Aug 21, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorWorking on offensive plays has been the top priority for Lander Valley High School on the football field in the first week of practice.
The Tigers opened the season with two-a-day drills the first three days of practice. LVHS is now holding one practice each day.
"The kids are starting to pick up the offense pretty well," LVHS coach Doug Hughes said. "We have only one returning starter on offense and defense. The kids are working hard and getting things done."
The Tigers lost many key players from the 2011 team. LVHS qualified for the Class 3-A playoffs, losing to Powell in the first round at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
Powell went on to beat Douglas in the Class 3-A state title game.
"They need to step up to the next level," said Hughes about his young squad. "Without a lot of returning starters, a lot of kids are going to be put into spots where they will have to see what varsity speed is like. They will have to make decisions quicker."
Hughes said his LVHS players will be going around town Thursday night and selling booster cards for $10.
"There are several businesses in Lander and Riverton that have donated a lot of things where they can get discounts," Hughes said.
The Tigers plan a 6 p.m. meeting Thursday for football parents and players at the LVHS commons area.
Junior Jack Mazurie is the lone returning starter for the Tigers this year.
Mazurie played tailback and outside linebacker as a sophomore.
"Jack has improved tremendously over the summer," Hughes said. "He really has put in a lot of time in the weightroom. He has increased his strength and speed. He went down to a camp in Denver, and he did very well.
Hughes said Mazurie will be counted on to do a number of things year.
"Jack is going to be a mainstay in both of our offense and defense," Hughes said.
Junior Tyler Baker is on track to be the starting quarterback.
Austin Roberts graduated last year after playing in the position the last two years. Baker was the starting junior varsity quarterback.
"Right now, Tyler has the No. 1 position," Hughes said. "He is doing a real nice job for us. He got a few snaps in the varsity for us last year."
Sophomores Andrew Von Rein and Pete Spriggs are other quarterback candidates.
"We will review film on Saturday and determine who is going to be where for the upcoming season," Hughes said.
Mike Ragan returns as the defensive coordinator for the Tigers. John Rounds is the offensive line and linebackers coach.
"Coach Rounds also coaches our special teams," Hughes said. "He has done that for several years.
Steve Simpson works with the skill players.
"Coach Simpson has a lot of experience as a head coach," Hughes said.
Dean Schaff and Nick Fulton are the LVHS freshman coaches.
"They also have responsibilities in the varsity program," Hughes said. "I really enjoy working with these coaches. They have the best interest of the kids."
The Tigers start the season at 11 a.m. Saturday by hosting Kemmerer in the "week zero" contest at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium.
"We will probably play three quarters with the varsity," Hughes said. "We will play three or four series with the junior varsity. "
The score will be kept on the scoreboard, but the game doesn't count in the regular season standings. The Rangers are in the Class 2-A West division.
"Kemmerer is a very good opponent," Hughes said. "They are a very strong team. In the past, they have run a tight formation. It will give us a chance to see who is tough inside."
Buffalo, Douglas, LVHS, Rawlins, Riverton and Torrington are in the Class 3-A East division.
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