SHERIDAN — To prove a point to his team Wednesday, Jeff Mowry rattled off a pair of statistics.
First, he informed his Sheridan Broncs they have punted 33 times this season. It’s a good number.
“We haven’t punted very much,” Mowry said after practice.
Then, he stated Rock Springs’ total of 15.
His point: The Tigers, Sheridan’s 4A title game opponents, are good. The Broncs’ September victory over them means nothing for Saturday’s state championship game at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
“They’re a phenomenal football team right now,” Mowry said. “Their offense is unreal. They’re putting up huge amounts of points. They’re never punting. They’re just marching the ball right down the field and not turning it over.”
In the first matchup between the two teams this season, Sheridan won 27-24 on a last-minute touchdown at home.
So how do you beat a phenomenal football team for the second time? Mowry mentioned two specific things. His team’s gameday schedule reveals a third.
“Defensively, we have to put them in third-and-long,” Mowry said. “Offensively, we have to move the ball to keep their offense off the field.”
Before the game Saturday, the Broncs will take a morning tour of the University of Wyoming’s football facilities. Mowry doesn’t want them to be stargazing when they walk into the locker room or onto the field at War Memorial Stadium for the game.
His third key to Saturday — act like you’ve been there before, which placates the nerves. And because he added an early tour to the itinerary, his Broncs will have been there before.
“We just try to keep things as normal as possible,” Mowry said. “We’ll do the same warmup as usual in pregame. We’ll keep everything the same, just in a different environment. Very routine.”
Some of the Sheridan players already know what to expect in the game, too.
Seniors, like Michael Greer, played in the state championship contest when the Broncs won it in 2019. Younger players, like junior Colson Coon and sophomore Dane Steel, have watched older brothers compete in state title games from the stands.
“I’m just looking forward to the entire game,” said Greer, who lined up exclusively on special teams two years ago. “It’s always a great feeling to be down there in Laramie for that state championship game. You get all your friends and family to come in to watch and play all these kids we’ve been playing since we were younger kids. I’m just excited for the whole thing.”
The challenges of playing Rock Springs remain the same as when the teams matched up Sept. 17. The Tigers have failed to reach 30 points on offense only twice this year, and both instances occurred in September — once against Sheridan and again the following week against Natrona County. They beat Cheyenne East 55-34 in the semifinals last week to reach the finals.
They rely heavily on tight end and Wyoming Cowboys commit Isaac Schoenfeld and running back Dylan Coburn. Coburn leads Rock Springs with 15 touchdowns. Schoenfeld trails closely behind with 14.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. Saturday. Both squads enter with 10-1 records. It will be Rock Springs’ first championship game appearance since 2002.
“Hopefully, we’ll keep a long field in front of those guys,” Mowry said. “They’re good.”