Jackson Broncs take Wyoming State Soccer title – Ladies take 3rd

Girls and boys soccer begin

Jackson cements 3-peat with win over Sheridan

It’s probably okay now to start throwing around the “D” word when it comes to the Jackson soccer team. The Broncs survived an opening round scare and then put the hammer down as they cruised to a 3rd straight state championship over the weekend in Cheyenne. A dynasty in the making? It sure looks like it.

“This is a really special crew that I’ve coached for a long time through the youth ranks. There are certain guys on this team, maybe four or five, that were playing as freshman and have now one a state championship every season,” coach Matt Hoelscher said. “Having my own son on the team and his group of friends I’ve watched grow up together, it’s a really proud moment for me, the team, the soccer community. I can’t say enough about these boys.”

Jackson 3, Rock Springs 1

The scare thrown into Jackson in the quarterfinals against Thunder Basin was all the wake-up call the Broncs needed as they dominated play in the semifinal round against Rock Springs.

“We went into [the Rock Springs game] a little focused,” Hoelscher said. “The weather cooperated, and from the opening whistle I felt like we were really in control of that game and dominated in all facets.”

On a team that can beat you so many ways, sometimes it’s just the one way that shows up. A Teddy Opler hattrick against the Tigers was all Jackson needed to take care of business Friday at state.

It was the third time this season Jackson has beaten Rock Springs (W3-1, March 26; W4-0, April 22; W3-1, May 20).

Jackson 2, Sheridan 0

Sheridan boasted a 15-4 record coming into the showdown with Jackson (18-1) on Championship Saturday. Most of those wins, however, came at the expense of weaker opponents in the east. Still, coach Matt Hoelscher was not taking the ‘other’ Broncs lightly after their win over Kelly Walsh in the semifinals to get to the title game. After all, the Trojans are the only team to beat Jackson this season.

“We beat them in the semifinals last year and they were mostly a freshman-sophomore team, so I knew they were capable,” Hoelscher said.

Jackson’s precision passing can be hypnotizing to watch. Certainly, Sheridan was guilty of watching on more than a few occasions in the 2-0 Broncs victory.

Time and again Sheridan defenders flocked to the ball side of the pitch, leaving the backside open for a field switch pass. No team makes better use of every player on the pitch than the Broncs. All stay involved and engaged. Any can score.

It was one of the those ‘phone booth’ passing sessions that eventually led to a pretty combo sequence where seven different Broncs players touched the ball until Rutley Heinemann spring Hunter Dewell into the box with position for the Broncs first score, putting Jackson up 1-0 with 13:43 to play in the half.

The Broncs added another at the 35-minute mark for a 2-0 lead on a nice hustle play by Cesar Jimenez Vazquez who blew down the left side gat a ball to Dewell, who scored on a running kick from 20 yards out.

“Cesar played lights out the other two games earlier in the playoffs,” coach Hoelscher said. “I always tell the kids watch for Cesar, when plays well we all play well…and he doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves.”

Jackson would need no more. GK Javy Huta secured Jackson’s 11th shutout, 13th straight win, and a third straight championship in 4A soccer. The Broncs finished the season with 18 wins and just the 1 loss.

Maybe Coach Hoelscher is not ready to call this organization a dynasty, but that’s what they’re saying across the conference after this weekend.

irls settle for 3rd at state after beating Natrona

The Jackson girls soccer team ended its season very much the same way they did last year. A superb regular season where the girls finished 13-5-2 was capped by a disappointing semifinal round loss to Rock Springs and a nice comeback win in the consultation round to seize 3rd place at state.

Rock Springs 2, Jackson 1

After an emotional win over Sheridan, Jackson had only Rock Springs to beat to earn a date with Thunder Basin for all the marbles. On a game played almost to the day a year ago, Jackson came up short against the Lady Tigers. This same fate was to be theirs again Friday as the Lady Broncs could not find any offense other than Taya McClennen’s penalty kick early in the 2nd half.

After grabbing the 1-0 lead, Rock Springs responded with 2 unanswered goals of their own and hung on for the 2-1 win over Jackson.

Jackson 2, Natrona County 1

The girls returned Saturday with resilience. Playing their third game in as many days, the Broncs took the attack to Natrona—a team they had not beaten this season in three tries—and earned a real moral victory.

Jackson got an early goal from Melissa Morillon Jimenez and never looked back.

Morillon Jimenez made a nice pass to Albany McCooey who flat out muscled her way to the goal, bowling over one defender and then kicking one right through Natrona keeper Rian Barthel for the 2-0 Jackson lead with 27:03 to play.

Natrona answered with a late goal of their own after Jackson goalkeeper Sidney Nash mishandled a routine save. It gave the Lady Trojans life, but they could not get the equalizer in the final 120 seconds.

Thunder Basin beat Rock Springs 2-0 for the state championship in 4A.

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