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4A quarterfinal preview: Laramie at Sheridan

SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s second season starts Friday night at Homer Scott Field.

The Broncs 2013 playoffs start the same way the 2013 season did when they square off against the Laramie Plainsmen. This time the Broncs are at home, a team 10 weeks more experienced, its goal more in sight.

“I think fast start again would be tremendous for us, something to put doubt in their minds,” Julian said.

The 3-6 Plainsmen carry momentum to Sheridan after they upset Kelly Walsh last Friday, moving up a spot in seeding.

“Laramie has given up a lot of yardage on the ground, and we need to try to take advantage of that,” Julian said. “It keeps their offense off the field if we’re driving on the ground.”

During the season opener in Laramie, the Broncs used efficient passing and stingy defense to make the result a foregone conclusion in the first half. The Broncs got two rushing touchdowns from senior Daniel Sessions and two receiving from junior Joe Shassetz.

Still, the Plainsmen seemed on the rise under new coach Chuck Syverson, and what was a 45-6 blowout in 2012 became a closer 27-7 Broncs win in August.

Teams two months older may bring an even more exciting game offensively out of both sides Friday. That’s thanks in part to the Plainsmen’s athletic quarterback Drew Burman. Laramie likes to throw the ball, and Burman is fifth out of 4A quarterbacks statistically. His yards per game fuel the Plainsmen — 125.3 per game through the air and nearly 60 more on the ground rank him second in all-purpose yards in 4A.

Defining their progression, Laramie last week defeated Kelly Walsh, moving from their projected lowest seed in the playoffs to the No. 7 seed. Laramie trailed the Trojans 26-6 entering the fourth quarter before winning 29-26.

“It was an exciting way for them to finish their regular season, and they’re going to roll into here with a lot of momentum and excitement,” Julian said.

Laramie hadn’t won more than two games since 2009 has reached the playoffs for the first time since 2011. But up in Sheridan, the Broncs carry with them their own history from 2011, and the seniors on this team remember what happened that year as sophomores.

Julian’s known goal, obtaining a top two seed, resulted in a state title that season.
The seed grants them homefield advantage all the way to War Memorial Stadium, and the Broncs are 7-1 at home in the playoffs under Julian, or since 2008. They’re 7-0 in their last seven postseason home games.

Sheridan was a clear second-best regular season team in 2013, with their dominant 42-21 win over East leaving little discussion in the tiebreaker between 4A’s two-loss squads. The two teams that handed Sheridan losses during the regular season are on the other side of the 4A playoff bracket, and not having to see sizable Natrona or Gillette until a state title game would be a relief for any team.

They’re not getting ahead of themselves, after those lingering defeats at the hands of the Mustangs and Camels, the Broncs are back on track.

Even with the upswing in morale that comes with completing a regular season benchmark, business as usual goes a long way in approaching a loser-out game.

“We¹ve had good practices all year, it’s just the way they’ve carried themselves all year,” Julian explained.

“We all know that if you don¹t do a good job in these games you’re done. Our team is a confident team, they’re practicing hard, they’re a mature bunch and they carry themselves that way in practice every day. They do the things they need to do to prepare.”

Sheridan and Laramie meet at 7 p.m. Friday night, on what’s expected to be a third-straight week of late-fall football in Sheridan with pleasant weather.

It’s Blue and Gold Zombie dress up night for students, and the Broncs will again make a few more recognitions at halftime of the game.

“We really want to have a good crowd, the kids have worked hard for a long time and they’re getting closer to their goal,” Julian said.

Tale of the tape
Team passing
1st Sheridan 178.6 ypg./7th Laramie 134.6 ypg.
Team rushing
4th Sheridan 198.0 ypg./10th Laramie 107.8 ypg.
Total yards
2nd Sheridan 376.6 ypg./7th Laramie 241.8 ypg.
Pass defense
5th Laramie 119.8 ypg./7th Sheridan 122.6 ypg.
Rush defense
4th Sheridan 144.2 ypg./10th Laramie 269.4 ypg.
Total defense
3rd Sheridan 266.8 ypg./10th Laramie 389.2 ypg.

Individual leaders
Passing
SHS Kameron Eckard 178.6 ypg., 1,607 yds, 12 Tds/8 Int., 64 percent completion, 149.2 QB eff., 8.6 yds per compl. (1st in 4A)
Laramie Drew Burman 125.3 ypg., 1,002 yds, 2 Tds/9 Int., 52 percent completion, 95.6 QB eff., 6.0 yds per compl. (5th in 4A)
Rushing
SHS Daniel Sessions 95.3 yds/game, 858 total yards 134 attempts, 13 Tds, 6.2 yds/att. (3rd in 4A)
Laramie No top 10 runners
Receiving
SHS Nick Gill 46.6 yds per game, 15.5 yds/rec., 419 total yards, 27 receptions, 2 Tds (4th in 4A); Joe Shassetz 43.7 yds per game, 14.0 yds/rec., 393 total yards, 28 receptions, 4 Tds (7th in 4A)
Laramie Gavin Worden 37.4 yds per game, 15.3 yds/rec., 337 total yards, 22 receptions, 1 Td

Individual defense
4th Ethan Hall 6.9 tackles/game, 72 assist/20 solo 4 tkl loss/2 sacks 1 fumble rec.
6th Ethan Hoopes 5.8 tckls/game 54 asst/17 solo/ 2 tkl loss 2 fumble rec. 2 int.
Others ranked in top 50: 27 Evan Coon, 29 Colbey Bruney, 44 Riley Sessions, 46 Cody Delk.

About

Brad Estes

Sheridan Press sports editor

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