SHERIDAN — The initial disappointment from Saturday’s coin flip didn’t linger very long for the Sheridan Broncs.
After finishing in a three-way tie with Gillette and Cheyenne East, Don Julian’s Broncs were on the wrong end of a coin-toss tiebreaker, bumping them to the 4-seed in the 4A playoffs and forcing a rematch with Cheyenne Central in the opening round.
While Julian admits that it was disappointing to lose the coin toss and the chance to host two playoff games instead of one, he says the real disappointment comes from the last-minute loss to Gillette on Oct. 3. Had Sheridan not faltered in the final minutes of that game, a coin flip wouldn’t have mattered.
Now, not only does the 4-seed mean a battle with Central Friday, it means a potential semifinal battle with top-ranked Natrona on the same field where the Broncs suffered a 24-0 loss just two weeks ago.
Julian says the potential rematch can definitely be used as a motivating factor, but he also knows that there’s work to be done before that could even happen.
Sheridan put a beating on Cheyenne Central earlier this month, a 44-7 victory on homecoming night. After that game, the Central Indians were on the outside looking in, as far as the playoffs go, but two straight wins to finish the season bumped the Indians all the way to the 5-seed and on a trip back to Scott Field. Julian expects a different team from the one they beat just three weeks ago.
In the first matchup, it was the Sheridan special teams that shifted the momentum in the way of the Broncs. An opening kickoff return touchdown and a big blocked field goal were the plays of the game, and Julian says special teams was an important focus in practice this week.
“We anticipate (Central) has made adjustments on special teams, so we’ve made adjustments as well based on what we think they’re going to do,” Julian said.
But the Sheridan special teams was indeed special in that early October matchup, so if they can’t put up similar stats, it’ll be up to the offense and defense to take care of business.
“If we can’t make those big plays on special teams, if goes right back to taking care of the ball and sustaining drives,” Julian said of the offensive game plan.
Defensively, the coach said it’s important to stop the run just as they did against Central the first time. The Sheridan defense held Central to a measly 16 yards on 33 carries, forcing the Indians to throw the ball 35 times for only 177 yards and two interceptions.
As a Wyoming High School Athletic Association event, SHS passes will not work for admission to the game. There will also be a costume contest for high school students attending the game, and cheerleaders will be handing out candy to anyone that wants to do their trick-or-treating at the stadium.
Kickoff for the Broncs’ opening-round game is Friday at 6 p.m. at Homer Scott Field.