After months of not talking about it, the only thing left for the Little Snake River Valley School six-man varsity football team to do this season is win the state title.
The Rattlers battle Dubois High School at 10 a.m. today at War Memorial Stadium at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.
LSRV, the defending Wyoming 1A six-man state champions and owners of a 20-game win streak, continued to rout teams this season led by head coach Mike Bates.
However, Bates said all season the team would take one game at a time and not discuss the win streak or another title.
Now, the state title is what’s at stake, he said.
“We still don’t talk about the win streak too much or give it much credence, but a state title has been our goal all year,” he said. “Now, we have to focus and take care of business. The guys have been super focused all week and know they have to give it their all.”
The Rattlers (10-0) defeated Kaycee High School last week, 66-15, to advance to the title game while Dubois took care of Midwest School, 75-46.
In the Rams’ (9-1) first year as a six-man program, their only loss came in week 2 against LSRV, 66-24, in Dubois.
Bates said the team isn’t too worried about playing Dubois for a second time this season.
“There are teams all over Wyoming who have been running the same offense for years,” he said. “It boils down to if you can stop them or not. They know that we live and die by the sweep and they may be able to guess what we are going to do, but they still have to stop us.”
Bates said the run game is still his team’s staple, but an evolving pass game in the past few weeks gives the Rattlers options.
Junior quarterback Zach Filip threw three touchdown passes in the win over Kaycee.
“We have the ability to spread our offense out and run some pass plays,” Bates said. “Defenses will look for the run, and we can pass. We can run a pass play on first-and-15 without skipping a beat.”
Defensively, Bates said he is expecting Dubois to pound the ball up the middle.
The starting LSRV defense has only allowed one touchdown in two playoff games.
“We have been focusing on defending the run in practice, and I think the guys are both mentally and physically prepared,” Bates said. “(Dubois) scored on us in the last game, and we know it is going to be a smash mouth game.
“If we can cause some turnovers and maybe get some points from those, I think we will be successful.”
Bates said the team’s success over the past two years is as much a compliment to him as it is to his coaching staff — Scott Herold, Jesse Herold and Jack Cobb.
The openness and flexibility of the coaches, Bates said, has translated to the kids.
However, the players’ success in other ventures — basketball, track and academics — is another reason the Rattlers could bring home their second straight football state title.
“A lot of these guys were tri-state champions last year in football, basketball and track,” he said. “They know the focus they need and they can keep the big game in perspective, which makes it easy for us coaches.
“If we play our game and get our blocks, we should come out ahead.”
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