If you go…
What: Little Snake River Valley School (Baggs, Wyo.) six-man varsity football vs. Dubois High School
When: 3 p.m. today
Where: Dubois High School, 314 Helmer St., Dubois, Wyo.
— There is no cost for admission.
The toughest test the Little Snake River Valley School’s six-man varsity football team may have in repeating as state champions could come in today’s game against Dubois High School.
The Rattlers, 1-0 this season after mauling Ten Sleep High School last week, 45-6, are riding an 11-game winning streak.
But, the team from Baggs, Wyo., has never faced Dubois, also 1-0, and which finished last season at 10-2 as an 11-man team.
The Rams switched to six-man football for this season.
“Dubois is definitely a team that if you don’t have all your ducks in a row, the game could go either way,” LSRV head coach Mike Bates said. “Their players have a good understanding of the game and they are well coached, so we can’t handle them lightly.”
When the game kicks off at 3 p.m., the Rattlers will see something they don’t often come across in 1A six-man football — the option.
Dubois’ running back was the leading rusher in 1A 11-man football a season ago and rushed for 210 yards last week in a 49-20 victory against Midwest School.
The Rams’ second back is no slouch, either — he rushed for 195 yards against Midwest.
“It has been a while since we have faced a premiere running back,” Bates said. “They have two good backs and our kids know they are going to come out and punch it.”
To defend against the option, Bates said he worked with his defense on assignments and trust between players this week.
“Each guy is going to have to do their job, stay disciplined and trust that his teammates will do their job as well,” he said. “When you face an option team, too many players will go after the quarterback leaving the pitch man all alone. Guys are going to have to stay home or we will get burned.”
The Rattlers will also have to watch the Rams’ 6-foot-4-inch receiver.
Bates said if his players can stop the run, Dubois might start passing the ball to a wideout who can catch the ball “very well.”
“We have watched film from their game last week, but you can only get so much from one game,” he said. “Our defense is going to be very important in this game.”
Bates is looking to his two defensive linemen — Jake Ready and Garrett Grieve — as well as linebacker Cole Gourlay to make things happen against Dubois.
One of the determining factors, the coach said, should be turnovers.
“Last week against Midwest, Dubois was tied 20-20 in the third quarter, but caused a turnover in the end zone for a touchdown and ran an interception back for another touchdown,” Bates said. “If Gourlay, Grieve and Ready can control the run and we can win the turnover battle, I think that is where the game will be won.”
Offensively, Bates said he hopes to keep improving in both the run and the pass.
“Last week, I don’t think we played to where we should be, but toward the end we turned it up a notch,” he said. “We used a new formation for no huddle and scored a touchdown with it, so I hope to build on the success of that.”
Junior Zach Filip will be starting in his second game as quarterback for the Rattlers.
Bates said nerves affected Filip in his first game, but the coach expects a more composed field general against Dubois.
“I definitely want to pass more this week,” he said. “Zach had a good week of practice and I think he feels better going into this game, so he should be poised for a breakout performance.”
Still, Bates said every player will have to give it their all today against Dubois in one of the week’s premiere games in the state.
“A lot of people wouldn’t be surprised to see Dubois reach the state championship,” he said. “Our second week match-up could be who we end up playing for it all at the end of the season.”
Joshua Gordon can be reached at 875-1795 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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