Top-ranked Thunder Basin made school history and held off fourth-ranked Cheyenne East, 27-21, in the semifinals Friday night in Gillette.

With the victory, the Bolts will make their first appearance in the Class 4A championship game next Saturday in Laramie. They make it in just their third year of existence.

Thunder Basin (11-0) jumped to a 27-6 halftime lead and withstood a second-half rally by the Thunderbirds.

Quarterback Mason Hamilton threw for 138 yards and three touchdowns, all to Tanner Richards, in the first half. Hayden Lunberg added a 10-yard TD run late in the second quarter that accounted for all the Bolts’ scoring.

Cheyenne East (7-4) scored on a double pass from Chance Aumiller to Jackson Hesford of 39 yards in the first half. T-Birds QB Graedyn Buell hooked up with Hesford from 12-yards out and Christian Anderton from 18-yards away in the second half.

East had one more chance, but an interception by the Bolts' Blaine Allen with 34.7 seconds left sealed the victory.

Thunder Basin suffered a blow with Hamilton leaving late in the first half. He rolled out and took off down the field on a run of 29-yards to the Cheyenne East 10-yard line. Hamilton was tackled from behind and got up holding his right, throwing shoulder or arm. He never returned to the game after that. Sophomore Ryan Baker finished the game. Hamilton went to the training room and then came out after halftime with no pads on and his right arm in a sling. His status for next week’s championship game is unknown.

One of the stars for Thunder Basin was Richards, who finished with 7 catches for 64 yards. He spoke with WyoPreps after the victory, as did linebacker Caleb Driskill (21 def. points) and Thunder Basin head coach Trent Pikula.

Thunder Basin will face Sheridan in the Class 4A State Championship game at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. The Bolts beat the Broncs in week 3 of this season, 37-30, in Gillette.

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