JACKSON, Wyo. — AC/DC’s “Back in Black” rang out at William T. McIntosh Stadium as the Broncs took the field Friday. For the home team, dressed all in black, it was a return to winning ways. For the visiting Riverton Wolverines, it was a funeral dirge.
Jackson reprised its role as hammer, with Riverton playing the part of the nail Friday. The Broncs and Wolverines traded blows for the first half but by the 3rd quarter, it was evident the visitors could simply not keep up in the scoring bonanza.
Jackson’s 61-38 victory summed up well what the Broncs have become this season and it’s too late for the tiger to change its stripes. Jackson lives and dies with the offense, relying on its defense to make a timely stop or two but little more.
Credit Riverton. The #3 ranked Wolverines coming out of the much-denounced ‘weaker’ east side of the 3A conference had something to say about the outcome for the first 24 minutes of Friday’s quarterfinal round game. The game Wolverines hardly appeared ready to go quietly into the good night.
Until Riverton’s bruising back Trayton Hyatt could get on-track late in the game, quarterback Damon Devries had to do it with his arm. And for a while, Riverton seemed to have an answer for every Jackson score.
But the juggernaut Jackson offense was too much, too often for Riverton.
Coach David Joyce got newly-returned wideout Nate Keipert involved early. Sadler Smith found the speedy receiver wide open for a big gainer on the game’s second play from scrimmage.
Brody Hasenack looked like his old self. The flashy running back had 5 rushing touchdowns while racking up close to 300 yards on the ground. Smith looked sharp distributing the ball judiciously to his receiving corps while scoring two rushing touchdowns himself.
Henry Hershock and Braedon Weyhrich did a good job at fullback filling in for the injured Clancy Meagher.
In the pits, the Broncs’ hog mollies dominated on both sides of the ball. The offensive line blew open big holes for Hasenack, picking up blocking assignments and following a much better X’s and O’s game plan than they did against Cody. The D-line clogged running lanes, grounding Hyatt and forcing Devries to scramble for his life on many a passing down.
The secondary was again a bit shaky but when big plays were needed, corner Fort Crain Evenson responded. Over-the-top free safety Alexei DiDonato is also getting better and better making reads and closing on balls. He swiped two Devries passes that could have gone for touchdowns.
Date with Douglas
The loss of the #1 seed looms large now as Douglas managed to hold off Star Valley 16-14 in their quarterfinal matchup. Instead of enjoying homefield advantage against the familiar Braves, the Broncs will have to make the five-and-a-half-hour bus trip to Converse County to face the Bearcats—a team they know much less about.