Jackson did everything it wanted to, offensively, in Friday’s win over Riverton. The Broncs rolled up nearly 600 yards of total offense but managed just the 4 touchdowns enroute to a 28-17 win over the Wolverines.
Jackson was better on 3rd down conversions. The pass rush continues to be fearsome. Jackson finished with 6 sacks. Sadler Smith spreads the ball around judiciously, and Brody Hasenack is a beast in the ground game.
Problem? A few. Too many penalties. Jackson took 4 on one drive (8 in all), mostly illegal procedures as the timing isn’t quite there yet. The Broncs 97-yard scoring drive in the 3rd quarter was a microcosm of the season this far—bunch of good stuff sandwiched around a bad thing, or two, or three.
Jackson moves the ball at will
On that clock-eating drive that made the score 21-10, Smith took a 15-yard sack when he could have easily thrown the ball away. A bad snap started that debacle. But then Smith made up for it with a clutch 37-yard completion to Sam Scott.
A big run by Hasenack, who finished the night with 195 yards on 24 carries, had Jackson in the red zone again. Then a few more motion penalties before the snap; finally, Hasenack capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run off a nifty trap play.
Riverton’s best player was punter Tanner Johnson (and that’s never a good thing). Johnson boomed field-flipping kicks of 56, 55, 53, and 48 yards to pin Jackson deep in their own end on more than one occasion.
Jackson also fumbled once (Hasenack, recovered by Kai Girgen) in the endzone and had a pass intercepted (Lucas Engle) in the endzone to kill scoring drives.
Jackson DB Xander Witt robbed Riverton quarterback Nathan Hutchison twice—one a gimme, the other a contested ball to the taller Johnson.
Jackson’s final touchdown came after Smith was flushed from the pocket. He kept the play alive with his legs until he found Colter Dawson open over the middle. Dawson did the rest, steamrolling tacklers on a 70-yard pass and catch.
Smith threw for 331 yards. Another 252 on the ground from Scott and Smith.
The Broncs went with the heavy package on the final drive—something we may see more of this season as coach David Joyce knows defenses are worn down by the 4th quarter facing some 36 minutes of no-huddle offense by the final frame.
With the win, the Broncs improve to 3-1 on the season. The 11-point victory will not likely be enough to impress coaches around the state, especially considering Cody (3-0) beat Buffalo 49-14. Expect the coaches’ poll to have Cody still in the No. 1 slot with Jackson #2.
The Broncs will have a tough task ahead as they travel to Afton to take on Star Valley this Friday. It’s the Braves homecoming game and they always save a little extra when the Broncs come to town. Star Valley (2-2) polished Rawlins last week, 74-6. The game will be broadcast on KZ95.