JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Jackson Broncs didn’t resemble much the team that won its opener as they blundered the way to a 13-7 loss at the hands of Bear Lake last Friday.
As sharp as the Broncs offense looked a week ago, it sputtered and stuttered and never developed a rhythm all night against the Bears. Penalties and turnovers halted promising drives—and did in more than a couple of their opponent’s marches to pay dirt as well—as Jackson could not sustain momentum on offense.
The Bears stunned Jackson with two short TD passes in the first quarter staking them to a 13-0 lead. That would be all they needed and all they got.
A promising Broncs drive to answer was cut short after a fumble with 5:31 remaining in the first. They Black-and-Orange even managed to fumble their way into the end zone just before the end of the half when Jaydon Cox didn’t get the ball secured after a Sadler Smith handoff but Smith found the loose ball and dove in for the score.
That was all the scoring for either team in the game as the Broncs continued to cough off the ball or stall their drives on penalties. The Bears moved the ball between the 20s with little resistance but the Bronc defense came up big when they had to—on key third downs and with their backs to the goal line.
Misdirection running plays did not fool the Broncs defense. They were susceptible to the pass, however, as Bear Lake’s massive offensive line was able to give 6’5” junior Owen Teuscher plenty of time to find open receivers.
The Broncs bent but didn’t break thanks to interceptions from Peter Goettler and Jaydon Cox, and a pair of goal line stands in the third and fourth quarters.
In the end, it was a goal line stand by the Bears with under a minute to play that sunk Jackson’s last chance of getting the tying touchdown. After a big pass play—Smith to Goettler—put the ball on Bear Lake’s 5-yardline first and goal with 2:37 to play in the game, Jackson had four plays to punch it in.
They never did.
Smith botched the snap on the first play. A direct snap to Cox picked up 4 to the 1-yardline on second down. Then head coach David Joyce was granted a timeout he never wanted by the side judge. Joyce was trying to get the attention of the official but he mistook it for a timeout call. Joyce was livid and the break seemed to derail any sense of rhythm for the offense.
A false start on the next play backed the Broncs up to the 6. Cox was stuffed inside the 5 and before the Broncs knew it they were facing a do-or die, fourth and goal with 39.5 seconds left to play. Smith looked to make a pass to his left. Nothing was there so he tucked the ball and ran for the right pylon. The Bears defense pursued well and knocked him out of bounds just short of the goal line.
Credit Bear Lake. They didn’t appear to wear down despite playing most of their starters on both sides of the ball. Coach Ryan Messerly also made wise use of his timeouts, calling them on defense in order to disrupt Jackson’s offensive flow and give his guys a blow when needed.
The Broncs are 1-1 on the season. Both games this year have been nonconference games. Jackson travels this Friday to Pinedale for the third and final nonconference tune-up of the season. The Wranglers are 0-2. They lost to Lyman last week, 20-12; and to Lander Valley the previous week to Lander Valley, 38-12.
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