Wyoming defeats Nebraska in Six-Man Shootout

The 6-Man Wyoming-Nebraska All Star Football Game featured senior all stars from Wyoming versus senior all stars from Nebraska. Guernsey-Sunrise’s Rawland Isabell participated in the contest June 3 at Chadron State College’s Elliott Football Field. The all-time series was tied 5-5 in wins and losses until Wyoming crushed Nebraska 68-44. Last year, Guernsey-Sunrise’s Justin Malcom played in the shootout. In last year’s contest Nebraska’s six-man all-stars evened their series with Wyoming at five games apiece after winning the Six-man Shootout 48-14.

Guernsey-Sunrise's Rawland Isabell plays his final game

CHADRON – When Rawland Isabell was 11 years old, he witnessed a group of Nebraska all-stars defeat his Wyoming heroes 34-8 in a game played in his own hometown stadium in Guernsey. It has always been a back-burner chip on his shoulder.

Depending how the student numbers run for Guernsey-Sunrise the next few years, Rawland Isabell may be the last Viking ever selected for the Wyoming-Nebraska Six-Man Shootout.

If that’s the case, the record books will show that a final game produced a victory. The all-time series which stands at 11 games now has a new series leader as Wyoming broke the series tie with a convincing 68-44 victory at Chadron State College last Friday night.

Guernsey-Sunrise which is switching to nine-man football next season says goodbye to the six-man shootout against Nebraska.

When this “gentle giant” walks into a room he commands respect and admiration from his fans and peers who usually break into the chant, calling him by his affectionate nickname, “ROLO.”

When Guernsey-Sunrise senior Isabell got the telephone call from this year’s 6-Man All-Star Football shootout head coach Jack Cobb from Snake River informing him of his selection to the all-star squad from Wyoming, he was excited.

“When I got the call, I thought it was great,” Isabell said with a smile from ear-to-ear. “It’s just one more opportunity where I can show myself off for one more football game, I guess. I am going to make the most of it.”

Isabell has a dream to go on to play college ball, although he hasn’t made any choices as to that future yet. His immediate plans are to continue in the weight room and perhaps the next call he receives will be from his college football coach.

He was born in Wheatland, but the day after he was born, he came to Guernsey where he’s lived all of his life.

“I’ve lived here my whole life,” he said. “I feel like I’ve really served my purpose here as a student and an athlete playing every sport I could. This all-star game is just the final shebang to go out.”

The game played at Chadron State College June 3 had a 7 p.m. start and that meant five hours on the road for most of the Wyoming faithful. Well worth it as coaches, fans and administration got to see the best of the best in senior competition from both sides of the panhandle.

Wyoming, who had lost the last two games in the series felt that they had something to prove and something to say about Wyoming football. It would not be easy as the all-stater list from Nebraska read like a who’s who going on to play college football.

Wyoming scored first with a running game that became their signature for the entire game. Running on offense and smash-mouth football on defense.

With a few seconds left in the first half and holding on to a slim four-point lead, Encampment’s Wyatt Cox intercepted a pass for a pick-six to put WYO up by 12 and a little more of a comfortable lead.

With 1:39 left in the third the dogfight became fierce and Nebraska came roaring back to within two points at 38-36.

After a fumble recovery, Hulett graduate Bryce Ackerman came into his own and with a touchdown with 27 seconds left in the third quarter, the lead was back to 10 points for Wyoming.

Anyone who witnessed the fourth quarter knows now why it’s called a shootout as Wyoming outscored Nebraska 22-8 and the Red & White had no answer for Ackerman who ran wild as the young men up front showed what Wyoming blocking was all about.

“It was breathless playing in that game,” Isabell said. “It was a privilege and an honor. I’m the last kid from Guernsey, Wyoming, that’s going to be in that game for a long while since they’re moving to nine-man. I feel that I really served a purpose in football and I felt like I did what I was supposed to do there on the field.”

Isabell who played every conceivable position while at Guernsey excelled this past year as a tight end. All speculations were that he was going to step into that position, but it surprised everyone to see coaches put him in at the center position.

“I felt like I had to adapt,” he said. “But that’s the best part. That whole week was full of new experiences and that was just one to go along with the rest of them. I learned a lot. I learned more about life than I did about football throughout that whole week.”

Playing against some of these kids throughout the regular season and then coming together as teammates was an eye-opener for not only Isabell, but for the entire team.

“Up until the we got there, we were all enemies, if you could call us that,” Isabell said. “Then we had to come together and make a team, and sure enough we took it seriously. We practiced an hour longer than Nebraska each time we were on the practice field. I think that really made a difference.”

After losing the first round of playoffs in Encampment, Isabell thought that the relationships would be bittersweet, especially since it was Caysen Barkhurst who played head-up against Isabell in that game.

“Having him on my team was really nice and I really respect his skills,” Isabell said. “We had a good week right from the walk-through practice on Tuesday in Casper and then to Chadron Wednesday.”

The team practiced three times a day and had little time for recreation, but these are kids who live for their sport and other than the teambuilding exercise of going to see the movie “Top Gun Maverick,” it was business as usual for the teams.

“I feel like knowing the fact that Nebraska had won the past two years really gave us some incentive to go out there and kick some Nebraska a**.”

Not many players can walk away from their high school careers with a victory, but Isabell accomplished that feat and found closure in his journey.

“I am really privileged,” he said again.

Class 1A-6 Man state champion Little Snake River head coach Jack Cobb will be the heading up the coaching duties for Wyoming. The coaching staff selected 18 players from nine of the six-man programs around the state. The game will be played June 3 at Chadron State College in Nebraska.

Wyoming roster:

Brac Walker – Burlington

Max Claar – Dubois

Michael Anderson – Encampment

Caysen Barkhurst – Encampment

Koye Gilbert – Encampment

Cree Jones – Farson-Eden

Trevor Jones – Farson-Eden

Rawland Isabell – Guernsey-Sunrise

Bryce Ackerman – Hulett

Tyler Kromarek – Hulett

Wyatt Adams – Little Snake River

Jerick Martinez – Little Snake River

Zander Risner – Little Snake River

Dace Bennett – Meeteetse

Jonathon Blessing – Meeteetse

Kalvin Erickson – Meeteetse

Mickle Ogden – Meeteetse

Jacob Hutchings – Midwest

Along with Cobb on the Wyoming staff is Sam Weeldreyer from Little Snake River, Zack Scott from H.E.M. and Zeb Hagen from Meeteetse.

 

Previous games played:

2012 Arthur, NE.

WYO-54 NE-52

2013 Dubois, WY.

WYO-40 NE-26

2014 Bladen, NE.

WYO-68 NE-26

2015 Guernsey, WY.

NE-34 WYO-8

2016 Albion, NE.

NE-59 WYO-32

2017 Kaycee, WY.

NE-58 WYO-38

2018 Albion, NE.

WYO-16 NE-14

2019 Chadron State University 

WYO-52 NE-50

2020 Harrison, NE.

NE-52 WYO-25

2021 Chadron State University

NE – 48  WYO - 14

2022 Chadron State University

WYO – 68  NE - 44

The 6-Man Wyoming-Nebraska All Star Football Game featured senior all stars from Wyoming versus senior all stars from Nebraska. Guernsey-Sunrise’s Rawland Isabell participated in the contest June 3 at Chadron State College’s Elliott Football Field. The all-time series was tied 5-5 in wins and losses until Wyoming crushed Nebraska 68-44. Last year, Guernsey-Sunrise’s Justin Malcom played in the shootout. In last year’s contest Nebraska’s six-man all-stars evened their series with Wyoming at five games apiece after winning the Six-man Shootout 48-14.

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