For the second time this season the Laramie Plainsmen face a ranked opponent on the road, but this time it’s a top-5 showdown at Cheyenne East Friday night.

Laramie is ranked for the first time this season in the latest Wyopreps.com Coaches and Media Poll at No. 5. The Thunderbirds moved up to No. 2 with their upset of last week’s top-ranked Natrona County Mustangs.

Laramie (3-2) has achieved three wins this early for the first time since 2005. Now they enter a stretch with three of their last four in the regular season on the road. Four wins before October hasn’t been done since 2000. LHS now has an opportunity in front of them to see if they can step up and compete with a top-tier team in Class 4A football.

Cheyenne East (4-1) lost their only game in week two at home against top-ranked Thunder Basin, 34-11. They have regrouped with wins over Cheyenne South and NC, which was a comeback victory, 22-21, last week. The Thunderbirds scored the game-winning touchdown on a pass 1:38 left.

Plainsmen head coach Clint Reed talks in the video above about how his team found a way to win last week. He also realizes it’s been a while since LHS has had this time of success early in a season. Reed knows the East game will be a tough match-up, but he feels his team is up for the challenge.

Laramie runs the ball more effectively (195 vs. 171 yards per game), but East has a good edge in the air (169 vs. 73 yards per game). The Thunderbirds are averaging 341 yards per game, while the Plainsmen are at 268 a game. Defensively, LHS is allowing only 265 yards per game, while East is giving up 313 per game.

Baxter Tuggle ranks third in rushing yards per game at 111.6. Jason Upton is running for 76 and throwing for 73 per game. He ranks sixth in all-purpose yards per game.

East is led by sophomore QB Graedyn Buell, who throws for 169.4 yards per game. He’s got six TD passes and only two interceptions. Buell completes nearly 61 percent of his passes. Add in about 47 rushing yards per game, and Buell is No. 2 in all-purpose yards per game at 216.2. Their weapons include running back Christian Anderton, and receivers Chance Aumiller, Ox Schroeder, and Dakota Merritt.

Defensively, Laramie has three players that rank in the top 12 in defensive points per game. Ben Kruzich leads the way at No. 2 and averages 14.6 points per game. Jason Upton and Brady Epler are also in that mix. Cheyenne East has four defenders in the top seven, led by Landin Eldridge and Zach Alexander, who are at 13.8 defensive points per game apiece.

Kick-off is at 6 p.m. from Okie Blanchard Stadium in Cheyenne.

KOWB (AM 1290) will broadcast the game live with coverage starting at 5 p.m. Join David Settle for the game call. You can also listen online, through the KOWB app, and any Amazon Alexa-enabled device.