Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

The Perfect Season


November 16, 2017

Rene Merryfield

Pine Bluffs Hornets gather after the "Victory" parade through Pine Bluffs Saturday, November 11th after returning home from defeating Big Horn Rams.

The Hornets football team concluded this season with back to back state championships to their name. Additionally they completed this season undefeated. The Mighty Hornets won 11 games including the championship game.

This team is a great one. You don't achieve titles such as state champs and undefeated by being an individual. They work together, from the coaches to the lineman on the field. They are a team and constantly show you why they deserve these titles. The Hornets are a very selfless team. The first year they won the state title they announced numerous times that the state title was for residents and students of PINE BLUFFS.

This year was for the team. To prove to themselves, the city and to all who watched that last year was not a fluke. They were determined to bring home another championship plaque. But they realize that success does not come without hard work. They recognize and acknowledge all the hours and hard work that the coaches and the other players put in as well.

The Hornets first game was against the Mitchell Tigers and it was a close one. With the tigers scoring a total of 14 points in the first quarter the Hornet supporters were definitely on the edge of their seats. But in true Hornets fashion they didn't quit. They continued to fight hard and scored their first 7 points in the 2nd quarter. The defense held firm and did not allow the Tigers to score another point the rest of the game. The offense continued to push through and fight to another 7 points in the 4th quarter sending the Hornets and Tigers into overtime. With a continued fighting drive the Hornets scored another 6 points leaving with the first win of the season with a score 20 to 14. The star players during this game were: #10 Haize Fornstrom, #22 Isaiah Montanes, and #25 Ishmael DePaulitte.

The second game of the season was against longtime rivals the Burns Broncs. While no one scored in the first quarter everyone was a bit nervous. The hornets brought it together in the second quarter with a total of 17 points. The next two quarters the hornets managed to keep the Broncs from scoring but also gained another 14 points for themselves bringing the score to a total of 31 to 0. Again each game has its stars and for this one those were #10 H.Fornstrom, #22 Montanes and #20 Andrew Fornstrom.

The third game of the year with the Big Horn Rams was a definite nail bitter. The Rams were well prepped for the Hornets and stayed with them until the very end. However, the determination of the hungry Hornets prevailed and they came away with their third win of the season with a final score 21 to 20 continuing their undefeated run. During this game Coach Will Gray made mention that "this group of kids know how to win and fight to the finish. Hopefully our young guys are taking notes on how to compete and be successful." Little did Coach Gray know that not only were they taking notes but they were lighting a fire within that would carry them all the way to the championship game.

When out on the field the hornets are 100% focused on their task at hand. Up against the Tongue River Eagles the hornets took no time in scoring their first points. In the first quarter the Hornets managed to score a total of 14 points. They kept up the pace in the second and third quarters with a total of 37 point. However in the 4th quarter the eagles scored 6 points. But that wasn't enough and the Hornets came away with their fourth with a final score of 51 to 6. "They are definitely capable of doing great things. Now the trick is to have that effort on every play of every game from here on out." said Coach Gray.

When Pine Bluffs arrived at the home of the Lusk Tigers they were ready to fight. Within the first 3 minutes of the game #10 H. Fornstrom scored the first touchdown along with #20 A. Fornstrom kicking the extra point. Taking charge and leaving no room for mistakes the Hornets charged through the rest of the game. With a final score of 35 to 8 the Hornets went home with victory number 5 under their belts.

The Hornets had no mercy for the Wright Panthers during the Panthers homecoming game. Again within the first 3 minutes The Hornets had a total of 13 points. By the end of the first quarter they had a total of 20 points while the panthers had no points. "The kids started fast and played physical for the entire game which was great to see. It is exciting any time you run back the opening kickoff which helped us gain momentum and execute our game plan." said Coach Gray.

With the confidence of a 6 – 0 record, Homecoming for Pine Bluffs was one to remember. Having the Southeast Cyclones at home for the first time since 1995 was intimidating but that would not curve the resolve of this team or keep them from celebrating and taking home the victory. With a total of 14 points in the first quarter and another 7 in the 2nd the Hornets proved they weren't taking it easy. It wasn't until the 4th quarter that the Cyclones managed to sneak in 6 points but the Hornets defense stopped that right away and they finished the game with a 41 to 6 win.

Knowing this wasn't going to be the last time they would see the Upton-Sundance Patriots, the Hornets made sure they knew they knew what they would be in for. Everyone on both teams fought long and hard. It wasn't until the second quarter that #10 H. Fornstrom was able to run 71 yards for a TD. By halftime the score was 14 to 7. This next half was going to be a hard fought battle for both teams. Each team wanted nothing more than to beat the other. The Hornets managed to pull ahead with a score of 21 to 7. Pine Bluffs scored another 7 points in the 3rd quarter. In the 4th quarter the Patriots tried to even the score but the Hornets defense held fast and did not allow them to score. At the end it was 28 to 14 with the Hornets continuing their undefeated streak and sending them straight to the playoffs with an 8 – 0 record!

Since 1949 the city of Pine Bluffs has not hosted a playoff game for the Hornets. That all stopped this year as the Hornets not only made it to the playoffs but secured the home field advantage.

For the first time in almost 70 years the Hornets would be playing the playoff game right here in Pine Bluffs. The Hornets did not disappoint their fans. They played their hearts out and left everything on the field! Leaving no room for mistakes they managed to score 3 touchdowns in the first 8 minutes of the game leaving the score at 21 to 0. "Knowing that Saratoga was going to come out determined and play and hit hard, we realized that were were going to have to play stronger and hit harder." mentioned H. Forntrom.

That's just what they did leaving the final score at 58 to 0. The Hornets were then on their way to play Upton-Sundance again. If you are keeping track....record now 9 – 0.

Determined to keep the undefeated title, the Hornets faced the Patriots for the last time this season. In one of the most controversial games of the season the Hornets again saw victory as the horn sounded. It was one of the hardest fought battles the team had been in this season. Through the poor officiating and hard hitting of the Patriots, the Hornets scored 14 points and allowed the Patriots only 7 points, coming away with win number 10. The Hornets kept moving strong and never once looked back. They kept their focus on the game and didn't let outside forces distract them from their goal, the state championship. Finishing the game with a 14 to 7 win, Pine Bluffs moved on to the championship game. RECORD: 10 - 0

"The Big Horn Rams are one of the most athletic teams we have ever played. They have great athletes all over the field, and they are very good upfront." stated Gray. "They are very balanced on offense, and have several great athletes they can get the ball to." added Gray. "Their quarterback is a sophomore, but he doesn't play like a young kid. He makes very good decisions and rarely turns the ball over." said Gray, adding "Our kids needed to compete at the highest level possible if they were going to complete the perfect season."

The Big Horns definitely gave the Hornets a run for their money. It was a long and hard battle but was fought very well. The end of the first quarter saw the Hornets ahead 6 to 0, but that would not last long. In the second quarter the Rams made a successful 25 yard field goal making the score now 6 to 3. During the last half of the second quarter #10 H. Fornstrom made a 60 yard run for a TD making the score 13 to 3.

Not much happened in the 3rd quarter but the final quarter is when things got intense. The Rams made two TDs in 21 seconds. Forstrom made the winning TD with an incredible hurdle and flip over the entire front line into the end zone for the winning score. Leaving the score at 20 to 16.

The Pine Bluffs Hornets have shown time and time again what true sportsmanship is. It was truly a team effort from the coaches to the bus drivers to the fans and to the young men who fought so passionately on the football field.

To the men, women, coaches and supporters of the Pine Bluffs Hornets Football program we thank you for everything that you have done both on and off the field.

And finally to the Hornets Football Team, The Wyoming State Champions we say congratulations and thank you for giving us an incredible season to remember.

For our seniors we hope that the success and experience of your time as member of the Pine Bluffs Hornet football program will keep you focused on your future and fill you with happy and fond memories of your time here. We thank each and every one of you and hope that the future holds all that you deserve.

For you...the returning players we look forward to another season of Hornets Football and to repeating the incredible feat of achieving another state championship and the remarkable title of UNDEFEATED..




"Our players are great competitors and play with a great deal of passion for the game of football."

- Coach Gray


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