The trip from Sheridan to Evanston is a long one — about eight hours and about 470 miles, to be exact.
About the only thing the two communities have in common is that they are both in Wyoming and they both have Class 4A football teams.
It’s not much, but on Friday those similarities gave us a heck of a high school football game, accentuated by one heck of a running back.
Jordan Roberts’ 345 rushing yards carried Sheridan to a 42-35 victory over Evanston. The 345 yards is the best in Wyoming in at least the past three seasons (my records prior to 2009 are hidden away in my storage unit, buried underneath dishes and books and a couch), and certainly ranks among the best in state history because of the circumstances around it.
The Broncs fell behind early, 14-0 and 21-7, but Roberts and the Broncs swung the momentum quickly and went on a 35-7 run before the Red Devils scored a late touchdown to make it close. Both teams entered 2-1 and neither one wanted to fall behind Class 4A’s undefeated teams, Natrona and Gillette. The offensive statistics reflect that desperation: a combined 900 yards of total offense.
Roberts had 345 of those on the ground, but more importantly scored four times to help his team overcome all it had to — the long trip and the big stakes — to win a heck of a football game.
Second mad props to Buffalo, which overcame a long road trip of its own to beat Green River 17-14 in overtime. For a while, it looked like the Bison left their game on the bus, as they fell behind 14-0 at halftime. But the Bison came alive in the second half, scored late in regulation to force overtime, then let their special teams take over: Buffalo blocked a field goal attempt by the Wolves in overtime and then kicked one of their own to seal it. Don’t look now, but the only remaining undefeated team in 3A is Lander…. This game, however, may have been a demonstration more in the parity atop 3A this year.
Third mad props to Glenrock, which straight took it to Wheatland on the Bulldogs’ home field and won in impressive fashion. That 35-6 score may not have been an aberration, either. The Herders frustrated the Bulldogs all night long and intercepted seven Wheatland passes. Are the Herders now the clear favorite in the 2A East? If they aren’t, I don’t know who is.
Now, in a series of crow-eating for a bunch of wrong picks in the 1A West: Fourth mad props to Wyoming Indian. The Chiefs beat Wind River for the first time since 1987 and earned the right to celebrate big time with their 14-8 victory. The Chiefs’ 11-game losing streak, dating back to the 2009 season, is broken. The Chiefs’ 14-game losing streak to their county rivals is snapped, as well. This is the type of victory that can carry a team for an entire season, and with the Chiefs playing a couple key league games the next two weeks (Saratoga and Burlington), the blue and red could be a dangerous team in the West if they can build on the momentum from this one.
Fifth mad props to Shoshoni (3-0!), which beat Burlington in an old-fashioned OK-Corral-style shootout, 41-36. The 36 points Burlington scored is the most ever for the Huskies in a losing effort. In the parity-filled midsection of the 1A West, this may end up being a huge game when we come to the end of the season and look at playoff seeding and/or qualifying. The Wranglers, meanwhile, are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since starting 6-0 in 2001.
Sixth mad props to Riverside, which knocked off Rocky Mountain 22-13. Excuse me while I repeat myself, but it’s just as true for this one as the last one: In the parity-filled midsection of the 1A West, this may end up being a huge game when we come to the end of the season and look at playoff seeding and/or qualifying. At least one or two really good teams may be left out of the 1A playoffs because of these types of key losses. Riverside bought itself some time with this victory; Rocky Mountain now has to scramble, with Wind River, Cokeville, Shoshoni and Burlington — in that order — on the docket the next four weeks. This loss makes each one of those games unusually large for the Grizzlies.
Seventh mad props to Newcastle, which thumped on Burns in a 31-6 wipeout. I’m still a little confused about the Dogies this year, but you can’t argue with the 2-0 start Newcastle has put together in conference play. The schedule the next four weeks will be critical, as Newcastle faces Wright, Glenrock and Wheatland, all on the road, in addition to an unexpected bye week created by the loss of the Tongue River game. Nevertheless, the Dogies proved Friday that no one can overlook them, and if all goes right they could be hosting a playoff game….
Eighth mad props to the Cheyenne East sophomores, who beat Lingle in a high-scoring 46-34 game on Thursday night.
Here is some other stuff that caught my attention this week:
Four of the five road teams won in Class 4A this week. The lone exception was Cheyenne East, which beat Cheyenne Central, which was barely a road game for the Indians. … Staying in Laramie County, how about the Pine Bluffs Hornets? The purple and yellow still have not allowed a point this season after shutting out Sundance 20-0. The Hornets host Southeast in a key 1A East game next Friday. … The final game at Tonkin Stadium went well for the Riverton Wolverines, eh? 35-20 over Cody is not a bad way to close the old stadium out. … Pay attention to these words: Don’t forget about Big Horn. … I know no one wants to see half of a football game just disappear into the ether, but Mountain View’s 41-0 victory over Big Piney on Friday was cut short at halftime by lightning. Imagine what the score may have become if the second half had been completed. Mountain View’s biggest victory ever over Big Piney was by 51 points. … How have I gotten this far and not mentioned two of the biggest games of the week? Lovell and Southeast both picked up huge victories on Friday; both came against teams they may see later in the season. …
I had the pleasure (indeed, the pleasure) of attending the Gillette-Kelly Walsh game on Friday night. The winless Trojans put a heck of a scare into the undefeated Camels before falling 30-23. The game was tied 16-16 deep in the third quarter, and after the Camels went ahead 30-16, the Trojans scored with 15 seconds remaining and then recovered the onside kick. KW couldn’t convert from there, but that’s what this game is all about, right? Having the chance? It was a great finish to a great game, a game I could take 1,000 words to explain and still feel like I didn’t do it justice.
So what caught your attention this week? Post your thoughts below and we can chat about all that happened in Week 3.
This week: 24-8 (75 percent). This season: 88-25 (78 percent).