JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — It’s homecoming week, culminating in tonight’s showdown between the Jackson Broncs and the Green River Wolves.
Jackson (3-2) comes into the game still licking wounds from last week’s heartbreaking loss to Cody in the game’s waning seconds. For not the first time this season, the team did not come ready to play at opening kickoff. Similarly, Jackson’s sluggish start against Bear Lake also cost them.
The Broncs need to execute their explosive offense cleaner and with more precision. Too often they’ve been their own worst enemy—missing open receivers, committing turnovers and penalties and otherwise stalling promising drives by making defenses look better than they are.
Head coach David Joyce might also want to work on ways to generate offense when the running game isn’t there, especially early. Opponents are beginning to key on Jeydon Cox, putting eight men in the box and stuffing the run. Cox had precious little room to operate last week against Cody.
And the option keep for Sadler Smith wasn’t there all night. Play-action pass is the one play available for the Broncs but the offensive line has to give the sophomore quarterback more time. Too often, Smith is flushed from the pocket before he can make his reads.
Finding ways to get the ball into the hands of Kirby Castagno and Peter Goettler—both physical runners—has been an effective way of keeping Cox fresh and throwing off defenses keying on #26.
Quick flareouts to wide receivers might be an option as corners are usually giving Jackson’s wideouts plenty of cushion since often there is little to no safety help over the top as opponents use them to help stuff the run. Screens, draw plays, and other methods of slowing the pass rush need to be explored as Jackson faces teams with bigger defensive lineman.
Green River comes into tonight’s game with a 1-3 record overall, but that’s deceiving. All three Wolves’ losses have come against teams with winning records—Lander (4-1), Rawlins (3-1), and Star Valley (4-0)—and every game has been close. Though they could not score, Green River held the mighty Braves to 22 total points last week.
Green River rotates two quarterbacks—senior Korbin Serrano and junior Jachob Fuss. Their rushing game includes two shifty runners in Tayler Jensen and Gabe Burdette. And the Wolves’ defense has been very good so far this season. Much like Cody, they make you earn every yard and will come up with the occasional takeaway as well.
It will be a big test for Jackson to see how the team responds after a tough loss. The Broncs need to win winnable games against the likes of Green River and upcoming Evanston, because the schedule only gets tougher with Star Valley and a very good Powell team coming to town to end the season.
Tonight’s kickoff at 6 pm. Live play-by-play coverage on KZ95 (95.3FM, KZ95.live).
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