 interceptions, the Mustangs took care of their business, before allowing the Camels to start their late, and complete another undefeated state championship season.
This should give you some idea as to how cold it was outside...it was minus 4 when the game was finished.
Gillette vs. Natrona in the 4A State Championship Game...first quarter...Natrona wearing the orange...and had a hard time getting started...Josh Harshman was making a run for it, but he lost something...Carlos Quinones forced the fumble and got the recovery. That would snuff out that drive, and Gillette would take whatever chances they could get.
...but the Mustang defense was just itching to get at it...the blitz is on and Dalton Holst is about to become lunch meat...Parker Franzen got to him first...and Joe Jacobs would help finish the job. The Camels had 6 players suspended in the days before this game...and sometimes, they needed them.
Maybe not so much on defense though...they did pretty good in the early goings...they were able to get some pressure on Harshman...and this pass was wayy over thrown. Even the intended receiver did not know where it was...but Josh Hughes did. 2 possessions, and 2 turnovers thus far. The Camels were giving themselves a number of chances, the trick was trying to make the most of them.
...but when you are going up against NC's defense...that's easier said than done. Holst will overthrow his target, and Logan Wilson gets the interception. He would give his team possession at the Gillette 35, which is a good spot to start a drive. No score after the first 12 minutes.
Second quarter...first play...Weston Richner is on for a 24-yard field goal try...this year unlike last, we actually had goal posts that were of high school width. The Mustangs are on the board, and lead 3-to-nothing.
After a 3 and out...Natrona was back at it again...Harshman would calm down and this time he's on target...Austin Luers with the catch for a 31-yard pickup down to the 15...and you could get a sense that last year's state runner-ups were building momentum.
A few plays later...they would stay after it...Stevann Brown had a hard road in front of him...but he would fight his way though...and dive into the end zone on a 9 yard run...PAT good, and the Mustangs would hold a 10-zip lead, going into the locker room.
3rd quarter...here is where they turned it up a notch...Harshman got the time he needed...meanwhile, Wilson was triple covered, and the 2 were on the same page the entire time...41 yards...that is how you break a defense. NC was clicking on all cylinders and now have a 17-nothing advantage.
On the ensuing kickoff...the Camels needed some kind of spark and they would get it...Madden Pikula would get the ball at his own 1...and the sophomore is going to find some room to run...I know he can't look behind him...but if he would've gone to his right instead of his left...he might have been able to go all the way...but a 59-yard return to the enemy 31 yard line was good.
Now if only if they could do something...Pikula is now taking the snaps and he's going to get run down, run over and smothered by Jacobs. Talk about a momentum killer. Natrona's defense had 5 sacks in the game.
Different drive...Gillette would try to stay after it...Pikula is going to get hit, just as he releases the ball...and that was just enough to alter the course of this pass...Harshman with a pick...one of 5 on the game between the 2 Camel quarterbacks...and the offense in general just did not have a good game.
Now the defense on the other hand...under the circumstances, they did pretty good, and had a few moments here and there. Dillon Matuska had to take the long way around to get to Harshman, but the reward was worth the extra effort in the end. Matuska himself, had 14 tackles on the game.
More defense...and another turnover...Pikula's pass was a little bit off, although Harshman thought it was right on target. Natrona was back in business, and would start a drive at the opposing 43 yard line.
Next play...being the coach's son has advantages...Harshman will call his own number...QB draw...he would almost take it the distance...down to the 1, before he was shoved out of bounds...playing in sub-zero temperatures is not all that bad, when you are making plays and winning. He was just heating up.
2 plays later...Brown is going to finish the job. He can do that for you. The Mustangs were up 23-to-zip, going into the final 12 minutes.
4th quarter...ok we botched up some on this play...we lost the ball...then we found it...it was a pass from Luers to Chase Anderson for 57 yards on the halfback option...it was inevitable at this point...NC has gone ahead 30-to-zero.
Credit to the Camels...they did not quit, even though the deficit was insurmountable...Holst is going for broke on this play, and finally something worked...Talon Nelson reels the ball in for a 38-yard gain down to the 17...this was the first time all game, that they have worked their way into the red zone, and there was still a little bit of pride to play for.
Less than 1 minute to go and 5 plays later..Holst again...this time, swings a pass to a wide open Jordan Fischer and the defense was just a little bit late...he scores on a 15 yard play...that would get rid of the shutout, although it did not change the final outcome...but it was better than nothing.
Check this...Coach Steve Harshman trying to do some video work...normally, I would tell him to stick to his job and let me do mine, but he is a proud parent, so I'll cut him a break.
For the second time in 3 years, Natrona runs the table and would take home the 4A State Title.
Final score...30-to-7...and that would put the finishing touches on a 12-and-oh season.