CODY, Wyo. - If ever there's a destiny year for Powell to win Wyoming's 3A state football championship, it's this one.
The underdog Panthers found another way to beat the odds Friday night, this time 20-13 over longtime rival Cody in the semifinals. Grinding through this season for senior quarterback Ethan Asher who is still hospitalized after nearly losing his life in a roll-over truck accident on August's first day of school, Powell scored first and never trailed.
Both impressive and improbable, considering the Panthers lost their regular season meeting in Cody 38-14 and hadn't won on Spike Vannoy Field since 2016. Fans stormed the field afterward as players hoisted Asher's No. 3 jersey over a huddle amid the celebration.
The Panthers built a 20-7 halftime lead thanks to an effective run game. Landon Lengfelder closed an 80-yard opening drive scoring on a QB keeper. Hunter Hays answered for Cody connecting with Tristan Blatt on a 70-yard catch and run to tie it 7-7.
Brody Karhu opend the 2nd quarter scoring with a 51-yard scamper for a 14-7 Powell lead. Late in the half, Langfelder then darted in from 10 yards to put the Panthers up 20-7 at the break.
Cody cut the lead to 20-13 but Powell's defense slammed the door when Hays was sacked by Toran Graham late in the 4th quarter. The Broncs Broncs’ hook-and-ladder attempt was stymied on 4th down.
The noticeable stat was Powell’s defense allowing Cody only 28 yards rushing.
Karhu led Powell with 16 carries for 91 yards and a score. Kadden Abraham added 60 yards. Lengfelder ran for 16 yards and two touchdowns.
Now one win from a magical finish, Powell stares down defending champion Star Valley in Saturday's 3 p.m. championship at the University of Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium. Star Valley owns a 20-game winning streak.
Powell owns the hearts of an entire state.