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Braves pounce on Panthers en route to fourth title in five seasons

In a game billed as David versus Goliath, the latter juggernaught rolled to a 35-0 halftime lead and coasted to a win as the Star Valley Braves defeated the Powell Panthers 49-13 to claim the program’s fourth Wyoming 3A state title in the last five seasons.

The defending champs peppered the underdogs with big scoring plays from Chase Merrell, Dean Shaw, Brant Nelson and Hazen Erickson as the game was never in doubt.

Powell’s Ethan Asher drew a standing ovation from the crowd as he made his way out to midfield to participate in the coin toss with his fellow PHS captains. Asher, still battling with the recovery from a serious auto accident in August has served as source of inspiration for the team who went on the road to pull a pair of upsets in Lander and Cody to punch their ticket to face the Braves.

But the talent disparity was on display as the Braves scored at will in the first half and shut down the grinding run game of the Panthers who refused to go away by notching a pair of second-half touchdowns.

When asked if he was relieved to finish an undefeated season, the first for Star Valley in over 50 years, head coach McKay Young answered in the affirmative.

“Yes I am,” he said. When you have a team with this many good players and you don’t win the championship, you know it’s not their fault; it’s on us as coaches. We tried to give them everything we had as a staff and they are an amazing group of unselfish guys who are extremely coachable and we are just privileged to be able to work with such good kids.”

After going through a title drought from 1996-2015, the Braves have now won 43 of their last 47 games and finish the 2019 campaign riding a 21-game winning streak.

It was a historic finish for the 2019 group as the team finished with 444 points scored, edging the program record for points in a season previously held by the 1967 squad. This year’s team also went 12-0, the first SVHS team to ever win 12 games in a season.

Look for more detailed information in the November 20, 2019 edition of the Star Valley Independent which will include the traditional commemorative championship poster.

• 2A Title Tilt

The Mountain View Buffaloes also completed an undefeated season as they scored 21 points in the second quarter en route to a 24-14 victory over previously unbeaten Buffalo. It was a bit of a redemption game as the Buffs picked up the program’s second title in the last three seasons and knocked off the Bison who defeated Mountain View handily in the 2018 championship.

Kimball Madsen rushed for more than 230 yards and three touchdowns to pace the effort for the Buffaloes.

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