Sep. 25—CHEYENNE — Behind the blocking from its offensive line and wide receivers, Cheyenne East looked as if it was going to put the game away against Sheridan with a long, deflating, game-sealing drive Friday night.
With a 24-21 lead and 6 minutes, 32 seconds remaining in the game, the Thunderbirds started a drive at their own 37-yard line while continuously finding success with their rushing game and picking up three first downs on the ground. But things quickly changed for East when Sheridan forced junior receiver Garet Schlabs to fumble and recovered it at its own nine-yard line with 2:52 remaining.
The Broncs quickly marched down the field and found themselves inside the five with the clock winding down. They tried a couple of runs with Colson Coon but the East defense held its ground. Then with three seconds left and the ball at East’s three-yard line, Michael Greer lined up for the 20-yard game-tying field goal. The kick went wide right and the No. 4-ranked T-Birds held on to defeat top-ranked Sheridan 24-21 at Okie Blanchard Stadium.
“Our coaches say this a lot and I truly feel the same way — we love playing Sheridan,” senior quarterback Gavin Goff said. “They made us battle all the way until the end … our team stuck together. They were all right here together and even on that last drive everyone on our team was ready to go.”
Sheridan’s first score came following a huge third-down conversion. Facing a third-and-16 from their own 39, quarterback Carl Askins connected with Dane Steel for a 58-yard completion to the East’s three-yard line. A block in the back on the play set Sheridan up at East’s 18. Two plays later, Kaszas snagged a pass in the back right side of the end zone to put Sheridan ahead 7-0.
Landen LaRue got East on the board with a 32-yard field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, Kaszas caught the kick and handed it off to Carter McComb who took the ball to East’s 26-yard line. Coon punched it in from one-yard out three plays later and the game seemed to be going in the visiting team’s favor. However, East managed to score before the break on a Goff run and converted the two-point try to head into the break trailing 14-11.
Following halftime, East was moving the chains with its run game.
“Our receiver blocking was the best it’s been all year,” East coach Chad Goff said. “Our line just got better as the game went on I thought they were a little roughed up at the beginning and they settled down and did what they do.
“But I was really impressed with our receiver blocking with as many yards as we were able to get outside.”
Drew Jackson intercepted an Askins pass on Sheridan’s first possession of the second half and took advantage on a four-yard score from Goff to Schlabs and East led 24-14.
After a Sheridan score to cut its deficit 24-21, East didn’t flinch and continued to rush the ball and burn clock, and ultimately prevail following the late turnover in the redzone — which was East’s second redzone turnover of the game.
“We talk about the ability to have each other’s backs all the time and understanding we’re going to make mistakes and some mistakes are obviously bigger than others,” Chad Goff said. “It’s about making kids believe in themselves and believe in each other so that we can come back from situations like that.”
East finished with 263 yards on the ground. Cade Pugh had 97 and Gavin Goff rushed for 87. Schlabs added 67. But East’s defense had the late stops against Sheridan’s rushing attack that ultimately led to the missed field goal.
“We just played our type of game,” junior linebacker Ethan Brinkman said. “We stuck to Coach (Steve) Hesford’s game plan and toughened up at the end.”
EAST 24, SHERIDAN 21
Sheridan……………7 14 0 7 — 21
Cheyenne East…….0 11 6 7 — 24
SH: Kaszar 17 pass from Askins (Greer kick), 1:16
CE: LaRue 32 field goal, 7:02
SH: Coon 1 run (Greer kick), 5:56
CE: Goff 3 run (2-pt good), 1:09
CE: Goff 2 run (2-pt failed) 3:41
CE: Schlabs 4 pass from Goff (LaRue kick), 8:01
SH: Kaszas 44 pass from Askins, (Greer kick), 6:38
Sheridan: Coon 19-88, McComb 3 (minus-14), Askins 2-0, Greer 1-4, Tanner 4-20. Cheyenne East: Jackson 1-12, Pugh 22-97, Schlabs 9-67,Goff 18-87.
Sheridan: Askins 11-17-1; Cheyenne East: Goff 17-24-2.
Sheridan: Ketner 2-35, Steel 3-61, Kaszas 6-131. Cheyenne East: Jackson 5-71, Pugh 2-20, Schlabs 6-30, Culver 1-5, Hayes 1-22, Pafford 2-8.