SHERIDAN — No rest for the weary.
Dedication in the spring and summer months from the Sheridan High School football team under head coach Don Julian may be one of the many secrets behind what’s been a football powerhouse return to Northeast Wyoming.
Julian operates with a next-level mindset, and that “if you’re not first, you’re last” dedication has turned into two state championships and four state semifinal appearances under his reign.
After finally clearing those pesky spring athletes and soccer players off Homer Scott Field last week, the Broncs got their fifth OTA under their belt last night through the blustery rainstorms that could have been mistaken for football fall weather.
“I really feel like our summer camp that we go to is one of the biggest things that we do in our offseason program,” Julian said.
The Wyoming High School Athletic Association requires teams to get in practices before attending a contact camp. Sheridan heads to Chadron State next week, June 5-8, for their annual early summer team camp.
“We learn a lot about our team, and it helps us try out some new ideas for the strengths that we think we’re going to have,” he added. “We make subtle changes and try them in a competitive situation.”
With 92 days until Sheridan opens on the road Aug. 30 against the Laramie Plainsmen, the process of becoming the 2013 Sheridan Broncs football team begins with forming team unity.
“It’s the first time the incoming seniors are truly in charge of everything,” Julian said. “There’s very little distraction because they’re away from home so we’re able to do some team building.”
Incoming freshmen make their first appearances, and in all 73 kids will make the trip to Chadron. Last year 30 freshmen went and 25 will go this year — something Julian said is key in the program’s future development and success.
This fall’s sophomores are with the Broncs now, a freshman team that was undefeated in fall 2012 joins the Broncs who finished 8-3, falling in the state semis to Gillette, just short of a second straight championship game appearance after the most recent SHS state title win in 2011. For the upperclassmen, the session serves as an introduction to their new, more prominent roles and even starting spots in the year to come.
After next week the Broncs hit the weights for the summer until a late summer camp in July that culminates in a few high school teams visiting Sheridan for scrimmages before August’s practice gets underway.
While August and football season may seem like a long way off, Julian believes early preparation is key for both players and coaches as they begin to see where last year’s underclassmen fit into new positions.
“For four days we focus on basically nothing but our football team — building climate, atmosphere, relationships that go along with the X’s and O’s involved, it’s really been a great thing for our program,” he said.