Another week, another familiar foe for the Little Snake River Valley School’s six-man varsity football team.
Last week, the Rattlers played at Hanna-Elk Mountain High School, a rematch of the 2010 1A Wyoming State Championship game. LSRV won, 52-0.
On Friday, the Rattlers welcome Kaycee High School, the team LSRV beat in the semifinals of last year’s playoffs.
The LSRV homecoming game is scheduled for 2 p.m.
“(Kaycee) was in the state championship game in our first year in 2009, but last year they ended up with fourth place and had to play us in the second round,” head coach Mike Bates said. “They thought if they could play us at home or on a neutral site they could take us, but I begged to differ.”
The Rattlers (5-0) beat Kaycee in both the regular season and playoff game last season.
However, with the distraction of homecoming, Bates said his players need to be ready more than ever.
“This is a game that has postseason implications, so being our homecoming, I think it gives the players a boost of confidence heading in,” he said. “There are a lot of distractions, which the mature kids can handle, but us coaches need to do our jobs and keep everyone focused.
“I tell the kids there is all these homecoming festivities because of the football game, so we need to do our job.”
Kaycee, which is 4-1, lost to Dubois High School on Sept. 23.
In the 50-34 loss, Kaycee threw the ball for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
Bates said facing a team that is efficient in the passing game would be a test for his defense.
“They run it up the middle, but I think with Jake (Ready) in there, we can stop that,” he said. “If we stop their run, they will have to pass. We have one of the best pass defenses around, so I think our players are foaming at the mouth for this chance.”
The game changer, Bates said, could be turnovers.
“We have a bend-but-don’t-break policy on defense,” he said. “We can let them complete a few, but we want to stop them before they get to the red zone. If we can get an interception there, it is huge.
“I think whichever defense plays better will be indicated on the score board.”
Much of the team’s success, Bates said, is because of the collection of talent he has.
“Most teams have about one or two kids who are athletic and fast, but we have a whole team of those type of kids,” he said. “I don’t think I will ever be in a coaching situation like this again with this many good athletes.
“We have to keep them all satisfied because they are all capable of big things.”
Besides a larger-than-normal crowd, Bates said the players would also be performing in front of 2011 LSRV graduates, who played on last year’s state championship team.
“It is hard to replace Sean (Rietveld) and Chance (Englehart), but I think our team is even stronger than last year,” he said. “Our program’s success is all because of the guys who helped start it, so a chance for them to see how we are this year is big.”
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