SHERIDAN — Sometimes high school football rankings don’t mean a thing.
The Sheridan Broncs (4-0) toppled No. 1 Friday night, using a 28-point second quarter in a 42-14 win over Cheyenne East (3-1) at Scott Field.
Reward for their efforts? At night’s end, the Broncs were tied atop 4A football with Gillette after the Camels (4-0) beat Natrona (2-2) 24-23 in overtime in Casper. Sheridan meets the Camels in two weeks at Gillette.
For now, head coach Don Julian was pleased with his team’s well-executed effort Friday night. The win served as an early-season statement for a team that was, before last night, perhaps flying under the radar.
“We just talked about it as a great opportunity for us to see who we really are,” he said. “We wanted to see if we are one of the top teams, we said, ‘Hey, let’s take advantage of this opportunity and let’s let them worry about being No. 1 and let’s go about our business. Try to do our best with the opportunitiy at hand.’”
That they did, thanks in large part to the early big play ability of senior wideout Nick Gill. On the first play from scrimmage, Gill blazed through the East defense on an 80-yard end around touchdown run to make the score 7-0. As if his scamper wasn’t enough to get the fans on their feet, Gill caught two more first-half passes behind East’s secondary, his 74-yarder for six getting the Broncs big quarter starterd. He also set up his offense with two punt returns — one that he took down to the two yard line.
When it was all over, Gill finished with 165 yards receiving and 110 yards rushing. His 91 return yards kept him just short of a triple-triple of sorts.
The game at first had the look of a shootout when East’s versatile leader Tevis Bartlett answered Gill’s score with 5:06 left in the first quarter.
But after that East was stuck on the sidelines courtesy of Sheridan’s defensive front producing three-and-outs. The Broncs unleashed their 28-point barrage in the second quarter, and the game was all but over.
“The ability to throw and catch tonight really opened things up,” Julian said. “Our special teams were special and created some big plays for us. Defensively, I thought we ran our technique very well tonight and we were very disciplined. The kids did the things they needed to do, that we instructed them on, and we really executed very well.”
Sheridan finished with 531 yards of total offense, on 55 plays from scrimmage while their defense held East to 289 yards on 55 plays.
Bartlett was picked twice. Safety Evan Coon ended the Broncs big quarter as he grabbed an underthrown ball away from a streaking receiver. Dontae Crow stole a pass midair on a similar rollout play in the third. Sheridan’s linebackers Ethan Hall and Ethan Hoopes were active in the Thunderbird backfield all night as they finished with 11 and 10 assisted tackles respectively. Hoopes had four unassisted stops, while Hall got a sack.
Kameron Eckard threw three touchdown passes, all in the second quarter. He hit Crow on a 34-yard fly pattern, dropping the ball into the sophomore’s hands in stride, with just a minute left in the half to extend Sheridan’s lead to 35-7.
Colbey Bruney got in on the fun with a trip to the end zone by way of an 8-yard Eckard pass. Ethan Hall punched in the Broncs lone second half score.
“We thought we had put together a nice game plan for their defense and we were hoping that it was going to be effective, and the kids executed very well and we stayed on it and the kids made plays,” Julian said. “I thought we threw and caught the ball well tonight. We had specific run plays that were very successful, but we found a few plays that were very successful.”
That run game produced 247 yards on 33 carries for a 7.5 yards per attempt average. Eckard’s day finished at 11-22 for 284 yards, with one late pick that came in the third quarter when the game was already in hand.
“We were a little more conservative offensively,” Julian said of the second half. “We took one shot and had a little bit of an under throw that gave them a turnover they scored on and capitalized.”
East reeled off 14 straight with a late third-quarter goal-line score from Bartlett and another from the QB after the interception. From there, Sheridan was able to burn enough time off the clock to secure the win.
“I really felt like overall it was just a very, very nice victory,” Julian said. “I was really proud of the kids and the coaches.”
SHS: Nick Gill 80 yard run, 11:45 in first quarter 7-0 SHS
East: Bartlett to Lopez 78 yard pass 7-7
SHS: Kameron Eckard 74 yard pass to Gill, 11:48 2nd quarter
SHS: Dan Sessions 3-yard run, 6:03 2nd quarter 21-7
SHS: Eckard 8-yard pass to Colbey Bruney, 2 pt pass to Trae Kaufmann 28-7 2nd quarter
SHS: Eckard 34-yard pass to Dontae Crow 35-7, 1:05 left in 2nd quarter
SHS: Ethan Hall 1-yard run 42-7
East: Bartlett 1-yard run
East: Bartlet 1-yard run
1 2 3 4 F
SHS 7 28 7 0 42
East 7 0 7 7 21
SHS: Dan Sessions 4-67-1TD, Colbey Bruney 4-18, Kameron Eckard 3-9, Nick Gill 6-110, Ethan Hall 3-21-1TD, Evan Coon 1-2
East: Clinton Jaure 11-24, Tevis Bartlett 20-123
SHS: Eckard 11-22-284-3TDs-1INT
East: Bartlett 10-24-1TD-2INT
SHS: Dontae Crow 1-45-1TD, Joe Shassetz 1-14, Nick Gill 4-165-1TD, Dan Sessions 1-24, Bruney 3-33-1TD, Trae Kaufmann 1-3 (2pt conversion)
East: Brian Lopez 5-88-1TD
Team totals SHS-East
First downs 18-11
Passing Yards 284-148
Total Plays 55-56
Total Offense 531-289
Return Yardage 125-32