The Star Valley Braves buried the Jackson Broncs in the 71st edition of the Fall Brawl, 41-16 while their female counterparts fell to Rock Springs and eliminated Riverton to set up an 8 a.m. all or nothing match on Saturday morning
The Star Valley Braves scored incredibly early and often as they dispatched the visiting Jackson Broncs, denying the Teton County rivals the opportunity to win for the third consecutive time for the first time in the series’ history.
The ball bounced Star Valley’s way right from the opening kickoff as the Broncs fumbled the ball and senior Elio Merino picked it up off the bounce and jogged in for the score. The Star Valley offense who eventually made it onto the field went 76 yards on six plays to push the advantage 14-0. After a stagnant second quarter, Jackson answered with their biggest play of the game, an 88-yard touchdown strike from Kyle Vinson to Sean McDonald to cut the deficit in half.
The Braves answered on their first offensive play of the third quarter as sophomore Ridge Hillyard scorched the Broncs for a 78-yard touchdown run. Hillyard replaced Logan Abrams in the second quarter after he left with an injury. The PAT was no good to put the Braves up 20-7. A brutal hit by Alex Cooper after a punt caused a fumble which was recovered by Bill West inside the five-yard line. William Buckley pushed his way into the end zone and the rout was on. The Star Valley defense then saw Hayden Heap intercept a pass and take it 35 yards for a score. On the very next possession they saw Sean Pierson intercept another pass and take it to the house for another touchdown.
Jackson would score on a field goal and a late touchdown off a beautifully executed hook-and-ladder play by Sean McDonald. The blowout overshadowed a stellar individual effort by McDonald who accounted for all 16 of the Broncs points.
Hillyard finished with 134 yards rushing on the day and the Braves rolled up 270 on the ground as a team.
The Playoff Picture
With Cody defeating Worland in overtime, the Broncs, Warriors and Braves tied for the 3A West Conference crown. In terms of seeding the Broncs claimed the top seed while Worland is #2 and Star Valley #3. This will put the Braves on the road where they will face the Buffalo Bison next Friday.
The Powell Panthers, after starting the season 4-0, lost their last four games and were eliminated as the Lander Tigers defeated them 27-10 to earn the West #4 slot and a date with Douglas. In the east, Riverton defeated Wheatland 31-20 to not only qualify for the post-season but claim the #3 seed and will travel to Worland
The final match up will see Torrington travel to Cody.