Count the Wyoming Cowboys amongst those that didn't want to see 2009 come to an end. It was a special year for one of Ohio's winningest programs. The Cowboys used a balance of a high-powered passing attack, a capable running game and a physical defense to have its way against opponents.
The team breezed through a perfect regular season while earning a Cincinnati Hills League title as they advanced to the state semi-finals for the first time since 1998. The senior class certainly left its legacy, but there are still plenty of contributors coming back next season that optimism remains.
Let's take a game-by-game look at Wyoming's 2009 campaign:
GAME #1 - WYOMING 39, CHCA 3
The FOX19 Friday Prep Rally kicked off the season by making its way to Wyoming for a match-up of two highly-touted small schools. The Cowboys overmatched the Eagles with stifling defense and plenty of offensive fireworks. Junior quarterback Kyle Seyfried connected with senior wide receiver Evan Aleshire four times for 183 yards and two touchdowns and the defense held down CHCA's high-powered attack to just 112 yards of total offense while forcing three turnovers. Seyfried, who finished last year with 1,608 passing yards, finished the contest with 392 yards passing and three touchdowns.
GAME #2 - WYOMING 47, OAKWOOD 7
The Cowboys hit the road for the first time of the season, but didn't miss a beat against Oakwood in Dayton. Senior wideout Harry Meisner pulled in eight of Seyfried's 13 completions for 95 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown strike. Running back Isaiah Nearor picked up 102 yards and scored three times on just nine carries. The senior also made a splash on defense, coming up with a sack and returning an interception 50 yards for a touchdown.
GAME #3 - WYOMING 46, NORWOOD 13
Norwood honored one of the greatest running backs ever to play in the city Marc Edwards at halftime, but it was the Cowboys' offense that was making people take notice. Seyfried threw for three touchdowns and Nearor added three more on the ground as Wyoming wrapped up non-conference play with a perfect 3-0 mark. Senior Jared Frost came up with 7 tackles and a sack to help set the tone for the Cowboys' defense.
GAME #4 - WYOMING 28, READING 21
The CHL was showcased on FOX Sports Ohio's Thursday Night Football as Reading played host to Wyoming and the two schools didn't disappoint. Both teams traded punches through three quarters, but the Cowboys came up with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, a 7-yard Seyfried to Meisner pass and a decisive a 1-yard run by Seyfried, to seal the deal. The difference in the ball game was the four turnovers produced by Wyoming's defense. Jacob Allsop accounted for two, coming up with a pair of interceptions. Max Kadish and Michael Travers also picked off passes.
GAME #5 - WYOMING 31, MARIEMONT 3
Wyoming held Mariemont to just 112 total yards of offense and again won the turnover battle (2:0) as they dominated the Warriors. Meisner caught a pair of touchdowns and Aleshire added another TD reception to help lead the offense. Kadish was responsible for the Cowboys' other score as he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.
GAME #6 - WYOMING 42, MADEIRA 6
Defense end Jibreel Black accounted for a season-high seven tackles and a sack as the Cowboys continued to breeze by league opponents with a sound victory over Madeira. Nearor, Dillon Burk, and Jared Frost all came up with interceptions. Seyfried threw for four touchdowns and ran for another to guide the offense with Mesiner scoring twice. Aleshire and Jonathon Tighe each added a TD catch of their own in the route.
GAME #7 - WYOMING 47, DEER PARK 7
After putting the first points on the board and leading most of the first quarter, Deer Park had no answer for Wyoming as the Cowboys scored 47 unanswered, including 26 second-quarter points. Seyfried was nearly perfect completing 16 of his 21 passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns and Nearor added 105 yards and a score on the ground. Wyoming outgained Deer Park with 507 to 187 total yards of offense.
GAME #8 - WYOMING 54, FINNEYTOWN 0
It was a big night for Meisner who pulled in three of Seyfried's five touchdown passes while finishing with 193 yards on just four receptions. With the Cowboys racing out to a 48-0 halftime lead, most of the starters were non-factors in the second half.
GAME #9 - WYOMING 55, TAYLOR 0
For the second straight week, the Cowboys' defense pitched a shutout and dominated their opponent in every aspect of a game. Wyoming had 26 first downs to just three for Taylor while outgaining the Yellow Jackets with 452 total yards to just 81 yards. Seyfried threw for a season-high six touchdowns and Drew Perry made the most of his opportunity out of the backfield, rushing for 69 yards and score on seven carries.
GAME #10 - WYOMING 50, INDIAN HILL 49
It was an instant classic as the CHL title was on the line in the regular-season finale. With their playoff hopes shot, Indian Hill was out to prove they belonged. Wyoming would get its biggest test of the season and pass it with flying colors. The Braves led most of the game and went up 49-42 with 2:42 to go in the game, but the Cowboys would drive 80 yards for a touchdown that ended with Seyfried finding Allsop for a 3-yard touchdown pass. Rather than going for the game-tying extra-point, head coach Bernie Barre opted to go for two and Nearor delivered on the Statue of Liberty play that resulted in him running in the game-deciding two-point conversion. Seyfried finished with 446 passing yards and Nearor added 122 yards on the ground in a game that featured 1,037 yards of total offense. The win secured the perfect regular season and the Cowboys' first CHL title since 2001.
GAME #11 - WYOMING 34, EATON 32
The top-seeded Cowboys survived a first-round scare in Region 12 playoff action as they held off a game Eaton squad. After taking a 28-14 lead in the third quarter, the Cowboys watched Eaton roll off 18 straight points. Just like a week before though, Seyfried would engineer a late fourth-quarter drive to seal the win for Wyoming. Nearor, who led all rushers with 110 yards, scored the go-ahead touchdown, his third of the game, on a 1-yard run with 2:34 on the clock. The defense held on to help the Cowboys advance and hand Barre his 300th career win.
GAME #12 - WYOMING 14, MONROE 7
For the first time all season the Cowboys went in the locker room without putting any points on the board as they trailed the Hornets 7-0. That would change quickly though as Seyfried topped off an 82-yard drive by running in the team's first score from seven yards out. Seyfried would connect with Aleshire two minutes into the fourth quarter on a 55-yard scoring strike to give the Cowboys a decisive 14-7 advantage. Black contributed to a stellar defensive effort with a sack, a fumble recovery, six tackles, and two assists.
GAME #13 - WYOMING 14, SHAWNEE 7
The Cowboys earned their first regional title in 21 years despite only managing 191 yards of total offense. Seyfried found Nearor for a 7-yard touchdown to give Wyoming a 7-0 first-quarter lead. That would be all the scoring by either team until Shawnee tied up with nine minutes to go in the game. The tie would not last long as Seyfried found the most unlikely of Cowboy heroes, Spencer Herbst, with a 64-yard touchdown pass on the very next play from scrimmage. Herbst had just 10 catches on the season. Once again the defense would clamp down and seal the victory.
GAME #14 - DESALES 24, WYOMING 7
Wyoming's bid for a state championship and undefeated season would come two wins short. DeSales led 3-0 at halftime, but opened the game up with three second-half touchdowns. After falling behind 17-0, the Cowboys cut the lead to ten when Seyfried found Aleshire for a 67-yard touchdown pass. It would prove to be Wyoming's only points of the night. DeSales would go on to lose 35-7 to Cardinal Mooney the following week in the Ohio Division III State Championship game.
MILESTONES AND MORE:
--Quarterback Kyle Seyfried rewrote the school record books by passing for 3,452 yards and 40 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes during his junior year.
-- It was record-setting year for senior wideouts Harry Meisner and Evan Aleshire. Meisner, who missed all of 2008 with an injury, came back to set a school record with 69 receptions. Meanwhile, Aleshire set the single-season mark with 1,154 receiving yards.
--The Cowboys weren't all about passing the football. Senior running back Isaiah Nearor eclipsed the 1000-yard mark on the ground, finishing with 1,043 yards and 15 touchdowns on 166 carries.
--Defensive end Jibreel Black led a defensive unit that ceded just 12.3 points per game. The UC commit led the Cowboys with 10 sacks.
--The team had several players receive some postseason accolades including: Seyfried and Black were named Division III, Southwest District (Region 12) Offensive and defensive players of the year respectively; Meisner and Aleshire were named First-Team All-Southwest District honorees and fellow wideout Nick Layman was named Second-Team All-Southwest District. Defensively, Nearor and Jacob Allsop garnered Second-Team All-Southwest District recognition. Seyfried, Mesiner and Black were voted First-Team All-State in Ohio's Division III with Aleshire being a Second-Team All-State selection. Seyfried was named as the Ohio Division III Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press.
--It was a great year for head coach Bernie Barre. Not only did his team set a record with 14 wins in a season and make it to the state semi-finals for the first time since 1998, but Barre was named to the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has 33 consecutive winning seasons. Barre is 302-102 for his career. He finishes his 19th season at Wyoming 119 games over .500 at 167-48.
**The Wyoming Cowboys have been nominated as one of six finalists for QueenCityHigh.com's Cincinnati Team of the Year. The award will be handed at our Cincinnati Year In Review show at Buca di Beppo at Rookwood Commons in Norwood on Thursday, January 14th, 2010. The event is open to the public, but you must RSVP by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost for admission is $15 per person and includes family-style Italian buffet. Please check out our free message board - THE 275 LOOP.**