Four footballers earn Player of the Year honors
GOSHEN COUNTY – A superb football season for all high school teams across Goshen County resulted in four athletes receiving conference Player of the Year Awards from the Wyoming Coaches Association.
Lingle-Fort Laramie High School junior Louden Bremer snagged 1A 9-man East Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year awards.
Southeast High School senior Teigan Thompson earned the 1A 9-man East Conference Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
In the 2A East Conference, Torrington High School senior Ty Bennick captured the Lineman of the Year Award while fellow senior Bryce Hager garnered the Offensive Player of the Year Award.
The quarterfinal game between LFL and Rocky Mountain on October 27 reached a 14-14 deadlock with 4:19 remaining in regulation following a touchdown by Rocky Mountain.
Rocky Mountain delivered its ensuing kick to LFL’s 1-yard line where Bremer caught the ball.
“They kicked one back deep to my side,” recalled Bremer. “I told myself, ‘I got some room here. I might as well try to get the ball as far away from the end zone and get the best field position possible. All of our guys pushed (the opponent) to the other side. I read the field, found a hole and then dropped a couple of gears and scored a 99-yard touchdown.”
Bremer’s 99-yard kick return helped LFL defeat Rocky Mountain and more than proved the junior’s talent on special teams. Bremer also excelled on offense, earning the Wyoming Coaches’ Association’s Player of the Year Award for offense as well as special teams.
“I just want to give the glory to God,” Bremer said of his awards. “I’ve been blessed with opportunities to play at the level that I have played at. It feels great because it was a lot of hard work that is paying off.”
On offense, Bremer played halfback and receiver. He credited the LFL coaching staff for developing several new offensive sets that “worked really well for the whole team.”
During the October 13 game against Pine Bluffs, Bremer scored “a couple” touchdowns and succeeded on three 2-point conversion attempts, playing a significant role in LFL closing the deficit in the fourth quarter and resulting in a tie at the end of regulation.
“It was good, hard-nosed running,” Bremer remarked. “No matter what, you have to get into the end zone and make those count.”
Bremer looked forward to returning to the Dogger startling lineup as a senior.
“It was a really great season – teammates were excellent. It was a great opportunity to bring back to life Dogger football and what it means to wear the red, white and blue jersey with LFL on your chest.”
Thompson first stepped onto the gridiron as a sophomore, lacking any previous experience. Three seasons later, Thompson started for the Southeast Cyclones, securing All-State honors and the Defensive Player of the Year Award for the 1A 9-man East Conference.
“It feels pretty good,” Thompson said of his awards. “I wasn’t quite expecting it. I know I did well, but I thought it would go to someone better.”
Thompson attributed his success to a strong work ethic.
“As long as you give 110% the whole time, you’re good,” he said. “I put in the work, stayed focus at practice.”
Thompson excelled at both ends of the field, playing nose guard and defensive end.
“I think in just about every game, I played every single play – special teams, offense and defense,” Thompson said. “It’s a challenge, but at a small school, it’s just what has to be done.”
When asked to choose, Thompson preferred defense, particularly when making sacks, of which Thompson posted 11 over the course of the season.
“In defense, you have one goal – that’s to hit the guy with the ball.”
Season highlights included scoring defensive touchdowns against both Wright on September 8 and Guernsey on September 29. Thompson also took down Wright’s punter during the September 8 game.
Thompson is looking into continuing his football career at the college level. He thanked his coaches for nominating him and encouraging Thompson to reach his full potential.
“They knew what I could do, and they pushed me to be that person.”
When Bennick began his football career in middle school, he never imagined standing on War Memorial Stadium at the University of Wyoming, poised to win the 2A State Championship this November.
“It felt unreal,” Bennick said. “I never would have thought that us middle schoolers would be able to win a state championship our senior year. There were a lot of people in our stands – I’ve never heard a high school game that loud before. It was really cool.”
Bennick earned All-State accolades for a second time in 2023, although this was his first receipt of the 2A East Lineman of the Year Award.
“I worked for it and wanted it, and I’m glad I got (Player of the Year),” Bennick said.
Like most small-town football athletes, Bennick finds himself out on the field for most of the game on both the D- and O-line. Bennick particularly shines on defense.
“I like defense better,” he said. “I can make more plays and I get to hit people and go after the ball.”
As a senior, Bennick stepped into a new leadership role.
“(Hager) and I were both team captains all year long,” he noted. “We got to know our guys, when to push them. If they weren’t doing their thing, we would get on them, but be cool about it.”
A memorable game for Bennick was the Blazer’s quarterfinal upset against Mountain View on November 3.
“There were some hard-fought battles during the playoffs. Mountain View was a tough game and I’m happy with how we played. Everybody had grit throughout the game. We were like the underdogs all year. Everyone doubted us, didn’t think we’d go far. Then we actually won.”
Hager made a statement in the 2A East Conference as the Blazers’ quarterback. The senior did not realize Player of the Year was an award a 2A player could earn.
“I got pretty pumped up – that was sweet to earn the award,” Hager said.
Winning the 2A state championship stood above the rest of Torrington’s explosive season as a highlight.
“You can’t put it into words,” Hager said. “Just being there with all your friends and winning something like that. It was an awesome experience.”
Hager put in the extra mile to make sure the Blazers’ ran a coordinated, well-oiled offense.
“I worked on connecting with my receivers, getting into that rhythm with them and building trust,” he said. “It was a big goal for me this summer, to get going with (our passing offense). It really helps if your receiver knows where the ball is going to be and you know where you need to throw.”
Hager listed Torrington’s 21-7 trouncing of Tongue River on Sept. 29 as a season standout.
“It got pretty heated,” against Tongue River, Hager said. “It was a fun game that all of us got after.”
Hager appreciated taking on the role as team captain with Bennick in 2023.
“I lead by setting the tone – how I hold myself through practice and during games,” Hager added.
The senior quarterback credited his work ethic for contributing to a successful offense.
“You just work hard, try to get better every day and practice,” he said. “Then hard work becomes the normal thing. You don’t think about it, you just do it.”
Hager and Bennick both thanked their coaching staff and teammates for a great season.