SHERIDAN — Big Horn High School football is one win away from returning to War Memorial Stadium in Laramie to have a chance to defend their title. The Rams have one opponent standing in their way, Southeast High School.
Head coach Kirk McLaughlin said the Rams have all of their chips on the table and are focused on Friday night at 5 p.m. Anything after Friday night does not matter, as the Rams need to take care of the team in front of them.
The Rams recently beat Southeast in the final week of the regular season 49-7. The game was played at Southeast.
Even though the Rams won, it was a game McLaughlin and the players felt they could have played better. Senior Nolan Rader said the Rams could improve on their fundamentals and control of the line of scrimmage.
Senior Quinn McCafferty said the Rams could improve the execution of their plays and always look to improve each week.
McLaughlin said Southeast is probably thinking they did not have the best performance against Big Horn. The Rams need to expect a well prepared Southeast team. Southeast is the underdog and has nothing to lose. McLaughlin expects new schemes and everything to be thrown at the Rams.
Southeast has a good coach leading them in Mark Burlington, McLaughlin said. Burlington has eight state titles of his own and knows how to prepare a football team for big games.
“We know that they are going to be a different team this time around,” said Senior Will Pelissier. “The coaches have preached to us all week that it is a semifinal game. Southeast has not been to a semifinal game in a while and they are going to be rearing back and ready to go once game time rolls around. We just need to execute and do our jobs and we should be fine. We know they will be ready to go as well.”
Pelissier said the focus and preparation for the Rams has been doubled this week with every player on the team spending twice as much time studying the playbook and watching film.
McLaughlin said the Rams have remained positive and focused throughout the entire season. Some teams get tired and worn down during a long season like this or let bad weather sour the mood during practices. The Rams enter each practice with enthusiasm even if the field is covered in snow.
“I like it when it is cold out,” Pelissier said. “I would rather it be 20 degrees out than 100 degrees out.”
Rader said the snow provides a different playing atmosphere and the players are simply enjoying the time they have at practice and still being able to play football.
McCafferty said there are not many teams playing right now and the Rams are taking advantage of every chance they have to play football.
The fun is not restricted to the football field, as the playoffs bring mustaches sported by the coaches and special haircuts worn by the players.
The coach with the best mustache so far is Andrew Marcure and a close second is Colter Brantz, McLaughlin said. He is not going to give Kaden Haun any credit for his since he is a rookie coach. McLaughlin said he needs to trim his own beard down and get with the program.
Rader said his favorite haircuts this year have been the ones given to the Morris Brothers, Bryce and Conner. Bryce had the side of his head shaved leaving a crude mullet in its place. Players will meet in a teammate’s garage or barn to give each other a postseason haircut.
McLaughlin said he expects mohawks and mullets each year but the new trend is perms, a trend he hopes does not continue after the season.
Pelissier said the haircuts have been going on his entire high school career.
He remembers joining in on the fun as a freshman, with a little help from friendly peer pressure.
McCafferty said the haircuts are a way for the team to get together and spend quality time outside of practice or school.
The Rams will take the field with mullets, mohawks and mustaches Friday and hope to once again qualify for state.