Cody stuns Jackson in final seconds in battle of the Broncs

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Jackson lost a heartbreaker on the road against Cody last Friday. The visitors were never in the game until the second half, and then, for a brief moment, thought they had pulled off a shocker. But it was the other Broncs—Cody, in their homecoming game—who ended up with the last miracle, stunning Jackson with a late game touchdown and 19-15 win.

In a battle billed as a clash of strong offenses, it was ultimately two teams’ ability to play good defense that decided this one.

Both teams came out tentative, feeling each other out, respecting their opponent through the scoreless first quarter. Both Broncs were able to move the ball between the 20s but drives stalled in the red zone.

Then it was Jackson that blinked first. Cody sacked sophomore QB Sadler Smith, who looked a bit nervous to start the game. The play resulted in a fumble and turnover, giving Cody their best starting field position inside the Jackson 40.

Cody scored and missed the extra point. Cody scored again before the end of the half, and again missed a 2-point conversion attempt. It was all Navy-and-Gold to start.

Jackson came out of the locker room a different team to begin the third. Jeydon Cox, who had been bottled up tight by Cody for the first 24 minutes of the game, finally broke one loose. Cox bounced outside after finding nothing up the middle, and with only a cornerback to beat, scampered for 28-yard touchdown run. Just like that, Jackson cut Cody’s lead in half.

Both teams traded possessions throughout most of the fourth until, with Jackson driving late in the game, a questionable pass interference call against Cody on Peter Goettler gave the Broncs a 1st and 10 at the Cody 20 yard line. And again it was Cox who found pay dirt, putting Jackson up by one.

Head coach David Joyce elected to go for 2 to make it a 3-point game. That gamble was successful and all the momentum seemed to be on the side of the Jackson Broncs.

A personal foul penalty set kicker Brody Hills back 15 yards on the kickoff and it proved to be key in helping Cody get decent field position. Kicking off from the 25 instead of their own 40, Jackson had trouble covering the kick, allowing Tristan Blatt a huge runback to the Jackson 48 yard line.

Still, with mere two-dozen seconds left on the clock, Cody needed to get into the end zone. A field goal would only tie. It took them one play.

RB Chaz Cowie took a harmless-looking pass in the left flat, got a block and tiptoed down the sidelines for a 48-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Hunter Hays. The late-game theatrics were just what the fans at Spike Vannoy Stadium wanted to see as they swarmed the field to congratulate their Broncs on the win.

For Jackson, it was heart wrenching. Coming so close to stealing one in Park County, the Broncs had to settle for a five-hour bus ride home wondering what they could have done differently.

Jackson falls to 1-1 in conference, 3-2 overall. Their next game is homecoming on Friday, October 4. Kickoff at 6 pm.

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