LUSK – The 2020 list of all time Niobrara County High School football teams has been revealed, and now is the time to rank them.
While comparing decades and eras can create salty arguments, I’m going to put the profiled teams into a hypothetical bracket. With ten teams revisited this fall, the top two will receive first round byes. These are some of the best teams in school history and separating them is mostly speculated guessing.
Play in games
#7 1994 (8-1) vs #10 1930 (7-2-2): The 1994 Tigers were very good and would have little trouble with their 1930 counterpart. A rushing game that put up almost 200 yards per game and defense that posted four shutouts are too much for the early Tigers.
#8 1964 (7-2) vs #9 1985 (7-2): This one is a little tougher, but the 1985 version’s defense could have slowed Jim Shillenn enough for the offense to edge by. A young aggressive defense was beginning to show their potential, and the offense had found balance.
#1 2000 (10-0) vs #7 1994: As good as the ’94 edition was, the first team of the new century will go down as one of the best ever.
#4 1965 (7-2) vs #5 2014 (9-1): The 1965 team didn’t have a playoff system, but a freshman named Cockreham instead. I’ll give the slight edge to the 2014 squad, their ability to make big defensive plays (six D/ST scores) and dynamic offense is the difference.
#3 1995 (9-1) vs #6 2010 (9-1): A pair of similar and evenly matched teams. I’ll take the backfield of Hladky, DeGering, Smith and Thurston over Zowada, Mundlein, Wasson and Fitzwater.
#2 1944 (8-1) vs #9 1985: The 1944 Tigers were as tough as any in school history. In an era without playoffs Lusk won most of their games in a gritty, low-scoring manner. This would suit the older squad better in a tight matchup.
#1 2000 vs #5 2014: Two juggernaut seasons on both sides of the ball. As previously mentioned, the 2000 team was deep and balanced on both sides of the ball. They would win a close game with defense and special teams.
#6 2010 vs #2 1944: As far as seeding goes, this could be considered a major upset. But while the 1944 squad was very tough on defense, they couldn’t have handled one of Lusk’s most talented offenses. The 2010 defense was a ball-hawking unit that produced seven touchdowns and three safties.
#1 2000 vs #6 2010: 2000 featured one of Lusk’s most decorated players in Casey Fosher, while 2010 had DeGering and crew. As close and exciting this game would be, the 2000 Tigers posted eight shutouts and only allowed 13 points all season. It’s foolish to think they would have held 2010 scoreless, but the difference would be one of the best kickers in school history. Miles Herder kicked 46 PAT’s and a pair of field goals is the difference maker.
Next year’s retrospective list may be even better than this one with 1951, 1961, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2011 profiled.
Writer’s note: This article was written with the assistance of The Stat Rat, Wyoming-football.com and The Lusk Herald archives.