Upcoming dates for Little Snake River Valley football season
Aug. 1 – WHSAA blackout rule in effect. Coaches may not have contact with players
Aug. 13 – First team practice
Aug. 24 – first scrimmage
Aug. 31 – First game
“I’ve been going down and working out just about every night. Just lifting weights and trying to be in shape for the season when it starts”
—Conner Lee, incoming LSRV senior, about the work he did this summer to prepare for football season
Little Snake River Valley High School is the two-time defending state champion in Wyoming 1A six-man football, and the team expects to continue its undefeated run.
Mike Bates thinks there’s a strong possibility that could happen.
The Rattlers head coach thinks his team this year has a chance to be his best ever, with nine players returning from last year’s state champion group as seniors.
To prepare themselves for the upcoming season, the Rattlers attended a four-day camp in June in Hayden, where they played eight-man and six-man scrimmages against other teams from Colorado and Wyoming.
Since then, players have been lifting weights and doing conditioning drills in preparation for the first practices of the year, as sanctioned by the Wyoming High School Activities Association, on Aug. 13.
It’s the team’s work ethic outside the season that Bates believes has given LSRV an edge over its opponents.
“The success we’ve had in the past, my guys know, has always been because of what we’ve done before the season,” Bates said.
Incoming senior Conner Lee, who plays wide receiver and safety for LSRV, said the players having been working hard all summer.
“I’ve been going down and working out just about every night,” Lee said. “Just lifting weights and trying to be in shape for the season when it starts.
“When I’m there, a bunch of kids are there working out with me. We’re just having fun with it and trying to make sure we start the season with a bang.”
The Rattlers are now approaching the end of conditioning and lifting with coaches. A WHSAA rule mandates that coaches cannot have contact of any kind with their players for 13 days leading up to the first practice of the year.
Despite losing his players for two weeks when August starts, Bates said he is happy with his team’s work this summer.
“I think our summer’s been good,” Bates said. “We have a solid core of kids that are working hard. At a meeting last night I got to see the majority of them and they are looking pretty good. I think they took the summer seriously.”
LSRV will have two practices per day for two weeks to kick off the season, Bates said. It will play its first scrimmage Aug. 24, and its first game Aug. 31.
LSRV lost several starters from last year’s state champion team, including 1A all-state offensive player of the year Daniel Wille. Both Bates and Lee believe this team is ready to fill those shoes.
“I think we’re ready,” Bates said. “These kids played a lot of time last year. I pretty much have my whole defense back. There will be a learning curve for some of them, but the majority are ready. And two-a-days is going to shore that up even more.”
Lee said the experience of practicing against some of the state’s best will make players who were substitutes last year better players in 2012.
“Even not in games last season, we were still going up against the best offense or the best defense in the six-man league,” he said. “So we got good reps every time. It’s going to improve us. Everybody is ready to play at the varsity level because of the level we play at in practice.”
The incoming seniors are the first to play four years of football at LSRV. Lee said there will not be a letdown in the team’s energy in his final season.
“The excitement level is just as high, if not higher than last year,” he said. “I think that’s because everybody wants to knock Snake River off from winning. We’re so amped for the season.”
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