SHERIDAN — The Sheridan High School football team is about to enter the most cushy portion of its schedule. That starts with the Broncs traveling to 1-4 Cheyenne South Friday in what, on paper, looks like a mismatch.
The challenge for Sheridan head coach Jeff Mowry is keeping his team focused on the task at hand. The last three weeks have seen the Broncs battle Natrona County, Thunder Basin and Kelly Walsh, which have a combined record of 11-4.
“It’s easy to practice hard and easy to get prepared for Natrona, Thunder Basin and then Kelly Walsh,” Mowry said.
“What’s a challenge is when you’re going into a game that, on paper, you should probably win and keeping those kids ready to go and on point and not getting complacent.
“We talked a lot about that on Monday in the team meeting,” Mowry said. “What’s the challenge here? Well, we have to be accountable to ourselves and accountable that we are going to continue to improve even though we may not be facing Natrona County every Friday night. So we’ve got to really treat it as a faceless opponent and just have to worry about ourselves and improve within our own team.”
The Broncs halted their two-game skid last week in Casper, throttling Kelly Walsh 30-3 to improve to 3-2 on the season. Sheridan got back to its roots, running the ball effectively while working in elements of the pass game.
But the sizable victory masked the Broncs’ inability to turn red zone possessions into touchdowns. Sheridan’s Toby Jacobs booted through three short field goals, and while that’s a good sign in and of itself, it’s not the ideal way for the Broncs to end drives.
“We were happy, but we’ll never get complacent,” Sheridan wide receiver Ryan Sessions said. “We are just going to keep working each day on improving our craft.”
The Broncs have surpassed the midway point of the season. The first half saw Sheridan’s 20-game win streak come to an end and the back-to-back losses humbled the Broncs.
Many young players have grown into the system, and Mowry has enjoyed watching his inexperienced offensive line mature each week.
The front five have improved significantly, with room to still grow, and Sheridan’s three-headed rushing attack, led by Parker Christensen, has taken pressure off of those young lineman.
“When each of those three runs, it’s not one guy bringing them down,” Mowry said. “So if we do get four of five blocks on the offensive line, we still got a shot to have a nice gain. We don’t need five out of five power driving. We just need an opportunity, with those three back there, and it’s really good to see Parker and Garrett (Coon) and Quinn (Heyneman) just break tackles and make things happen, so getting the ball to them is always a good thing.”
Mowry also likes how quarterback Jacob Boint has operated the offense. While the first-year starter has made some mistakes, Mowry understands those are typical for an inexperienced quarterback.
“It has just been some inconsistencies, so far, and that’s to be expected from a young quarterback,” Mowry said. “But, now, he’s going into his junior season, so no longer can we call him a young quarterback. Now, he’s got five games of varsity experience, and so it’s time to start seeing him be more consistent and making reads and delivering the ball on time.”
The Bison took their lumps through the first four weeks of the season as opponents outscored South 204-36. The Bison found some traction last week, earning their first victory of the season, a 14-6 win over Rock Springs.
South hasn’t beaten Sheridan in its seven-year history. The Broncs have outscored the Bison 379-80 and have never scored less than 47 points in a game.
Recent history alone would make it easy for Sheridan to look past South, but Mowry and the players are doing everything they can to avoid a letdown come Friday.