SHERIDAN, Wyo. — The varsity football guys at Sheridan High School are trying to continue their dominance this season — not just at home, but across Wyoming.
As sure as the practice whistle blown by head coach Jeff Mowry, his Broncs are on nearly every radar across the Cowboy State.
“We’ve all put in the work over the summer and over the course of the season … and we’re very confident because of the effort we’ve put in," said senior running back/defensive back Terran Grooms. "We know we’re doing our very best to win these games.”
“I’d say that we’re a lot more hardworking than we are talented," said senior wide receiver/safety Dane Steel. "We’re the smallest (Class 4A) school in Wyoming, so we’re never the biggest, fastest, strongest kids on the field ... but we’re going to go out there and hopefully work harder than our opponent every time, and we usually get some good outcomes.”
Usually? The Broncs can make it 28 straight wins Friday night if they take care of business in their regular-season finale at Campbell County High School in Gillette.
Their work ethic isn’t by accident, but perhaps a byproduct of coaching longevity.
“Four of us moved here in 2007, so this will be our 17th season together,” coach Mowry told MTN Sports.
His Broncs have another undefeated season in the works after punching out perfect a year ago.
“Last year was last year," Mowry said. "This team hasn’t done anything yet except win a few games.”
By a wide margin. With the exception of a one-touchdown win over Cheyenne East, Sheridan has outscored opponents 367-51, finding the end zone on offense, defense and special teams. Those wide margins allow some of the younger players a little varsity time.
“It’s an adrenaline rush whenever I hear my name called and I’m like, ‘Oh, don’t mess up,’” admitted sophomore River Osborne.
MTN Sports showed you last month how sophomore teammates Kyler Mines was battling for his life at the Denver Children’s Hospital after suffering a brain bleed during a JV game on Sept. 5.
Kyler is still hospitalized but somewhat alert and moving this week. He was even paid a visit by Miles, the mascot for his favorite NFL team, the Denver Broncos.
Meantime, teammates in Sheridan continue to think of him often while wearing Kyler’s No. 35 on each helmet. Though he’s making progress, Kyler's road to recovery remains uncertain.
The Broncs’ road to a third straight state title, should they stay focused, leads to the University of Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium. That’s where all Wyoming high school football championships are played.
Hypothetically, would the Broncs ever trade that for Montana's format with the highest seed hosting a title game on its home field?
“I would love to have a home game here in front of our home crowd, but I think it’s just as cool — if not better — to be playing in Laramie at War Memorial Stadium," Grooms said. "It’s just an awesome experience.”
“I think it would be super cool, for sure," Steel said. "The stands would be filled, there would be people lined along the fence and everything. But playing on a Saturday going to War Memorial (Stadium) kind of gives you the feeling of being a college athlete.”
“To go to Laramie, these guys get to use the lockers that (Cincinnati Bengals linebacker) Logan Wilson has used,” said an enthused Mowry.
Then there’s his simplified coach’s perspective.
“Me, as an old man, I wish I could sleep in my own bed and get home earlier," he continued with a chuckle. "But for those guys, it’s awesome.”