SHERIDAN — The 1978 classic movie “Halloween” popularized the saying, “It’s Halloween, everyone deserves one good scare.” Well, Rock Springs didn’t put one scare into the Sheridan High School football team at Homer Scott Field Friday night.
The No. 3-seeded Broncs scored a stress-free 41-8 victory over the No. 6-seeded Tigers in a state playoff quarterfinal matchup. Sheridan will travel and play No. 2-seeded Thunder Basin Friday in the semifinals.
“We took this game super personally,” Sheridan’s Quinn Heyneman said. “We opened our season in Rock Springs against this team, so it’s kind of fitting to open playoffs against them. And it was a big statement, especially coming out and firing off.”
That season opener featured a scoreless first half from both sides. And while Rock Springs still couldn’t find the end zone in the first half Friday, the Broncs did quite a bit.
Sheridan tallied five first-quarter touchdowns, and Parker Christensen recorded the first four of those. He scored from three yards, 10 yards, five yards and 18 yards.
“That dude is a freak,” Heyneman said. “It’s super, super helpful being able to have to block for guy who’s that big and fast and strong. It makes my job easy. It makes my life easy. … It’s kind of crazy that he’s that good, and that’s the reason he’s going where’s he going.”
Heyneman scored the last of the first-frame touchdowns, plunging in from three yards away with four seconds on the clock. That capped a perfect opening quarter; however, the Broncs weren’t able to sustain that momentum into the second period.
“Our kids came out and played and a really, really solid first quarter, and then we kind of got flat,” Sheridan head coach Jeff Mowry said. “You even heard it in the atmosphere. It got real quiet and it kind of got boring, to be honest with you.”
Mowry inserted several second-team defenders as early as the second quarter because of injuries. Starting safety Ryan Sessions didn’t play due to a knee injury and linebacker Garrett Coon participated on a limited basis with a sprained ankle.
That allowed Mowry to insert many youngsters into a playoff atmosphere. Izak Aksamit took full advantage, putting a bow on the game with a 30-yard touchdown run.
Christensen, who didn’t log many carries after the opening-quarter barrage, ended the game with 98 yards on 12 rushes. Quarterback Jacob Boint went 9-for-18 for 108 yards.
Sheridan finished with 305 total yards to Rock Springs’ 209. The Tigers didn’t have any semblance of offensive balance, throwing for just 10 yards.
Ironically, Rock Springs — which entered the game not very efficient through the air — came out and thew five straight passes, and that made the Sheridan coaching staff very happy.
“We started telling our kids last week that if we make this team throw the ball, we are in a good situation,” Mowry said. “So once we saw that, our kids had confidence.”
Three first-quarter turnovers didn’t help Rock Springs’ case either.
Thunder Basin downed No. 7-seeded Cheyenne Central 34-0 in the quarterfinals Friday. The Bolts toppled the Broncs 23-13 Sept. 14 in Sheridan. That marked the last time the Broncs, who were without leading-rusher Parker Christensen, lost as Sheridan is currently riding a six-game winning streak.
Chalk held elsewhere in 4A as No. 1-seeded Natrona County toppled Kelly Walsh 35-7, and No. 4-seeded Cheyenne East beat No. 5-seeded Laramie 37-21.
Rock Springs 0 0 0 8 — 8
Sheridan 34 0 0 7 — 41