Cheyenne East at Casper Natrona County glance

Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Records: No. 3-ranked Cheyenne East (4-1); No. 1 Casper Natrona County (5-0).
Last week: East beat Cheyenne South 58-0; Natrona beat Casper Kelly Walsh 51-0.

Facts: Natrona coach Steve Harshman freely admits that his team hasn’t played the stiffest competition to this point. While that’s certainly true — the Mustangs’ previous foes have a 9-16 record — you can’t discount what Natrona has done, especially defensively. The Mustangs lead Class 4A in rushing defense (23.2 yards per game), passing defense (78.2 ypg), total defense (101.4) and scoring defense (8.2 points per game). They’re also second to East in turnover margin (plus-6).

Both Harshman and East coach Chad Goff talked about the line being the key to Natrona’s success. Those big fellas are occupying the offensive linemen and preventing them from getting to the second level. That’s allowing linebackers to mostly roam free and make plays.

Dan Reese

Middle linebacker Dan Reese has taken advantage of that freedom and has made 34 tackles (15 solo) and 5.5 tackles for loss. Reese ranks third in 4A in defensive points per game at 17.3. He’s the only Natrona player in the top 21.

University of Wyoming commitment Ryan Anaya ranks 32nd in defensive points per game and has made only 16 tackles this fall. That’s because he plays on the outside and teams are regularly running away from him, Harshman said. Because Reese plays in the middle, he’s able to run around freely.

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