Playoff-bound LSRV Rattlers look to seize home-field advantage | CraigDailyPress.com

Playoff-bound LSRV Rattlers look to seize home-field advantage

Joshua Gordon

With a spot in Wyoming's 1A state playoffs clinched, the Little Snake River Valley School's six-man varsity football team will be battling for home-field advantage today.

The Rattlers, 6-0 and owners of a 16-game winning streak stretching back to last season, travel today to Midwest School to battle the 5-1 Oilers.

The game is scheduled for 6 p.m.

"These next two games are definitely huge games," head coach Mike Bates said. "If we drop both, we would still go to the playoffs but we wouldn't get home-field advantage and we wouldn't win our conference.

"If Midwest can beat us, they not only beat the No. 1 team in the state, but they pretty much wrap up home field."

Since falling to Dubois High School in the season opener, Midwest has won five straight.

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Unlike most teams in Wyoming 1A, Bates said the Oilers like to throw the ball.

"(Midwest) comes out and they throw probably about 75 to 80 percent of the time," he said. "But, they don't have just one set of players they target. They have about seven or eight kids who they can go to and they are also capable of running stretches and pitches.

"This is definitely a game that I preach responsibility and staying home to the defense."

Bates said turnovers should play a factor and his team has no problem in the turnover category.

The Rattlers have 15 interceptions on the season.

"I think, more than anything, we just have the right kid in the right place," Bates said about his team's ability to force turnovers. "We run a zone-to-man concept as well as cover 3, but we have speedy kids who can watch more than just their territory."

When is comes to short passes, Bates said LSRV defenders will allow a little leeway.

"We can let a few short passes go, but we want to watch deep," he said. "Plus, if we give up a short pass, we are there and they can listen and hear us coming, so we may still pop a ball loose."

Offensively, Bates said the Rattlers would also be airing it out more.

LSRV put in the shotgun formation this week, allowing the team to spread the field more, he said.

"We have a split-back, shotgun formation that gives us about three or four new plays, but also allows us to run some of our normal plays out of it," Bates said. "We are usually under center about 95 percent of the time, but we have practiced spread formations in practice, so I think it will confuse some defenses."

Bates said he would be looking to senior Rex Stanley to have an impact on the game on both sides of the ball.

"Rex has had some quiet but effective games at wideout basically in a supporting role blocking for Dan (Wille)," he said. "But, spreading things out more I think he can have a breakout game. And, he will start at defensive end this week and he has a lot of speed to make things happen."

Today's game will be the first night game for the Rattlers this year.

Bates said securing a playoff spot was huge, but his players can't let up now.

"I think home-field advantage is a big drive for the kids," he said. "We aren't talking much about the wins or losses and not at all about the streak. We just have to go out there and take care of business."

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If you go …

What: Little Snake River Valley School six-man varsity football vs. Midwest School

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Midwest School, 256 Lewis St., in Midwest, Wyo.

— Admission is free

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