Oct 2, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorTaking care of the football is an important reason Lander Valley High School is 1-1 in the Class 3-A East conference after a difficult start to the season.
In a 10-7 win over Torrington two weeks ago, the Tigers only turnover was a blocked punt.
Douglas escaped with a 9-7 win on Friday, Sept. 28, at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium. LVHS had one fumble in the defensive battle.
"We were averaging over five turnovers a game in the first couple of games, and that really put us in a hole. It caused some problems," LVHS football coach Doug Hughes said.
In the first two weeks of the season, Cody blanked LVHS 28-0, and Star Valley rolled to a 68-0 victory.
"We have focused on not turning the ball over and keeping ahold of it," Hughes said. "That has helped."
Another reason for Lander's turnaround is the attitude in the games and on the practice field.
"Our kids have really buckled down and worked hard. They are giving it everything they have on the field and not worrying so much about wins and losses," Hughes said. "They are just trying to do their best every week. That attitude has helped us tremendously."
The Tigers play at 7 p.m. Friday in Buffalo.
"We know that the Buffalo game is going to be a difficult task for us," Hughes said. "I think that our kids are up for the challenge."
The Bison fell to Riverton 30-14 last Friday night at Wolverine Field.
"Buffalo's tradition in the past really carries them a long way at home," Hughes said.
"The line is playing well as a whole," Hughes said. "You can't give credit to one guy."
Jason Hanson is the center for the Tigers. Kyle LaTorre and Austin Coppock are the LVHS guards.
Brothers Rob and Ross Sloss play the offensive tackles.
"They have all done a very nice job in controlling the line of scrimmage for us," Hughes said.
Hughes said Buffalo's linemen average more than 200 pounds per position.
"They do have some size and strong kids," Hughes said.
"Our line is going to have its work cut out."
In the two-point setback to Douglas, Lander's Jake Miller had 10 carries for 51 yards.
Alex Bone had a 23-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for the Tigers.
"It probably would be a low-scoring game," Hughes said. "Both offensives depend heavily on the run."
Douglas and Riverton High School are tied for first in the Class 3-A East conference with 2-0 conference marks. The Bearcats are 4-1 overall and the Wolverines are 3-2.
"By looking at the conference standings right now, Douglas and Riverton have the advantage in terms of the top seed," Hughes said.
LVHS and Rawlins are tied at 1-1 in conference play. Rawlins beat Torrington last week 27-17 to break a 35-game losing streak
LVHS plays the Rawlins in a home game at Bills Bush Memorial Stadium on Friday, Oct. 12. Buffalo and Torrington are both winless in conference at 0-2.
"The Lander-Buffalo game is a key game for qualifying for the playoffs," Hughes said.
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