SHERIDAN — The Sheridan High School football team suffered its first loss in 707 days Friday night, and it came against a familiar foe. The top-ranked Broncs were downed by second-ranked Natrona County 34-7 in Casper.
Miscues throughout the game and a struggling offense plagued Sheridan. Head coach Jeff Mowry complimented the Mustangs, who Sheridan has defeated in the last two 4A state championship games.
“That’s a very, very good football team,” Mowry said. “That’s the standard out there. If we want to go achieve what we can achieve, then we’ve got to go meet that standard.”
Dante Wallace got things started for Natrona County. He scored two short rushing touchdowns, one in the first and second quarter to put the Mustangs on top 14-0.
The Broncs responded in the end of the first half, as Jacob Boint found Ryan Sessions for a 25-yard touchdown with 39 seconds remaining in the second quarter to make it 14-7 at halftime.
Wallace scored again from four yards out midway through the third quarter to make it 20-7. A few minutes later, the Broncs mishandled a punt snap and set the Mustangs up with excellent field position. Natrona County took advantage, scoring on a 14-yard touchdown pass. The Mustangs tacked on another score for good measure with 17 seconds left in the third quarter, and Sheridan couldn’t muster any sort of comeback.
Mowry said the team’s errors cost them.
“We just kept on making those mistakes,” Mowry said. “We got away with it in the first half to keep it close and we just couldn’t do it in the second half.”
Mowry said the team’s overall goals are still attainable after the early blowout loss, but the team must respond better when it is challenged.
Mowry also said the coaching staff needs to prepare the team better going forward.
The loss is a rarity for the Sheridan program, but Mowry believes the team can learn lessons from it.
“It’s a different feeling for us, absolutely, but losses can make you become a lot better,” Mowry said. “I don’t think anybody gets better unless they see some adversity … It’s an opportunity for a lot of growth. We’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Sheridan is now 2-1 on the season and faces another tough test next Friday, hosting undefeated Thunder Basin.