(Photo courtesy Marsha Barritt) The Upton-Sundance Patriots try to block a Pine Bluffs field goal attempt.
The Patriots kept it close but, ultimately, were unable to close the gap against the Hornets on Friday in the semi-final round of the state playoffs in Pine Bluffs.
Both teams went scoreless in the first quarter, with Pine Bluffs missing a field goal late.
Midway through the second, the Hornets broke the stalemate and put up their first touchdown off a 13-yard run, putting them up by seven at the half.
Pine Bluffs scored again late in the third, this time punching it in from three yards out to increase their lead to 14 points.
Payton Watt hauled in a 20-yard pass from Clayton Louderback early in the fourth quarter for the Patriots first score, which brought them within a score to tie the game.
That would be as close as they got though, as Pine Bluffs intercepted a Patriot pass as the game wound down and were able to run out the clock, handing the Patriots a 7-14 loss.
Dawson Butts led the Pats’ rushing game with 52 yards on 14 carries; Jaydon Caylor had five for 10 yards; Jess Claycomb had one carry for six yards and Louderback had a single yard on seven carries against a tough Pine Bluffs defense.
Louderback finished with four completions on 12 attempts for 52 yards.
Dillon Barritt had a pair of receptions for 21 yards; Payton Watt had one for 20 yards and a touchdown; Kye Taylor had one for 11 yards.
Barritt had a punt return and a kick return for 35 total yards and Braylan Materi had 30 total yards two returns.
Landon Martin was one for one on extra point kicks.
On the other side of the ball, Alan Baker notched six solo and six assisted tackles including one for a loss. Tanner Hofland was credited with three solo and 11 assisted tackles including one for a loss.
Louderback had three solo and five assisted tackles including a pair of tackles for loss. Caylor had two solo and 10 assisted tackles; Watt had three solo and seven assisted; Barritt finished with four solo, one assisted and a pass breakup; Isaac Bishop had 11 assisted tackles; Jerett Schloredt had seven assisted tackles; Materi had four assisted tackles and a pass breakup; Jace Bruce had one solo and four assisted tackles; Butts had five assisted tackles; and Craig Chandler had a pair of assisted tackles.
On the other side of the championship bracket, Big Horn edged past Cokeville 12-7 and will face off against Pine Bluffs in Laramie on Saturday for the championship game.