SHERIDAN — In a single play, a football team can capture the momentum and use it as fuel to create an upset.
This is what Big Horn High School football, 2-0, is looking to avoid Friday night when they take on Wright High School, 1-1, for the first conference game for the Rams.
Wright is coming off a big 25-7 victory against Pine Bluffs, the first time Wright has defeated Pine Bluffs in a few years, Rams head coach Kirk McLaughlin said. This gives Wright momentum heading into the game this week.
Wright has a talented quarterback in Dax Yeradi, who also leads the team in rushing with 264 yards through the— first two games.
Wright will try to run the ball right at Big Horn, McLaughlin said, with a combination of simple runs and an option run game. Wright also has good size along the line that will help with the run game. When defending the option, the Big Horn defense will need to follow its game plan.
“You have to remain disciplined,” McLaughlin said. “You can’t try to be a hero, you have to just do your job. If you are responsible for the dive, you have to go get the dive. If you are responsible for the quarterback, you have to go get the quarterback. Just solely focus on your job and be disciplined.”
The Rams need to make sure they do not get sucked into the run game and forget about the pass, McLaughlin said, especially since Wright has the ability to pass the ball around and sneak past teams, leading to big plays.
The Rams defense is coming off a great performance against Greybull, forcing six turnovers and allowing zero points.
“I love those shutouts,” McLaughlin said. “I thought the defense played lights last week. Varsity did a good job and JV came in and played really well themselves. We are facing a different scheme this week and our discipline needs to be at an all-time high to get another shutout. I think our guys will step up to the challenge and do well.”
The Rams need to prevent Wright from building any momentum. McLaughlin said when watching film, once Wright built some momentum, its emotion and energy escalated, allowing them to play well.
“If we can get them down early and get them out of some of the things they would like to do, it puts us in a better position to be successful,” McLaughlin said.
Winning the special teams battle will be important for the Rams. McLaughlin said the Rams allowed too many yards on kickoff and will need to force Wright to start deeper in their own territory. Big Horn returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown last week, boosting the Rams early in the game.
“Anytime you can take a kickoff or a punt back for a touchdown, that is deflating for a team,” McLaughlin said. “It really hits the emotions pretty hard and just gives you momentum on the next series. Teams can fold on a big special teams play.”
To find success, the Rams need to ensure preparation during the week is done well.
“It has been an off week, I will just be straightforward,” McLaughlin said. “Last night (Sept. 27) with the storm that came through really changed practice and tonight we were not firing on all cylinders. We will have to dial it in.”
Big Horn has one more day to practice to tighten up its game plan before taking on Wright Friday at 7 p.m.