ROCK SPRINGS – Colson Coon isn’t just good at American football.
Wyoming’s Gatorade player of the year on the gridiron finished with a goal and an assist to lead Sheridan to a 2-1 victory over Kelly Walsh in the third-place game of the Class 4A Wyoming State High School Soccer Championships on Saturday at Rock Springs High School.
Coon, who will play football at Montana State, set up Brennan Bolton for the game-winning goal in the 76th minute to finish his remarkable athletic career with the Broncs (14-4-2) in style.
“It felt nice to end on a win, especially for the seniors,” Coon said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the championship, but we ended on a good note. Everybody’s happy, I think.”
Sheridan, the No. 3 seed from the East, lost 4-3 to Cheyenne Central in the semifinals after advancing out of the quarterfinal round with a 3-1 win over Natrona.
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The West Region champion and top-seeded Trojans (16-2-0) entered the tournament unbeaten but were coming off a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Thunder Basin in the semifinals that spoiled the team’s quest for a perfect season and the program’s first state title since 2012.
“We had such a great season and it’s hard to end this way because that’s going to be the thing that sticks for a while,” KW coach Bryan Chadderdon said. “I think when everybody reflects back on the season they’re going to realize what a special year we had. It is just such a great group of kids, they’re really fun to coach and they love each other and play hard for each other.”
Junior midfielder Britton Butler scored on a set piece from 19 yards out to give KW a 1-0 head start in the 9th minute after Beau Barclay drew a foul.
Coon scored the equalizer on a header off a perfectly-place corner kick from Connor Bateson in the 39th minute to make the score 1-1 entering the intermission.
In the 76th minute, Coon set up Brennan Bolton for a goal to make the score 2-1.
“We knew we’d get our turn if we kept working hard and it just broke the right way,” Coon said. “So, it was just working hard and looking for those open shots.”
Another late run by the Coon and Bolton led to a foul on KW in the box, but Breck Reed missed the penalty kick with 34 seconds remaining on the clock.
“Congrats to Sheridan. We had our chance, they had their chances. They finished and we didn’t,” Chadderdon said. “(Coon) is so fast and physical and he doesn’t even have to touch the ball that many times. He touched the ball maybe eight or 10 times and two of those were huge plays. I think our kids could learn something from watching a kid like him play because it’s not just about soccer skill, it’s about athletic I.Q. We have some kids that have that but we have some kids that could learn that just by competing more.”
The Trojans, who finished the season with 73 goals and 14 goals allowed, won the third-place game in each of the previous two state tournaments. The program plans to reload for a championship run in 2024.
Seven of KW’s starting 11 will be back next season and there are a number of other young players coming up in the system that the coaching staff is excited about.
Jackson, which entered as the three-time reigning state champion, responded to its dramatic 2-1 quarterfinal defeat to Thunder Basin with romps over Laramie (5-1) and Star Valley (6-1) to win the consolation bracket.