SHERIDAN — The 2018 edition of the Sheridan High School football team had to tackle something that no Bronc team had to in more than a decade — a coaching change. Don Julian, who coached Sheridan to five state titles, left the program to offensive coordinator Jeff Mowry.
The Broncs have started the new coaching era off at 5-2 with still a couple crucial regular-season games left before playoffs. And while Mowry surely feels less nervous each and every time he dons his new headgear and strolls up and down the sidelines, he still feels there’s plenty more to learn.
“It’s still a new role for me, but I definitely feel more comfortable,” Mowry said. “I really enjoy doing my positional coaching and working with the offense and positional coaching on defense, but it’s a little bit different stepping back and looking at the whole program as a whole. I still have got to remember to see every part of the game rather than just my positions that I specifically work with.”
This past offseason, Mowry became the 24th head coach at Sheridan. His five wins thus far match what Julian won in his inaugural year of 2007. George Douglas in 1971 marks the last coach to win more than five game in his first season with the Broncs, and the combined record of first-year head coaches at Sheridan since that time is 18-36.
A good deal of credit for Mowry’s early success surely goes to Julian, who won at least eight games in every season but his first. And while Mowry has tweaked things here and there within the program, many of the core concepts the team had under Julian have remained the same.
“I think (Mowry) has done a fantastic job,” Sheridan quarterback Jacob Boint said. “We still have some of the same framework that coach (Julian) built because of coach Mowry being in the system under coach (Julian). Obviously, it was pretty successful. I feel like (Mowry) has done a really nice job of implementing his own things into some of our practices, and how we go about our business, and I think he’s done a really good job this first season.”
The coaching staff has also helped Mowry transition into his new role. All of the assistants stayed on during the change at the top and that has helped along the winning tradition for the state’s smallest 4A school.
“Working with the staff I have makes it an easy transition,” Mowry said. “If I am forgetting about something, they’re there just to remind me. It’s a great crew of guys, and I wouldn’t want to do with anybody else.”
The returning players — many of whom are adjusting to new positions, more playing time — while they were sad to see Julian go, have embraced the change, and look forward to what lies ahead this season and in the years to come for Sheridan football during the Mowry era.
“Mowry’s very intelligent football wise,” Sheridan running back Parker Christensen said. “He’s always involved with us, and he’s always checking in on us regardless of if it’s in football or not. And the guys have really bought in to what’s he bringing to the table. He’s doing a great job.”