Broncs football team executes a three peat


Sheridan Broncs football players kneel for a celebratory picture after winning their third consecutive state championship. (Photo Brian Rizer)

Since the beginning of the season, Sheridan Bronc football players could be seen around school with “Molon Labe” plastered across blue and gold shirts and sweatshirts. The slogan, which was established before the season and means “come and take it,” manifests a defiant attitude of the then two-time defending state champions.

Head coach Don Julian explains that the team is very process driven. “We have a process that we follow each and every year, starting in the spring when they’re juniors,” Julian said. “We live and die by that process and the kids understand it and they buy into it. They have a very strong belief system that the process is going to work.” Julian and his coaching staff encouraged players to trust the process at the beginning of the season to reach specific goals as well as the ultimate goal: a state championship.

The Sheridan Broncs had a large target on their back going into the 2017 season. This motivated them even further, and they showed dominance over every other team they played in the regular season. Many thought Thunder Basin would be 2017’s high school football powerhouse, but the Broncs proved that to be wrong and beat them 45-20 on Thunder Basin’s own turf. Sheridan’s long-time rival, Campbell County, was at a disadvantage from day one after the school had split, and Sheridan capitalized on the disadvantage. The Broncs beat the Camels 76-6 in Gillette.

Throughout the regular season, the Broncs dominated every team. Natrona gave the Broncs the most trouble, but Sheridan still won 37-34 in overtime on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.

At the state championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyo., the Broncs faced Natrona for the second time in the state championship. The 4A state championship has featured either Sheridan, Natrona, or both for nine years in a row. Sheridan or Natrona have won all but once in those nine years; Cheyenne East won in 2013. The fact it has been either a Bronc or a Mustang victory all but once in those nine years proves that there was a strong rivalry between Sheridan and Natrona for the 2017 state title.

Before the championship game started, many suspected a close game, just like when the Broncs played the Mustangs in the regular season. Fifteen seconds into the game, senior Aaron Sessions set the precedent that it would surely be Sheridan’s game after a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Even though Sheridan won on the scoreboard, Natrona’s offense managed to gain more yardage. Natrona had 444 offensive yards, while Sheridan had only 169. Natrona had 32 first downs, while Sheridan had only seven. The Broncs secured the win to further prove that Sheridan is the football capital of Wyoming with now 26 state football titles.

Before and after every game, the Broncs pray together. “I feel like praying before every game sort of reminds you what you’re playing for and that what you’re playing for is bigger than you,” said sophomore Jacob Boint. “Through victory or defeat, you always give the glory to God because He’s the one who put you in that position.” Senior Quinton Brooks finished off the championship game with a prayer alongside his team, just like every other game of the season.

Seniors have a leadership role to fill during every football season, but this senior class’s leadership role was one that will be hard to exceed. The seniors have taken the leadership role above and beyond; every senior works very well with the younger athletes and they make sure that no one is left behind. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better football season from start to end just because of the group of seniors are just a fantastic group of young men,” said assistant coach Jeff Mowry. All the senior players take leadership roles because there are so many athletes on the field every season. “Outside of football, there’s a bunch of stuff that had been going on, injuries and things like that, and we all picked each other up,” said Sessions. “There’s not just one giant leader on this football team. We all have an equal role and we all have a brotherhood.”

The Sheridan Broncs are a force to be reckoned with in Wyoming high school football. Every coach’s goal is a state championship, but Sheridan’s goes deeper. The coaches’ goal is to ultimately create better men from the moment they step on the field to the moment they graduate and make their athletes buy into their process to get to the state championship. “Our coaches do a pretty good job of having us buy-in and realizing that we’re going to make each other better,” said junior Parker Christensen. From beginning to end of every football season, the coaches make sure that their athletes are working as hard as possible to achieve their goals every season. “The coaches are a big part in my success and our team’s success,” said senior lineman Blayne Baker.

Following the 2017 season, Julian brought his athletes into the auditorium on Dec. 5 to tell them about his resignation from coaching and athletic director. “We all respect him tremendously,” said junior Jaron Brewer. “He molded us into the men we are on and off the field. He will forever be our coach and our mentor.” During his time in Sheridan, Julian went 102-22 and won five state titles (2009, 2011, 2015-17).