SHERIDAN — The Tongue River Eagles football team beat the Sheridan Broncs junior varsity team 29-7 in their matchup Saturday.
Tongue River head coach Steve Hanson and senior Kyle Breen said the Eagles were happy to have a win after a season of injuries and a string of recent losses.
“Feels good; we haven’t had a win in a couple weeks but it feels good,” Breen said. “It’s just great to have another one.”
Senior running backs Breen and Gabe Frederick, who had just returned this week from injury, led the Eagles offensively with two touchdowns each. Breen and Frederick ran for 124 and 115 respectively yards and each had 40 receiving yards. Senior quarterback Braden McCafferty was eight for 11 on passes with 125 yards and a touchdown pass.
The Eagles first scored off a 38-yard run off the right tackle by Frederick. Later, Breen ran around the left end and broke free for a 70-yard touchdown.
Sheridan High School gained its only points of the game when they recovered an Eagles fumble in the end zone on a punt return for a touchdown.
Near the end of the half, Frederick caught a 40-yard seam route for his second touchdown of the game, bringing the score to 21-7, where it remained until late in the fourth quarter.
Hanson said Sheridan did a great job defending against inside runs early in the game but the Eagles were able to take advantage of the dynamic by shifting toward an emphasis on outside runs later.
“As simple as we can be, we’re still multidimensional and I thought we did a nice job of grinding the ball inside that opened up the plays late, you know the outside plays for Kyle Breen and Gabe Frederick,” Hanson said.
Both teams were scoreless through the third quarter. In the fourth, the Eagles chased down sophomore quarterback Carl Askins in the backfield forcing a pass under pressure that was tipped by the Sheridan receiver and intercepted by Tongue River’s Cashe Van Tassel at the 10-yard line.
The Eagles then marched down the field with first-down runs by Breen and a catch by senior Justice Rees for a gain of 18. Van Tassel left the game with an injured knee after being tackled on a third down by a group of Sheridan defenders.
Breen continued to pick up yards and scored on a wide run left from 10 yards out. Frederick ran in the 2-point conversion, bringing the final score to 29-7.
Both teams’ coaches said they were happy with the performance of their younger players.
Sheridan head coach DJ Dearcorn singled out Ezra Eckland and Jim Strobbe for their defensive work and said Askins threw the ball well and Michael Greer ran well.
“Lot of good effort from a lot of kids that stepped up and played some different positions today, overcame some adversity and grew a little bit,” Dearcorn said.
With fullbacks Tony Perfetti and Van Tassel both leaving the game with injuries, Hanson praised freshman Tavis Aksamit for stepping up and performing well.
“(He) came in and did a really, really nice job executing the scheme for a kid who barely turned 14 a couple weeks ago,” Hanson said. “He’s the type of kid that we’re really excited about, largely because he’s a football kid, he’s got great instincts, he’s a tough little guy, he’s got time to grow and we’ve got a lot of young guys like that.”
Hanson also praised Nate Guimond, also just returning from injury, and Jason Knobloch for their strong defensive showings. Knobloch finished Saturday with three sacks and two tackles for loss.
“It was just nice to see that our defense handled a whole new scheme this week with some injuries and guys that are gonna be missing,” Tongue River defensive coordinator CJ Scholl said. “You know we’re starting to understand the game a little more, playing a little faster and when those things happen, that’s when you start to find success.”
Next week, Tongue River will face the Wright Panthers at home on Saturday, and Sheridan’s varsity will host Cheyenne East on Friday.
“Just trying to finish on a high note,” Breen said. “We measure success at the end of the season.”