LARAMIE — The excitement continues to build with less than 24 hours from kickoff of the 4A football championship game between the Rock Springs Tigers and Sheridan Broncs at War Memorial Stadium.
Both teams come into Saturday’s matchup with a 10-1 record on the season. The sole loss for Rock Springs coming against Sheridan back in week four in the final minutes of the game.
The Tigers have the longer win streak, winning seven straight while Sheridan is on a six-game win streak.
But at the end of the day, none of that matters.
Here’s three keys to the game for a Rock Springs victory on Saturday.
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Putting Points on the Board
It’s obvious you need points in order to win a football game, but in week four’s matchup against the Broncs, the Tigers offense really struggled to get into the end zone.
All year, this offense has been efficient at scoring. Week four against Sheridan in the regular season seemed to be nothing to worry about and I would suspect we see a great performance from the Tigers and the weapons they have offensively.
Let’s not forget that this is 4A’s best offense. Rock Springs has put up 62 touchdowns on the season and average 42.5 points per game. You could argue that this season the offense has been the best defense. We’ve seen that in multiple games. Needless to say, the Tigers need to score early and often. Sheridan will need a good game plan to slow down Rock Springs’ offense.
Special Teams Matter
Special teams will be more important than ever in this game.
Sheridan has been lights out when it comes to special teams, especially in the kick return. This season they’ve had five touchdowns off of kick returns. The Broncs scored one of those back in week four against the Tigers on a punt return.
Simply put, Rock Springs has to create long fields and prevent explosive plays from happening in the kicking game.
We’ve seen how special teams have played an important role in the Tigers’ postseason. Just last week during the semifinals against Cheyenne East, the Tigers created long fields for the Thunderbirds offense and Andrew Skorcz had a kickoff returned for a touchdown.
The team that plays all three phases of the game, including special teams, will end up winning this football game.
Winning the Trenches
The offensive and defensive line never get the credit they deserve. But it’s no secret they will be another key component for winning on Saturday.
Execution up front is where it all starts. Rock Springs has been excellent on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Brock Bider has had quite the season and I think it’s safe to say it’s because of his guys up front. It’s hard to remember the last time Bider’s been sacked — it doesn’t happen often. This season he’s thrown for 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. You don’t do that with a bad offensive line.
Defensively Rock Springs has manhandled opponents up front for the most part. The Tiger defense is ranked first in rush defense, only allowing 100 yards a game on the ground. Rock Springs also has 31 sacks on the season, which shows how much pressure they can put on the quarterback and how good the defensive line is at controlling that line of scrimmage.
Best of Luck
The work has been put in. The game plan is in place. Everyone is excited to see how this unfolds.
It’s been a fun season to watch and cover this team. Be sure to visit SweetwaterNOW after the game for the final Postgame Thoughts of the season.