Two weeks ago, the Jackson Hole High School Broncs came off the field in Cody with heads bowed by a last-minute 19-15 loss that set them back in 3A West.
Jackson will have a chance to get back into the conference mix Friday when it travels to Star Valley (6-0, 2-0) for a meeting with gigantic postseason implications.
“I think both communities always get up for this game,” Star Valley Coach McKay Young said. “Wyoming is a state where it’s hard to really have rivalries because everyone is always so spread out. So even though we’re an hour apart, I know it’s a game both communities care about for sure.”
Jackson Coach David Joyce is quick to heap praise on Star Valley’s roster, top to bottom. But he also points out that last year some matchups clearly favored the Braves on size alone. This time he sees two evenly matched squads lining up across from each other.
“The thing is they’ve got good playmakers, but I feel like where they have playmakers we have playmakers as well,” he said. “It will be two evenly matched teams, a playoff-caliber game however you look at it.”
The Braves bring a balanced attack and are headed by a capable and mature quarterback in Brant Nelson, who is comfortable hitting the deep ball when needed and plugging away with meticulous drives when that’s called for, too.
“We’ve thrown the ball more this year than maybe we have the last three or four years,” Young said, “but I think it’s just a matter of showing up and seeing what their game plan is ... what they’re committed to taking away, and seeing how we need to adjust from there.”
Jackson’s offense goes as running back Jeydon Cox goes. And for three years now, the Broncs ball carrier has proved all he does is go.
Even with the lopsided score in last year’s Jackson-Star Valley meeting, Cox ran the ball for 202 yards. It was turnovers that cast the end for Jackson, which was picked off four times in that loss.
“I think Jeydon’s resume speaks for itself,” Young said. “Nobody stops Jeydon Cox. You hear people say the cliche, ‘You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.’ He’s that kind of player. He’s going to get his, because nobody has proven otherwise.”
Game time is 6 p.m. in Afton.