Huskies are state champions

Stephanie Tolman

It was a matchup for the books in Laramie on Saturday as the Burlington Huskies took on Little Snake River in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
Little Snake River previously had beaten the Huskies 55-8. The Huskies were not having a repeat this year, outperforming the Rattlers 42-39 to earn the state championship.
It is Burlington’s third state football championship with the previous two coming in 1992 and 1994 in the nine-man division. Senior Hunter Aagard’s dad, Mike Aagard, was a senior on the 1994 championship team and Coach Trent Aagard played on the 1994 team as well.
“That was one awesome game. The atmosphere was great. Two teams battled so hard to earn it and it came down to a defensive stand on the goal line to get it done,” said Coach Trent Aagard. “I have the utmost respect for Little Snake. Jack, Sam and Kyle do a great job of coaching their kids. They have a great program and every year they are one of the best teams in the state. Hats off to them for what they’ve done and the hard things they’ve been through as a team and community.
“To be a champion you have to beat the best and on Saturday, we were able to do that.”
The Huskies came out swinging and put the first points on the board when Jordan Michaels connected with Weston Gotfredson in the end zone with less than two minutes off the clock. Little Snake answered back fairly quickly, but the Huskies scored twice more with touchdowns from Joe Bassett and Jordan Michaels and led 20-6 after one quarter.
The momentum swung to LSR in the second quarter as the Rattlers came back to tie the Huskies right before halftime.
“Our boys dug deep, came together as a team and decided that we would not go away but would come out and show them we weren’t done playing yet,” said Aagard. ‘I think our defense really picked it up in the second half. LSR had some big plays, but we made them earn them.
“We didn’t let their big plays rattle us but came back the next down and in the end our defense had some gigantic stops.”
The first major stop Aagard was referencing occurred when LSR had a chance to go up by two scores. The Huskies stopped them in the red zone and were able to turn around and take the lead.
The second was at the end of the game with a goalline stand where the Huskies held LSR from scoring from three yards out on four different plays.
“For a team like us who at times has struggled on defense this year, to come up with those two stops was nothing short of incredible,” said Aagard. “I’m so proud of the way they played and put it all on the line.”
Jordan Michaels led the Huskies’ offense with 113 rushing yards and 134 passing yards, 31 receiving yards and a touchdown. Joe Bassett had three touchdowns and Weston Gotfredson and Jordan Casey added one apiece.
“So many kids contributed to this thing. I would say our offensive player of the game had to be Jordan Michaels but Joe had some great moments, Jordan Casey, Weston and Mickey had some big catches, Jordan Broederlow had some timely runs, Rykael had a big pass and Hunter, Mickey, Weston, Will, Rykael, Kyler and Joe blocked their tails off today,” said Aagard.
Defensively, Joe Bassett was a force with 18 total tackles but all of the Huskies got in on the action with at least one tackle. “Joe would be our MVP, but Jordan Michaels did some great things,” said Aagard. “Hunter, Kyler, Weston, William, Rykael, Brody (Jordan Broderlow) and Brickton did a great job of rotating in and out, keeping us fresh. Kyler really stepped in and did a great job kicking. It was such a team effort and was awesome to be a part of it. Our scout team improved all year and made our starters better. Our older kids did whatever was asked of them in the moment, even if it was to stand on the side and cheer their teammates on. This group was unselfish and willing to put the team first. I think that is really what allowed them to win it in the end.”
The Huskies will be saying goodbye to four of their seniors. “They have been such a great group of guys. They are not a loud vocal group, but they have been outstanding leaders,” said Aagard. “Joseph Stanworth has one of the best attitudes that I have been around. He is a kid who has totally changed his physical outlook on life. He works super hard to get bigger, stronger and faster. He has a contagious smile and he is well loved by his teammates. I will always remember the giant smile he had on his face after he hauled in a long touchdown pass against Greybull.”
Hunter Aagard “is a player who really stepped up the last couple of years. He’s a strong, powerful football player but he is an even nicer kid. He’s the guy who was willing to help out wherever needed, even if it’s cleaning up at the end of practice. He was reliable on and off the field. One of my favorite memories of him was watching him catch two touchdowns against Dubois to help seal the victory.
Mickey Maroni “is a great kid to be around. He is funny and a super good teammate. It was fun to watch him rebound from his injury last year. That was a blow last year, but I was so excited that he had a chance to contribute this year. He is one of the funnest kids to have in practice or on the bus. Just a great human being. I’m never going to forget him catching the pass that sealed the championship game.”
Jordan Michaels “is quiet, humble and possibly the best six-man player in the state. It has been so fun to watch him improve year after year and game to game. The growth he has shown since he was thrust into action as a sophomore has been unreal. Last year, he was hampered by a broken hand, but this year he took the league by storm. Other players in the state were garnering all the attention, but he just went to work in his quiet unassuming way. Hardworking and humble to go with loads of talent made him who he is. His game against Encampment will always stand out to me. It was one of the most offensively dominant performances I have seen as a coach.
“These boys will be missed and leave some big shoes to fill. Going from 1-7 to 10-1 and state champs is quite the accomplishment,” said Aagard.

RUSHING — Burlington, 34-176 (Jordan Michaels 18-113, Joe Bassett 13-61).
PASSING — Burlington 14-of-22 for 168 yards (Jordan Michaels 11-of-18 for 134).
RECEIVING — Joe Bassett 6 catches for 34 yards, Jordan Casey 2 catches for 51 yards.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Joe Bassett led the way with 18 total tackles (11 solo, 7 assisted and 1 fumble recovery), followed by Jordan Michaels with 14 total tackles (10 solo, 4 assisted, 1 interception and 1 pass break up).