SHERIDAN — Before last Friday night, the week one matchup between Sheridan and Kelly Walsh was being tabbed as the game of the week.
That billing lost some clout when the Trojans went to Gillette and lost 52-14, allowing the Camels nearly 400 yards on the ground. Whether they’re trolling their rival Gillette or, more realistically, taking the smart approach, the Broncs are preparing for their home opener as if last week never happened.
“They’re a senior-heavy football team who we expected to be very solid this year,” Julian said. “They have a lot of kids with a lot of solid varsity experience with as many juniors as they had playing last year.”
The last time Sheridan opened at home against Kelly Walsh was in 2009. The Trojans won 42-20, but the Broncs went on to win a 4A state title.
One week at a time.
Still, Sheridan has seen as much of Kelly Walsh as any 4A team over the past two years, with playoff matchups going Sheridan’s way two out of the past three years. Sheridan beat Kelly Walsh twice in 2012, putting up 35 points in their quarterfinal victory last October.
“We’re not quite sure what happened last Friday night with that big score,” Julian added, “but we were expecting it to be a lot closer.
“We still think they’re a very veteran, solid football team. Maybe they just didn’t have things in order, but we expect them to be solid. They run a 3-5 defense that we don’t get to see very often. That’s a challenge for us because of the fact that we don’t work against it a whole lot. So our major emphasis has been how to attack that particular defense when they can bring a lot of pressure from different spots.”
The Trojans offensive attack is similar to what Laramie brought last week in Sheridan’s 27-7 win on the road, and in a lot of ways it is like what Sheridan runs.
Senior Daniel Sessions was a force on the ground in Laramie, taking his 17 carries for 133 yards and two scores. Sheridan had five others register in the box score with carries on the ground as the Broncs surpassed 400 total yards on offense (283 rush/155 pass).
It was a ho-hum day for the defense. While Sheridan didn’t force a turnover they kept Laramie in check all night. Holding the Plainsmen under 200 total yards — even working in young talent in their secondary — Sheridan didn’t give up any big plays. One long third-quarter passing score for the Plainsmen came on a broken play and was called back after a holding penalty.
“For our defense we’re just really focusing on improving our technique from last week,” Julian said. “There was a lot of good things that happened (last week). The turnovers and penalties were the two biggest concerns, we’ll clean that up. There were a few things with special teams, but it was all correctable stuff.
“We ran the ball well, we threw the ball well, offensively and defensely we were truly solid for the first game out.”
While their focus this week has been on blocking the Trojans unique 3-5 defensive front, Julian admitted that with a 21-0 lead at half last Friday in Laramie, they were able to pack it in early offensively, saying “it will be a bigger playbook this week for sure.”
Kickoff Friday is set for 7 p.m. at Homer Scott Field.