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Cone-LeBeaumont beats the buzzer to help Central claim second-straight conference title

May 11—CHEYENNE — Forward Roscoe Cone-LeBeaumont has scored a plethora of big goals during his time with the Cheyenne Central boys soccer team.

Saturday's marker may have been his biggest yet.

With the match tied 1-1 in Saturday's Class 4A East Conference final against Sheridan — and with a spot as the No. 1 seed at next week's Class 4A state tournament in Rock Springs on the line — the senior blasted a ball to into the back of the net as time expired, giving Central a 2-1 win.

"I just saw the bouncing to me, and I just struck it," Cone-LeBeaumont said. "It just went perfect, and I don't think I could have placed it any better (than I did).

"... It was a good moment. (All I) remember is celebrating it."

Central's road to the win was anything but easy. The Indians spent an overwhelming amount of time in their own zone for the first 65 minutes of the game and struggled to get any clean shots away at Broncs keeper Beck Haswell.

The Broncs' best chance of the half came just shy of the 26-minute mark, when a rebound off a free kick from Bryce Child was put just high of the net. Just over 10 minutes later, senior Dane Steel fired a shot toward the net that narrowly missed the far post.

The Indians made Sheridan pay for the missed opportunities in the 39th minute. After Breck Reed was called for a yellow card deep in the attacking third, Samuel Lucas Smith fired a free kick toward the net that rattled off multiple Sheridan defenders in front. The ball found its way to Logan Custis, who punched in the shot to give Central a 1-0 lead.

The game was also very physical, with both teams combining for 17 fouls in the first half alone. It's something second-year Central coach Dirk Dijkstal knew was a possibility coming in, but Dijkstal trusted his defense to limit Sheridan as much as possible — no matter how physical the game was.

"The kids knew how much of a challenge (this game) was going to be," Dijkstal said. "... It's just about playing principle and discipline-based defense, which we do so well. We have kids like Brock (Pedersen), Tyler Davis and Nate Brenchley who are cool as a cucumber and everything just slides right off."

Sheridan finally got on the board in the 55th minute. After being robbed by Leo Somerset, Steel was fouled just outside the penalty area and was awarded a free kick from the 10. He made no mistake on the free kick, beating Somerset to his right to tie the game at one.

It was the only time Sheridan was able to get one by Somerset. For the rest of the match, the sophomore keeper gobbled up every shot that came his way.

"Leo is an absolute bulwark," Dijkstal said. "Every single thing that touched his hand was absolute possession. It's just demoralizing when you have a rip of a shot, and it is just handled cleanly like he did."

While it wasn't his most flashy save, Somerset's most important came with one minute left on the clock. Somerset jumped high in the air to snag a shot on goal, which helped set up the final sequence for Cone-LeBeaumont.

It was just another example of the rock Somerset is on the back end for Central, according to Cone-LeBeaumont.

"Obviously, we haven't been scored on a lot this year and credit goes to him," the senior said. "After every game, we congratulate him and make sure he's doing good because, without him, we wouldn't be in the position we are in."

Central facess No. 4 seed Natrona County at 4 p.m. Thursday in Rock Springs. While locking up the East's No. 1 seed was the goal, Central knows it will mean nothing if it can't go on a run with the momentum.

"We just have to be confident going into next week," Cone-LeBeaumont said. "It's going to be a tough road to the title, but we just need to stay together and keep maintaining what we did during this week."

CENTRAL 2, SHERIDAN 1

Halftime: Central 1-0.

Goals: Central, Custis (unassisted), 39, Sheridan, D. Steel (free kick), 55, Central, Cone-LeBeaumont (unassisted), 79.

Shots: Sheridan 12, Central 8. Shots on goal: Sheridan 8, Central 6. Saves: Central 7 (Somerset), Sheridan 4 (Haswell).

Corner kicks: Central 4, Sheridan 4. Offsides: Central 1, Sheridan 1. Fouls: Central 23, Sheridan 15. Yellow cards: Sheridan 3 (Reed, 39, K. Crow 65, Chase, 77), Central 3 (Zieman, 36, Custis 51, Cone-LeBeaumont 52).

Matt Atencio covers Laramie County prep sports for WyoSports. He can be reached at matencio@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @MattAtencio5.