Tiger Football: 10 years of turf; 10 best games

Courtesy photo This photo from Sept. 7, 2012 marked a new era at Gibson Field at Fullmer Stadium. Not only was it the first game on the new turf, it was also the first win on the turn as the Tigers defeated Hill City, South Dakota, 55-0.

LUSK – Niobrara County High School has played ten seasons on the field turf on Gibson Field at Fullmer Stadium. The Tigers began 16-0 and are 33-11 overall since 2012. In addition to the varsity squad- JV, middle school and peewees all host games and jamborees. The ten games highlighted are listed in chronological order.

Vs Hill City, South Dakota (9/7/2012):

The first one will always be special as NCHS thrashed the Rangers 55-0. Bryce Sturman scored the first touchdown, and Hunter Dockery scored twice early. Matthew VandeBossche and Colter Larson added TDs, and by halftime the Tigers were cruising 35-0. VandeBossche added an 80-yard kickoff return, as the Tigers christened the new field appropriately.

Vs Southeast (9/14/2012):

NCHS was ranked second and the Cyclones third, in a classic matchup of the rivals. Sturman and Derick VandeBossche hooked up for a touchdown, and Zane Hladky’s point after gave Lusk an early lead. The visitors answered with a score in the third but the two-point conversion was denied. Southeast returned a punt to the endzone, but penalty flags wiped it out, yet Lusk couldn’t run out the clock. The Cyclones’ final effort was halted by a Dockery interception, as Lusk held on to win, 7-6.

Vs Natrona JV (10/4/2012):

The Natrona group of underclassmen included Logan Wilson, Josh Harshman, Taven Bryan and several others that went on to college and NFL success. The Mustangs scored first, but NCHS responded with Grady Penfield’s touchdown run. The teams traded scores before the Tiger defense began to win the trenches. Sturman tossed a pair of touchdown passes, and Lusk led 29-14 at halftime. Two more scores moved NCHS to 6-0 with the 43-21 win.

Vs Lingle-Fort Laramie (11/8/2013):

Facing the Doggers with a trip to Laramie on the line in the semi-finals, NCHS extended its school-record home winning streak with an amazing comeback. LFL scored first and kept the Tigers’ on their heels with a 15-14 halftime lead. As the game moved into the final five minutes, the Doggers extended it to 21-14. Derick VandeBossche answered for Lusk and Dockery’s conversion run pushed NCHS ahead 22-21. Dockery then sealed the Doggers fate with a 52 yard pick six in the Tigers 30-21 win.

Vs Upton-Sundance (11/7/2014):

During the regular season matchup in Sundance, the third year co-op Patriots loss to the Tigers was a slim 16-6 margin. In the semifinal rematch, Lusk fans were silenced early as the Pats put up a 12-0 first period lead, but NCHS fought back as VandeBossche gained the endzone before the half expired in a 12-8 game. Logan Lamar gave the Tigers the lead for good just six plays into the second half, and the defense was in fine form. VandeBossche and Fitzwater each scored twice in the second half, as the Tigers won 44-12. The win clinched a trip to Laramie for a rematch with Cokeville in the 1A State Championship.

Vs Tongue River (9/25/2015):

With the Tigers in rebuilding mode, they pulled off a major upset over the Eagles early in the season. Lamar, Brawk Cole and Jacob Haney ran Lusk into a 22-0 lead before Tongue River scored late in the half. Lamar pushed it to 28-7, yet the Eagles came back with a pair of TD passes. The defense held in the 28-21 win but Tongue River went on a six game winning streak and ran to the title game.

Vs Saratoga (9/9/2016):

Little did anyone involved with this game think it would be the only win of the season for the Tigers. Ryan Gilkey took a punt 81 yards to pay dirt, and Riley Ross scored three times in the game. NCHS was all over the Panthers 38-6 at halftime and had little trouble in the 58-12 win. Damien Molzahn scored twice in the fourth quarter and put up 30 defensive points.

Vs Pine Bluffs (10/25/2019):

It was a milestone game for the Tigers as they celebrated Senior Night with a solid trouncing of the Hornets 48-21. The game marked the 25th win on the turf and was the final 11-man game. Drake Lamp ran for 209 yards, while James Stone had 180. Molzahn added 125 more. Lamp and Molzahn each had two scores in the first half as NCHS finished the season with a win.

Vs Rocky Mountain (10/9/2020):

The Grizzlies got off a long bus ride and jumped to a 14-0 lead before Jasper Caldera got Lusk within 14-6 after one period. Featuring the No. 2 Tigers and No. 3 Rocky Mountain, the contest evolved into an exciting shootout. The Grizz opened a 34-12 halftime lead, but NCHS responded. The defense made key stops, and Lamp had all 16 points in the third, slicing the lead to 34-28. In the final 12 minutes each time one would score, the other would respond. Fifty combined points were scored off of seven touchdowns, yet the Tigers ran out of time in the 62-50 loss. This game legitimized 9-man football, and despite the loss, NCHS gained revenge at Cowley in the semifinals.

Vs Southeast (10/15/2021):

The most recent chapter in this storied rivalry saw the Cyclones take a fast 8-0 lead. NCHS answered as Aiden Applegarth scored twice, and Dylan Molzahn punched one in for a 20-8 halftime advantage. Molzahn fired up the home team with a 70-yard pick six, but the visitors weren’t ready to fold. Southeast scored twice to close within 26-20 with one stanza left.

Dayne Lamp ran for a pair of TDs to extend the lead before the Cyclones final efforts came up short. The 38-32 Senior Night win stopped a three-game losing skid to Southeast, securing a home playoff game for Lusk.

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