I survived a night in the junior football trenches

Sep 5, 2013 By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The legs are sore.

I could barely get out of bed this morning to go for my daily walk, but I made it.

I had a hard time walking into the office from my car, and I parked close by. I didn't even show up for work until almost 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

I wasn't sick. I just had a hard night of Riverton Junior Football practice.

I'm part of the coaching staff of the 49ers. With only 16 players at practice, it's a must for parents and coaches to help out with the scout team offense.

I was part of that process last night.

Last year was easy because the 49ers had a former Chadron State running back and a former University of Wyoming linebacker on the coaching staff.

They enjoyed running plays with the team and doing all the drills with the players. I was just able to sit back and and coach.

This year, those two coaches aren't with us.

That means it's up to me to step in there and mix things up with the fifth- and sixth-graders on the team.

I played right guard for about 30 minutes when the team was focusing on defense. That is the same position I played for the Riverton Wolverines back in my playing days.

It almost felt like old times.

One thing was different on Wednesday night. I didn't have any pads or a helmet on, while the other players had all the right equipment. I escaped without any major injures in my time on the field.

During the plays, it was my job to block our linebackers. I even helped the center with the defensive lineman in trying to pave the way for the running back or the quarterback.

I didn't volunteer to be a pulling guard because that would have taken too much work.

I didn't want to run the ball or be the quarterback. Those positions belonged to the other parents. And I would have been exhausted.

I made sure not to jump the snap count. I stayed in my stance and went at the right time. I did not want to get a penalty called on me.

I did hustle up to the line before the ball was hiked to be a good example to the younger players. I was pretty happy when the drills were over, but I came unprepared because I didn't have any water to drink when the other players were resting.

I will come better prepared next time.

I might even ask if I could be a pulling guard or even go out for a pass.

My former RHS football coaches and teammates would have been so proud of me because I survived a night in the trenches with the 49ers.

But I won't be walking very well for awhile.

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