Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Patriots slam Rams, roll into postseason


October 29, 2020

It was a cold and snowy night on Friday as the Big Horn Rams pulled into town for the Wyoming High School 2A game of the week against the Upton-Sundance Patriots. It was also Homecoming week for Sundance High School and the Patriots were looking to end their regular season play on a win.

Taking to the field on offense, the Patriots struggled for yardage on their first drive and were forced to punt the ball away. As the Big Horn Rams’ offense came to the field, they did not fare much better.

Both teams exchanged punts throughout the first quarter as the weather wasn’t the only thing that was cold for the night and the quarter ended 0-0.

The second quarter started to see both sides warming up and working their way down the field. It was the Rams who were the first to make big gains as Christian Walker escaped a Patriot tackle, making it all the way to the 49-yard line.

A screen pass to Carson Bates had the Rams threatening, but a block in the back brought it most of the way back, while still giving them a first down. The Patriots defense stiffened after that and forced a turnover on downs and that would end up being the closest the Rams would get to the end zone for the night.

While the Patriot offense punted the ball away on their next possession, the defense came up big on their next play. With the ball on the 36-yard line, Big Horn quarterback Sterling Madry was hit as he was throwing the ball and Patriot Brayden Bruce intercepted the pass for a pick 6.

A successful extra point put the Patriots out front, 7-0 with 3:15 to go in the half. As the final minutes of the quarter began to tick away, the Rams were hoping to find their way into the end zone as well but penalties and another turnover on downs gave the Patriot offense time for one more drive.

In a race against the clock, the Patriots made some big gains down the field, the biggest from Reece Barritt as quarterback Brad Kruger found Barritt down the sideline for a wide-open 32-yard reception touchdown, bringing the quarter to a close and sending both teams into the locker room with the Patriots in the lead, 14-0.

The Patriots came out hot in the second half, working their way down the field and sending Jess Claycomb into the end zone on their first drive of the half. Trailing 21-0, the Big Horn offense was struggling.

Just as they thought, or hoped, the tides were turning, Lane Gill came up with another interception for the Patriots. With a good stiff-arm on the Rams, he was able to bring it back 61 yards into the end zone, increasing the Patriot lead 28-0.

“The feeling of running that interception back was so sweet,” defensive lineman Lane Gill stated, “especially against Big Horn.”

With the final quarter of play and the cold setting in, both teams started to slow down and exchange punts once again. It was the Patriot defense, however, that would come up big one more time before the game was over. With 3:03 left on the clock, Wyatt Gillespie intercepted another Big Horn pass and returned it 42 yards for the final touchdown of the game, giving the Patriots the 35-0 victory.

“Defensive linemen don’t really get all of the attention but that is ok because there is nothing better than seeing a linebacker sack a running back. Also I was waiting for that screenplay so I could score, it was a great way to end my final homecoming game,” stated Gillespie.

A big night for the Patriot defense brought the regular season to a close and sealed a home field playoff game for the Patriots. On Friday, the Patriots will host the Lovell Bulldogs, kickoff is scheduled for 6pm in Upton.

Offensive Summary


Jess Claycomb – 15 for 144 yards and 1 TD

Levi Rudloff – 9 for 56 yards

Brad Kruger – 12 for 33 yards

Brayden Bruce – 4 for 23 yards


Brad Kruger – 10/20 for 136 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT


Reece Barritt – 3 for 55 yards and 1 TD

Lane Gill – 2 for 42 yards

Jess Claycomb – 5 for 39

Defensive Summary

Individual Stats (Top 5)

Lane Gill – 18 points - 3 Assisted Tackles, 1 Unassisted Tackle, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Sack, 1 Pass Break Up and 1 Interception (Returned for TD)

Ethan Mills – 17 points - 1 AT, 6 UT, 2 PBU

Jess Claycomb – 16 points - 4 AT, 6 UT

Wyatt Gillespie – 16 points - 5 AT, 3 UT and 1 INT (Returned for TD)

Brayden Bruce – 13 points - 4 AT, 2 UT and 1 INT (Returned for TD)


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