Mike Bates thought No. 3-ranked Kaycee would pose a serious threat to his Little Snake River Valley School Rattlers' 16-game winning streak.
Instead, the defending champs took a 33-0 first-quarter lead and the Buckaroos never threatened LSRV in a chilly 66-6 rout Friday in Baggs.
“Just when I thought we got a little better, we get a lot better,” Bates said. “If we're not as good as we're going to get, it's going to be a little scary in the playoffs. I don't think we are.”
Despite nose tackle Jacob Ready playing at 80 to 90 percent because of an illness, the Rattlers (6-0, 2-0 Six-man South) limited Kaycee’s offense. The Buckaroos (4-2, 2-1 Six-man North) didn't enter LSRV territory until midway through the second quarter.
“We did our homework on them,” Bates said. “We came out and played exceptional.”
LSRV led wire-to-wire, starting with a 48-yard touchdown catch by Rex Stanley, who moments earlier was anointed Homecoming king.
Quarterback Zach Filip faked an inside handoff, rolled right and found Stanley in the right flat. Stanley outran Kaycee's single coverage and tiptoed just inside the sideline to the end zone, giving the Rattlers a 6-0 lead.
Manny Quinteros made his first of several tide-turning defensive plays on Kaycee's next possession, stuffing the Buckaroos short of converting a fourth and 1.
The turnover on downs gave the Rattlers possession in Kaycee territory, and Daniel Wille finished a quick drive with a 7-yard touchdown run on a misdirection handoff around the left end of the Buckaroo line. The Rattlers led, 14-0.
LSRV forced a three-and-out on the following Buckaroo drive when Quinteros sniffed out a run-pass option play in the Kaycee backfield to bring up fourth down and 17.
Filip completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Miles Engelhart on the first play of the ensuing Rattler drive, giving LSRV a 20-0 lead.
An Engelhart interception ended Kaycee's next drive, and two plays later, Quinteros took an inside handoff 7 yards to give the Rattlers a 26-0 lead.
The Buckaroos lost ground again on their next possession, punting on fourth and 22 after Stanley hit Kaycee running back Chase Gosney for a 7-yard loss.
The punt pinned LSRV at its own 10-yard line, but Wille gained it all back in one carry, scooting 70 yards for a score on a sweep to the right, giving the Rattlers a 33-0 lead.
Kaycee signal caller James Caro provided the Buckaroos' first sign of life in the second quarter, carrying the ball 23 yards on a quarterback keeper for a touchdown.
Caro's scramble closed the gap to 39-6, but Wille took a Filip pass 47 yards for a touchdown on the following play, giving the Rattlers a 46-6 lead.
Quinteros stopped Kaycee's only other chances at narrowing LSRV's lead. The Rattler junior forced two Buckaroo turnovers inside the LSRV 5-yard line, intercepting a pass with 12 seconds remaining in the first half and recovering a fumble early in the third quarter.
“Manny came in and did his job and was there for the pick-ups,” Bates said.
Quinteros, who finished with six tackles, said the defensive effort was crucial against a bigger team, especially with Ready playing at less than 100 percent.
“I knew we had to step up because they're a pretty big team,” Quinteros said. “If we didn't step up, it would have been pretty bad for us.”
The Rattlers’ rushing attack gained 338 yards on Kaycee, including 205 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries from Wille.
Quinteros carried the ball eight times for 78 yards and two scores, and Garrett Grieves added 41 yards and a touchdown on two late-game carries.
Filip completed four passes for four touchdowns, two caught by Engelhart, one by Stanley, and the last to Wille.
Cole Gourlay finished with 14 total tackles and Ready finished with five tackles, including a sack.
The Rattlers’ next game is Friday, when they visit Midwest (4-1, 2-0 Six-man South).
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