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Wyoming’s scrimmage Saturday brought flashbacks for one of Casper’s own.

With the Cowboys trying to keep their remaining scholarship running backs healthy, Brett Brenton got most of the carries during Wyoming’s first full-scale scrimmage of the spring at Natrona County High’s Cheney Alumni Field. Wyoming is down to just two scholarship backs this spring following Jevon Bigelow’s decision to leave the team last week.

Rising sophomore Xazavian Valladay, the leading candidate to take over for Nico Evans as the Cowboys’ primary ballcarrier next season, was held out of the scrimmage while redshirt freshman Reow Jackson (Achilles) also watched from the sidelines in street clothes. Brenton, fullback Jeff Burroughs and walk-on quarterback Ryan Marquez rotated in the backfield, but Brenton got more carries than any of them.

“He did some good things,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. “It was neat for him to come back to his hometown here on this field. He’s a tough runner. It’s fun to see him out there doing some good things.”

The Natrona County High product went for a scrimmage-best 71 yards on 17 carries in the Brown team’s 17-0 win and bailed the offense out with the second-longest run of the day midway through the scrimmage. After Sean Chambers overthrew a wide-open Nate Weinman in the end zone, Brenton came back on the next play and broke a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone for a 15-yard score.

“On the touchdown run, I got vertical very quick and I think that really helped me,” Brenton said. “Some runs, I was kind of hesitant and got tackled at the line of scrimmage. Other than that, I think I did pretty good.”

It brought back vivid memories of his time playing for the Mustangs under the Friday night lights.

“Hearing the crowd,” Brenton said, “and then at the end of the game when they played the fight song.”

Brenton walked on at Wyoming following his senior season at Natrona County in 2017. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder redshirted last season but is now getting his biggest opportunity in the Cowboys’ backfield because of the depleted numbers.

Wyoming will add three running backs to the fold this summer when signees Dawaiian McNeely, Alphonzo Andrew Jr. and Titus Swen arrive on campus, so whether Brenton actually contributes next season is still to be determined.

But the local product is doing his best to take advantage of the here and now.

“I was hoping to just come into the spring and just give it my hardest,” Brenton said. “I guess just the numbers ran out, and now I’m just getting my shot.”

Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter

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