Soccer was in full swing following the spring break and the boys picked up right where they left off, extending their season unbeaten streak to six after back-to-back wins in Casper.
Broncs head soccer coach Matt Hoelscher said he likes the way his boys responded to a little adversity, especially after coming off a long break, “Where you’re never quite sure what you are going to get.”
What coach Hoelscher got was a character-testing gut check on Friday against Natrona and a huge conference win over an undefeated Kelly Walsh squad.
Jackson 3, Natrona 1 (Friday)
Jackson locked up with Natrona on Friday. Both teams shook off the rust with Jackson controlling the play for the entire first half. Time of possession, scoring attempts—everything favored the Broncs, they just could not find the back of the net. That is, until freshman forward Teddy Opler headed in a beautiful pass from Dilan Tzompa for the game’s opening salvo.
Soon after, Opler tallied again on an assist from Charlie Hoelscher and the Broncs took a 2-0 lead into the half.
The Mustangs pulled within 1 with a goal at the 30-minute mark of the second half after a careless penalty in the box gave Natrona a penalty kick, which they converted. But Jackson’s Hunter Dewell iced it with a late goal for the 3-1 win over Natrona.
Jackson 3, Kelly Walsh 2 (Saturday)
Hoelscher knew Saturday’s match against the Trojans was going to be a tough challenge for Jackson. Kelly Walsh came into the contest not only undefeated in three games, but no one had scored a goal on them this season. Twelve minutes into Saturday’s match with the Broncs and the Trojans net was no longer unblemished.
Teddy Opler continued his scoring streak with the game’s first goal off an assist from Charlie Hoelscher. Jackson managed to sit on that lead to the first half intermission.
Kelly Walsh drew even early in the second half and regulation time ended with a 1-1 score. The Trojans then got the go-ahead goal 9 minutes into overtime play.
The Broncs did not wait long to respond. On the ensuing kickoff, Tzompa pushed the ball to Hoelscher who beat to defenders and them dished a perfect crossing pass to Opler who banged it home.
With the game into a second OT, Jackson won it after a game-winning goal from Dewell with Sahir Romero providing the helper.
“[Kelly Walsh] plays a possession style game rather than the usual kick-and-run style we see a lot. We like to play that way, too, so it was a good test and I’m proud pf the boys for coming back in overtime,” Coach Hoelscher said. “We didn’t finish very well against Natrona and that is something we will be working on this week—putting teams away and not letting them hang around.”
Jackson is now 4-0 on the seas0n in conference, 6-0 overall. The Broncs will face Star Valley (1-3) this Thursday in Afton before returning home to host Evanston (3-2-1) on Friday.