Little Snake River Valley School senior Zachary Filip carries the ball during the 2011 season. The Rattlers have started the season 3-1, and play Hanna/Elk Mountain/Medicine Bow today.

file photo

Little Snake River Valley School senior Zachary Filip carries the ball during the 2011 season. The Rattlers have started the season 3-1, and play Hanna/Elk Mountain/Medicine Bow today.

Snake River winstreak ends, but Rattlers still battling

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Snake River 2012 Football results...

Week 1 beat Ten Sleep 59-0

Week 2 lost to Dubois 43-36

Week 3 beat Guernsey 58-31

Week 4 beat Meeteetse 56-44

The winning streak has come to an end in Baggs.

The six-man football team from Little Snake River School, which went undefeated in each of the past two seasons en route to consecutive state titles, lost in the second week of the season to Dubois High School to bring its run to an end.

But the Rattlers are far from allowing their streak of championships to end as well.

The team expected to be a serious contender from the start of the season due to a large senior class, all with playing experience. But replacing last year’s stars and getting this year’s players in the right positions has proved to be a challenge.

“I spent a little time at the beginning of the year trying to figure out where to put these players compared to where they were last year,” head coach Mike Bates said. “In six man, its mandatory you put your best tacklers in the edge positions. We had bigger kids in those positions this year and we were asking them to run down all sorts of players. That just doesn’t work.”

Last year the Rattlers used Rex Stanley and Daniel Wille, two of their fastest players, in those defensive positions. Now Bates says they have gone back to that strategy and thinks he will see defensive improvement.

Senior Conner Lee acknowledged that the Rattlers struggled more than expected with replacing their former stars.

“I think we’ve had a little trouble filling spots from players we lost last year,” Lee said. “But we’re not starting to mesh and get good chemistry going with our defense.”

Not that Snake River has been poor this year. The Rattlers have still jumped out to a 3-1 record, averaging over 50 points per game with their one loss coming by seven points to the No. 1 ranked team in the state.

The loss might even be a blessing in disguise.

“I’m actually kind of glad the streak was over because everybody was looking at it to see if we could keep it going,” senior Jake Ready said. “Now the pressure’s off because everybody isn’t putting a target on our back.”

Lee knew the streak had to come to an end at some point.

“I mean, the winning streak is a school record,” he said. “I don’t feel it’s a big upset or anything. Sure, we didn’t get the state record, but a school record is a great accomplishment.”

With their players in what Bates thinks are the right places now, Snake River will be able to get a good idea of where it stands in the coming weeks. After playing rival Hanna/Elk Mountain/Medicine Bow (HEM) this weekend, the Rattlers travel to No. 3 Kaycee and play No. 4 Midwest at home.

“I think a lot of questions will be answered the next three weeks as far as the playoffs are concerned,” Bates said.

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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