LARAMIE – Possessions were going to be at a premium in Saturday evening’s Class 4A state football championship game.
Sheridan knew if it was forced to punt, or turned the ball over on downs it may not see the ball again for a long time. That’s why the Broncs did their best to keep the ball and the clock moving.
The strategy worked during a 45-27 victory over Rock Springs at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
“One of our best defenses is not being on defense,” said Broncs’ junior running back Colson Coon, who rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns. “We were able to control the game that way, keep driving and keep scoring touchdowns. That worked great.”
Sheridan (11-1) took the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown after Dom Kaszas handed the ball to Carter McComb on a reverse.
The Tigers (10-2) followed with a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive that took more than 7 minutes off the clock. Senior quarterback Brock Bider pushed his way in from a yard out to knot the score 7-7.
The Broncs answered with a nearly 5-minute possession that ended in a 39-yard field goal off the foot of Michael Greer for a 10-7 lead. Sheridan forced a punt on Rock Springs’ next possession and then grabbed a 17-7 lead with a 14-play, 90-yard drive that took 7:18 off the clock.
“We scored points and that made them throw the ball,” Broncs coach Jeff Mowry said. “We kept our offense on the field, continued to march and score points.
“When you do that and score on an opening kickoff, the other team has to do something. They had to throw, but our defense battled hard until the clock ran out.”
Sheridan used its next possession to put itself firmly in the driver’s seat by doing what it does best: Strike quickly. The Broncs went 77 yards on six plays over a mere 39 seconds to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room.
That drive included a 40-yard run by Coon and a 29-yard reception from Dom Kaszas.
The Broncs also scored on their first drive of the second half when Coon took a handoff in the middle of the field and bounced to the left sideline for a 59-yard score and a 31-7 lead.
Sheridan rolled up 417 total yards, including 343 on the ground. It did not punt once.
“We focus every week on all 11 guys doing their jobs,” McComb said. “That was a big focus this week. Everyone trusts each other and we know all 11 guys are doing their job and have each other’s backs.”
Rock Springs gained 403 yards, but 271 of that came through the air. The Tigers’ passing total was their highest of the season, while their 132 yards on the ground was their lowest output since losing at Sheridan on Sept. 17.
Rock Springs had just 134 yards through the first three quarters.
The win was especially sweet because of the injuries Sheridan battled and the uncertainty it faced when the season started, Mowry said.
“I wasn’t sure where we’d go, but we had guys continually stepping up,” the coach said.
SHERIDAN 45, ROCK SPRINGS 27
Rock Springs…… 7 0 8 12 – 27
Sheridan…… 7 17 7 14 – 45
S: McComb 88 kickoff return (Greer kick), 11:47.
RS: Bider 1 run (Hyatt kick),
S: Greer 39 field goal, 11:55.
S: Coon 2 run (Greer kick), 2:30.
S: Coon 4 run (Greer kick), 0:27.
S: Coon 59 run (Greer kick), 8:47.
RS: Bider 2 run (Skorcz run), 3:26.
S: Coon 1 run (Greer kick), 10:14.
RS: Schoenfeld 15 pass from Bider (Hyatt kick blocked), 8:39.
S: McComb 23 run (Greer kick), 5:36.
RS: Bider 1 run (Bider run failed), 2:18.
Rock Springs: Bider 12-53, Schoenfeld 6-34, Skorcz 2-18, Shaklee 4-11, S. Carlsen 1-11, Coburn 1-3, Eddy 2-2. Sheridan: C. Coon 26-230, Tanner 4-70, McComb 4-37, Askins 1-6, Kaszas 1-2, Team 2-(minus-2).
Rock Springs: Bider 27-36-0 265, T. Faigl 0-1-0 0, Schoenfeld 1-1-0 6. Sheridan: Askins 5-8-0 74.
Rock Springs: Schoenfeld 11-134, Skorcz 7-73, Coburn 6-45, S. Carlsen 1-8, Eddy 1-6, T. Faigl 1-3, Shaklee 1-2. Sheridan: Ketner 2-31, Kaszas 1-29, C. Coon 1-10, Greer 1-4.
Tackles (solo-assists-total): Skorcz 6-1-7, T. Faigl 5-0-5, Shaklee 4-1-5, Bournazian 3-2-5, Eddy 2-3-5, Schoenfeld 4-0-4, S. Carlsen 2-1-3, McBurnett 1-2-3, Hyatt 1-1-2, C. Carlsen 1-0-1, Thomas 1-0-1, Carrier 1-0-1, Marier 1-0-1. Tackles for loss: Shaklee 1-1, Bournazian 1-2, C. Carlsen 1-2. Forced fumbles: Schoenfeld 1. Fumble recoveries: Schoefeld 1-0. Pass breakups: Carrier 1.
Tackles (solo-assists-total): Greer 5-3-8, McComb 4-2-6, Dunham 4-2-6, Larson 1-5-6, C. Coon 5-0-5, D. Steel 4-1-5, Ketner 3-2-5, Hall 2-2-4, Eckland 1-3-4, Tanner 2-1-3, Kaszas 2-1-3, Baker 1-2-3, Dunn 2-0-2, Strobbe 1-1-2, Askins 1-0-1, Kirschner 1-0-1, Tomlinson 0-1-1. Tackles for loss: Larson ½-0, Dunn 2-3, Kirschner 1-1, Tomlinson ½-1. Forced fumbles: C. Coon 1. Fumble recoveries: Dunn 1-0. Pass breakups: Eckland 1. Blocked kicks: Ketner 1.