LARAMIE — In maybe the two most memorable and lasting plays of his life, Carl Askins took the snap and dropped to a knee. Then, the clock hit zero and the world — for Askins and the rest of his Sheridan Bronc teammates — blurred.

He hugged Bridger Baker first. Or maybe it was Rudy Osborne. 

“I couldn’t even tell you,” Askins said. “It was happening so fast.”

That’s where the celebration began Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. With two quarterback kneel-downs to kill the final seconds, the Sheridan Broncs solidified themselves as the 2021 4A State Champions. They beat the Rock Springs Tigers 45-27 for a record-extending 28th state title in school history.

“I can’t even express how I’m feeling right now,” senior Michael Greer said. “We worked hard all year long to get to this spot, and there’s not any other group of guys that I would’ve rather played with, and there’s no better way to go out.”

For the Broncs, there was no better way to start, either.

Senior Carter McComb returned the opening kickoff 88 yards to the end zone to put Sheridan up 7-0 just 13 seconds into the game.

“That’s why we choose to receive, just so we can play from ahead,” head coach Jeff Mowry said. “That’s exactly what we did. It played into our game plan. Anytime they have to press and throw — a running team like that — to play from behind is hard.”

The Tigers responded with their longest drive of the game and tied the score at 7-7 with a 1-yard quarterback keeper. The drive spanned 14 plays and 80 yards and took more than seven minutes off the clock.

Sheridan’s ensuing possession bled into the second quarter, and Greer capped it with a 39-yard field goal to give the Broncs a lead they never lost.

The second quarter was their biggest. With two touchdowns by junior Colson Coon before the end of the period, Sheridan led 24-7 heading into the halftime locker room.

“At halftime, when we were up 24-7, I was like, ‘We have a good lead, but we can’t give it up,’” senior Texas Tanner said. “We just had to go back out and play exactly how we did from the start.”

The Broncs forced Rock Springs to punt to begin the second half. Less than a minute later, Coon broke free for a 59-yard touchdown scamper, his longest of the day.

Up 31-7 in the third, Sheridan did its best to play keepaway and slice time off the clock. Askins attempted only one pass in the second half. Overall, he completed five of his seven passes for 74 yards.

The Tigers struck for their first touchdown of the second half after Coon scored. Then, they forced a Sheridan fumble but immediately coughed it right back up to the Broncs.

Rock Springs tallied two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but Coon and McComb each found the end zone once for the Broncs to keep the Tigers at bay and seal a 45-27 victory.

Sheridan’s crowd flooded the field and helped the team celebrate its fifth championship in the last seven years.

“It’s amazing, man,” senior Chris Larson said. “There was just so much doubt at the beginning of the season with all the injuries and the inexperience. To come to this moment and play like we did, like we’ve done all year, is just amazing.”

Coon finished the game with 230 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries. Tanner followed behind with four carries and 70 yards. Junior Mathew Ketner paced Sheridan in receiving with two catches for 31 yards.

On defense, Greer recorded a game-high eight tackles.

The Broncs ended the season with an 11-1 record.

“They gave it their all, and it worked out,” Mowry said. “It’s just a great group of kids.”

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