Broncs battle Blazers in playoff semi-finals tonight

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Jackson Broncs look to keep their improbable run alive with a road game against the Torrington Trailblazers for the right to play in the state championship.

When the season began with a loss on the road to the Teton Redskins, who wasn’t thinking: “Here we go again?” After a winless 2017 season, Broncs backers braced themselves for another trying year.

But head coach Dave Joyce knew he had something special with this group, even if they were a year ahead of schedule in the rebuild. Stacked with promising juniors, Joyce was hoping the upperclassmen could lead the way this year before truly coming into their own in 2019 when they would be seniors.

Joyce’s hopes have turned reality. The Broncs ripped off five straight wins after that season-opening loss. After a ‘speed bump’ defeat at the hands of Star Valley, the Broncs have registered three more straight wins for an 8-2 record, overall.

But can they handle Torrington (9-0), the top seed in the 3A East? No one has been able to beat the Blazers this year. Led by a suffocating defense, Torrington has been unstoppable as they look to get back to a shot at the state title that eluded them last year when they lost to Cody.

“They have a good running back. They play good run defense. We are going to have to stop their running back and be able to run the ball,” Joyce said.

Torrington’s offense is led by RB Bryan Lemmon. Last week against Evanston, Lemmon rushed for 190 yards on 21 attempts while catching three passes for 50 yards. The Broncs have to contain him while respecting a pretty good passing game as well.

But, as it has all year, it will all come down to Jackson’s ability to run the ball. Torrington knows they’ll see a good dose of Bronc back Jeydon Cox. Joyce is not about to change horses midseason.

“To don’t cop out to another team. You play your game. If you start dancing with the other team you are going to lose about every game,” Joyce said. “We’ll execute our game, throw in spots.”

Joyce said he’s not particularly worried about taking his team on the road. The team has played well away from William T. McIntosh Stadium.

“I feel like our kids play more relaxed on the road. They have all year long, really. They maybe are pressing a bit at home for the crowd. We are a little more dialed in on the road,” Joyce said.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm at Wiseman Field in Torrington. Weather is expected to be a perfect 57 degrees at kickoff under cloudy skies.

The game is being carried livestream by the NFHS Network.

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