Fourteen years since the Jackson Broncs football team hoisted a state championship trophy over their heads, the Broncs have one of the more talented rosters in recent memory and fans are ready for another victory.
The Jackson Hole student section, known as the “Black Hole,” has been filled weekly with packed in, rowdy Broncs. They believe this could be the year.
Coming into the season, Broncs athletes were met with high expectations around campus from students and community members, following the team’s heartbreaking loss to Cody in last year’s state championship game.
The Jackson faithful have displayed confidence in the team, showing out in full force at each of the Broncs’ four home games so far at William T. McIntosh stadium.
With just the sole blemish on their record — a road loss to Pocatello early in the season — the Broncs have one final opportunity to win at home. They’re gearing up for a date with the Powell Panthers (5-2), a team that played within a single score of the Broncs last season.
Unable to have a student section last year due to COVID-19, the crowd has released all of their pent-up energy this season, as the Broncs sit at 6-1, primed for yet another run at a state championship under fifth-year head coach David Joyce.
The confidence around campus is high, especially among the senior class who looks to end their time in grade school on top of 3A.
“Everyone thinks they can win a state championship because we know the talent, and the kids on the team are pretty athletic and are committed to football,” Jackson Hole student Anton Kudar said.
With Friday night lights playing such a prominent role in high school memories for many students, members of the “Black Hole” have cherished the opportunity to get back into the bleachers with their classmates.
“I feel like such a big part of high school is going to the games or being a part of the games,” senior Ava Ulmer said. “Just being able to actually be there in person and see it all live is so amazing.”
Knowing their classmates will have their back on each and every play, this season has given a newfound appreciation from the players competing on the field, for their classmates cheering them on in the stands.
“My freshman and sophomore year I totally took the student section for granted,” senior Bronc Colter Dawson said. “When we had our first home game, the crowd just kept going insane. We got that student section bumping and cheering us on. It really brings energy into the football game.”
Jackson students have been known to bring the juice to sporting events.
“It’s fun to get rowdy with the players and feel the hype and pressure from them,” Kudar said.
While you may have noticed certain themes at football games over the years, it’s no coincidence, and takes behind the scenes planning from select students around campus.
The Broncs student section has its own Instagram page, going by the username, @jhhs.blackhole, made for coordinating students heading to Broncs games. Per tradition, the login credentials are passed on from senior class to senior class, and are given to a fourth-year Jackson Hole student who can keep up the tradition of getting the student body into the bleachers, as well as creating spirited themes for home atmospheres.
This season, the reins were given to Mia Fishman, a Jackson Hole senior who has also served as the Broncs team manager since she was in the eighth grade.
Strolling the sidelines during games, Fishman observes firsthand the ability fans have to impact a game that’s down to the wire.
“When our student section is super rowdy and loud, it just gets everybody going,” Fishman said. “It just makes the atmosphere so much more exciting and so much more thrilling for the players.”
Trying to leave a footprint on the school, the senior class is looking to go out with a bang, and leave traditions at games that become long standing. This season, the students have ushered in a tradition of their own: rushing the field after each win.
“We’re trying to build tradition because in the past, our school hasn’t had many traditions,” Fishman said. “I think storming the field is going to be a huge part of what the ‘black hole’ is going to be in the future.”
As the Broncs get set to host a worthy opponent on Friday, Dawson had a quick message for fans thinking of attending their final home game against Powell.
“Get rowdy,” Dawson said. “We’re going to need the support … We’re going to need the loud cheers. Cheer on the kids that don’t get too much attention. They’ve got to get loud and get ready for a great game.”
With each game becoming more meaningful by the week, it will take all hands on deck to bring the trophy back to Jackson, even from the fans.
“We’re going to go all out,” Ulmer said.
“When our student section is super rowdy and loud, it just gets everybody going.” — Mia Fishman Broncs team manager