Big test tonight for the Broncs as they face undefeated Cody

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Tonight’s the night the Jackson Broncs will see what they’re made of. The varsity football will battle Yellowstone traffic, weather, and then their mascot counterparts—the Cody Broncs—on their way to a journey the team hopes can take them to a state title.

Jackson brings with them three wins—victories over a legit Teton team and two creampuffs in Pinedale and Worland—and one loss against Bear Lake they’d like to forget about. Cody stands at 3-0 and, outside of the Braves of Star Valley who seem to stand in a perennial league of their own, are probably the best team in the 3A West this season. Powell will have something to say about that but Cody is deep, especially at running back.

The Cody Broncs ate up over 400 yards on the ground last week at homecoming against Rawlins, using a variety of backs but mostly senior Matt Sandoval and sophomore Chaz Cowie. Quarterback Hunter Hays is also a threat to run or throw, playing his second full year as a starter. The defense is average.

For Jackson, they need to clean up mistakes. Head coach David Joyce tells the young men that over and over. They have what it takes to beat anybody. A rising star with a golden arm in quarterback Sadler Smith. The pride of the league in tailback Jeydon Cox who will go around you, through you, and never seems to be brought down by first contact. They have weapons on the outside in Peter Goettler, Evan Brunner, and Nate Keipert.

The Broncs simply need to execute—without the penalties, without the turnovers. Play a clean game and you’ll win every time with these horses. Jackson left points on the table in last week’s rout of Worland. A pick and a fumble in the end zone could have been 14 more points in their 48-7 romp.

When this offense gets humming, it’s tough to stop. But the defense is what has Joyce jazzed these days. Jackson has gotten progressively better in tackling, pursuit to the ball, pass coverage, getting off blocks, and recognizing plays. The final exam tonight? Trickery.

Cody loves to run misdirection—start a running play one way and come back to the other. This year’s version of the C-Broncs don’t blow opponents off the ball at the line as in year’s past. They aren’t that big. But they use deception to spring loose a host of very good backs.

“They run a lot of lot of fly sweep motion to disguise who’s getting the ball. They’re pretty good at deceiving the eyes,” Joyce says. “We need to do a good job of maintaining discipline so we ‘run fit’ to the appropriate gaps.”

In other words, Broncs defenders need to trust each other, stay at home with their defensive assignments, even when it might look like the play is going away from them.

Cody is coming off three straight wins to start the season. They pounded Riverton in their opener and beat up on Rawlins last weekend 47-20. In similar opponents, Cody and Jackson have both beat Worland. The Broncs crushed the Warriors last weekend. Cody beat Worland on the road in Week 2 by a 28-14 score.

Cody also comes into the game a bit banged up. Running back Nic Talich was hurt in the opener and is likely unavailable. Senior RB/SS Charlie Beaudrie is also out with a high ankle sprain. They join Paul Lovera and Hayden Bronnenberg who are likely lost for the season.

Kickoff is set for 6 pm at Spike Vannoy Field in Cosy. Live coverage of the game will be available on KZ95 (95.3FM and KZ95.live on the Internet).

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