If you go
What: Little Snake River Valley Rattlers vs. Kaycee Buckaroos
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: The Snake Pit, 100 North St., Baggs, Wyo.
— This is the second round of Wyoming’s six-man playoffs. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students.
BAGGS, WYO. At the end of the Little Snake River Valley School’s football game last week, coach Michael Bates told his players that their next test would be tougher.
“We’re going to be playing a team with a lot more power behind them,” he said.
Having finished off the Farson-Eden Pronghorns, 64-0, on Oct. 29, Bates knew that either of the teams that the Rattlers would face in the second round of Wyoming’s six-man playoffs would provide a challenge.
It was only later that he found out which team it would be.
The Rattlers will play the Kaycee Buckaroos at 1 p.m. today at the Baggs football field, The Snake Pit.
The 6-2 Kaycee team is ranked second in the six-man division, right behind the league-leading Rattlers, who are 8-0.
Kaycee defeated 3-5 Midwest, 60-32, on Oct. 29.
Bates said being further along in the playoff schedule has him preparing his team for a difficult battle. The team has worked on tightening both offense and defense.
He wants his defensive players to be especially well prepared.
“We’re really going to have to work against their incredible passing game,” he said.
The Buckaroos gave the undefeated Rattlers one of their hardest-fought games of the regular season, with the Rattlers winning, 68-44.
Kaycee’s season has been a high-scoring one, with their only other loss a 63-62 squeaker against Ten Sleep.
“They’re a tremendously well-coached team,” Bates said. “We’re looking forward to getting back on the gridiron with them again.”
Statistically, the Buckaroos stack up against the Rattlers, with leading Kaycee rusher Shawn Straub averaging 179.3 yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, Straub also averages 13.6 tackles per game.
Little Snake running back Sean Rietveld boasts an average 101.8 rushing yards per game, while quarterback Chance Englehart averages 112.8 passing yards, compared to Kaycee’s James Caro’s average of 111.3.
Defensive back Rygel Russell leads the Rattlers in tackles per game, averaging 8.7.
Bates said Kaycce’s weakness is their reliance on top players.
“I think they’ve got one or two kids with special skills,” he said. “We’ve got about seven or eight.”
In terms of total points scored for the season, the Buckaroos narrowly lead the Rattlers, 512-508.
Bates said the key to advancing in the playoffs is to keep his team grounded.
“If we’re not ready, they could take it away from us,” he said. “Looking at everything on paper, we should win, but that doesn’t matter if we’re not mentally prepared.”
Bates said he expects the Buckaroos to come ready to play.
“I don’t think they wanted to play us again until later,” he said. “They’re a strong team, and they want revenge on us.”