Lander splits scrimmages at home jamboreeAug 27, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Lander Valley High School's football squad continued to get ready for its season opener against Green River on Friday with a home scrimmage against Pinedale and Big Piney at Bill Bush Stadium on Saturday.
The event was set up as a jamboree, with three games of two quarters each, as the teams each played a total of four quarters apiece -- or the equivalent of a full game.
The Tigers came out strong against the Wranglers and emerged with a 6-0 victory, as Jori Shakespeare scored the lone touchdown of the contest.
Next up were the Punchers of Big Piney, who were in midseason form during a 28-0 win.
But this week wasn't necessarily about results, as the event was set up as a training exercise in a real-game situation.
According to Lander head coach John Rounds, the jamboree was a result of bringing some stability to the usual uncertainty of week zero.
"Finding zero-week games is always interesting," said Rounds."This jamboree was actually the idea of Douglas, who was supposed to be part of it, but due to their schedule, had to back out and pick up Powell as a game that counted.But, I think the format was good and all the teams involved got reps."
Rounds was pleased with much of what he saw in the opener against the Wranglers.
"Initially, on the offensive side of the ball, I thought the backs ran hard.At times, I liked the way the offensive line fired off the ball and maintained their blocks," he said."Defensively, I thought in the first scrimmage against Pinedale, we did a good job of flying to ball and getting off blocks to make plays."
But, it wasn't all rosy, said Rounds.
"Offensively, we have to hold onto the ball.We had too many mistakes with dropped snaps, fumbles, interceptions, etc. --that's something we have to clean up," he said."Defensively, in the second scrimmage, we didn't have the same energy level and you could see it at times when we were close, but didn't make plays.We have to be able to play four quarters on both sides of the ball."
Despite the fact practice only began for his squad two weeks ago, the Tigers boss has already seen improvement in his team, he said.
"I do think we've made a lot of progress," said Rounds."However, this was an opportunity to test that against other teams and we were able to see some areas we need to continue to focus and improve upon."
As far as the Wolves' Week 1 visit, Rounds knows his club is definitely in for a battle, he said.
"Green River is going to be a tough challenge," he said."They're coming off a season in which they went to the state semifinals and have a lot of players coming back.But, if we can execute, minimize mistakes and play our game, I believe we can play with anyone."
Rounds is entering his fourth season as Tigers head coach and feels the program is moving along well, he said.
"We're continuing to progress in the right direction," said Rounds."We felt better coming into these scrimmages than last year and think our offseason program played a big role in that. We still have a lot of work to do, but football in Lander is getting better and we're looking forward to competing every week this season."