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CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

Rock Springs, Sheridan are set to battle at War Memorial for Class 4A crown

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Carter McComb run vs NC semis

Sheridan's Carter McComb breaks loose for a big gain in the Broncs' semifinal victory over Natrona County on Nov. 5 at Homer Scott Field in Sheridan.

It only makes sense that Sheridan would be standing in the way of Rock Springs winning its first state title in 19 years. While the Tigers have been the dominant force in Class 4A this season — they have the No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense — the Broncs have been the (blue and) gold standard in 4A since 2009. Sheridan is 6-2 in state title games at the University of Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium, which is once again hosting the Wyoming State High School Class Football Championships after a one-year absence.

The Broncs (10-1) also handed Rock Springs (10-1) its only loss of the season when Colson Coon scored on a 70-yard screen pass in the final minutes for a 27-24 victory on Sept. 17.

“They only have one blemish on their record, and that was against us,” Sheridan head coach Jeff Mowry said. “So I’m sure they’re super motivated to play us again. They’ve been flat dominant this season.”

The numbers support Mowry’s statement.

Rock Springs has 4A’s top rushing offense (251.0 yards per game) and rushing defense (100.0 ypg allowed) and averages a class-best 42.5 points per game. The loss to Sheridan and a 24-17 victory over Natrona County the following week were the only games all season the Tigers didn’t win by double digits.

“Their offense continues to roll, especially on first and second down,” Mowry stated. “And then their defense gets the ball right back to them and they go down and roll again. We have to find a way to make them punt to have a chance on Saturday.”

The Tigers are hoping to avoid that. Not only does it mean its offense stalled out, but it gives the Broncs an opportunity to showcase its impressive team speed. Senior Carter McComb and junior Dom Kaszas both have returned punts and kickoffs for touchdowns this season.

“This is by far the fastest team I’ve ever coached against,” Rock Springs head coach Mark Lenhardt admitted. “They have some guys that can just flat run. It’s going to be crucial that we find a way to somehow, some way, keep the ball hemmed in the best we can.”

The senior-dominant Tigers appear to have the weapons to do just that.

Senior Dylan Coburn has run for 733 yards and 15 TDs; Andrew Skorcz has 583 yards receiving and nine touchdown catches; and Brock Bider has thrown for 1,504 yards and 20 TDs, with just four interceptions. And then there’s UW commit Isaac Schoenfeld, who does a lot of everything for the Tigers. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder has rushed for 636 yards and six TDs, caught passes for 343 yards and seven scores and has two tackles for loss and six sacks.

“This has been a culmination of the last three years,” Lenhardt said. “This group of seniors is one of the best group of kids I’ve ever worked with. There hasn’t been an ounce of selfishness and they do absolutely everything we ask them to.”

Now Lenhardt and his staff are asking their team to do that against a team whose only losses at War Memorial were to Natrona County in 2010 and ’18.

Sheridan is second only to Rock Springs in both rushing offense and rushing defense. The Broncs also are plus-24 in turnover margin. And most opponents would agree that their special teams units are indeed special.

“Ultimately, I think this game is going to come down to special teams and they are really good in that regard,” Lenhardt said. “We’re going to have to beat them at their own game and hopefully we’re up for the challenge.”

Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @wyovarsity

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Sports editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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