JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – As they’ve done all season, the Jackson Broncs won big in a game they were supposed to win. Pinedale, Worland, Green River, and now Evanston were all opponents the Broncs were expected to put away and they did so…with an exclamation point.
Jackson romped Friday to spoil the Red Devils’ Senior Night. Evanston won the opening coin toss. It would be the only thing they won all night. The Devils deferred, electing to kick to the Broncs—10 minutes later Jackson had three touchdowns and the first quarter wasn’t even finished yet.
But the Broncs weren’t done. The Black-and-Orange poured it on in the second quarter, adding four more TDs to make it 48-0 at the half. The offense was clicking and executing cleanly all night. The final score was Jackson 62, Evanston 13.
Everything was working for the Broncs. Jeydon Cox ran wild, Sadler Smith threw ropes to Peter Goettler, Nate Keipert, and Evan Brunner and the rout was on.
Defensively, the Broncs continue to look good top to bottom. Defensive linemen Jalen Dow, Kevin Flores, and Will Pew have stuffed the running game of just about every team to try to rush between the tackles. That allows outside linebackers Colter Dawson and Kirby Castagno to simple seek-and-destroy with anything that might trickle through.
Getting the edge on Jackson isn’t easy either. The defense has good speed and swarms to the ball. Most teams have stopped trying to throw to Goettler’s side. At the other corner, Brunner is improving weekly. Sam Lopeman and AJ McCool have also been very good this season on defense.
Jackson recovered three Red Devil fumbles and got a big interception from Brody Hasenack in the first quarter that took a touchdown away from Evanston. Even kicker Brady Hills got in on the action late in the game, knocking down two sure completions with late speedy breaks on balls in the air.
Really all that separates Jackson from, say, Cody is everything that can’t be measured in cleat and helmet size. The Broncs need to borrow just a bit of the swagger they bring to lesser opponents and use it when they tangle with the better teams in the conference. Because Jackson is every bit as good anyone they’ve played this season, and a lot better than most.
With the win, the Broncs move to 2-2 in conference, 5-3 overall. They sit third in the 3A West behind Star Valley and Cody. Things aren’t expected to move much in the 3A West standings so looking at the 3A East, it looks like Riverton is the likely matchup for Jackson in the first round of the playoffs.
But the final week of the regular season remains and Jackson had better not look past the Powell Panthers. This Friday’s home game has playoff implications with the outcome deciding who gets the 3rd seed and who, the 4th. The Broncs would very much like to be in the 3rd seeding as #4 takes on the top ranked team in the conference, with teams #2 and #3 battling it out in the other playoff game.
Powell is coming off a win against Green River last week. The Panthers have lost to the same teams Jackson has lost to—Cody and Star Valley—and have defeated the same teams Jackson got past—Worland, Evanston, and Green River.
Jackson should be two touchdowns better than the Panthers. We’ll find out Friday, October 25. Kickoff at 5 p.m. at William T. McIntosh Stadium.
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