After a roaring season-opening win, Box Elder braces for a huge showdown with rival Big Sandy
If last weekend was any kind of preview into the future of the Northern C Six-Man football season, final standings at the end of the season may be flipped upside down compared to recent years.
For a while now, the Big Sandy Pioneers have been a powerhouse in Six-Man football. That fact was highlighted by a trip to the state championship game last year. And on the flipside, and just a 10 mile trip down the road, the Box Elder Bears are relatively new to the 6-Man scene and have struggled to even find a win. Last year the Bears turned in a 0-8 record while the Pioneers finished 10-2 after a loss in the title game.
But after a long offseason, both teams enter 2013 knowing just how tough it is to succeed in the 6-Man ranks, as well as come in prepared to make some noise with their efforts. And with could be an early decisive game in the Northern C ranks, these two teams will face off on Saturday afternoon in Box Elder. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
The Bears are coming off of their first varsity win since their first full season of football in 2011. This is just the second varsity season for the Bears, a team which finished 0-8 last season, and 3-3 two years ago in their final season of junior varsity play.
But last weekend, the Bears put their mark on Six-Man football, grabbing a surprising win over West Yellowstone on the road. With a 62-0 win, and a 1-0 start to the season, Bears and Bears’ fans are hoping this is trend, and not just a flash in the pan.
On the other hand, Big Sandy suffered a rare early season loss in its debut last weekend at home. Clark Fork defeated the Pioneers 30-19, giving up scores on the ground, through the air, and on special teams. Jerry Hanson is a bright spot on the young team this year, and is coming off of a weekend where he scored all three touchdowns for the Pioneers. Hanson scored on a seven-yard run, a 34-yard pass from veteran leader Kyle Strutz, and on a five-yard run.
If the Pioneers want to find a way to win moving forward, including against Box Elder on Saturday, Strutz and Hanson have to have similar productivity. Jacob Schuster and Cody Bailey, two juniors also have to pitch in. Box Elder has talented leaders like Brandon The Boy and Will Ketchum to lean on, but also have their deepest roster in years, housing Alex Gardipee, Bodis Duran, Brandon Belgrade, Jake Jones, Jarod Four Souls, Jason Bradley, Jerrod Four Colors, Jordan Parker, Klay Duran, Robert Gardipee, Shane Ketchum, and Slayte Duran.
The last couple meetings between the Pioneers and Bears have been pretty one-sided, but things could be different this time around. Big Sandy has dominated the rivalry, but riding the momentum of a 62-point outing, the speedy and athletic Bears could follow a week one surprise with a week two win.
The Bears and Pioneers will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. in Box Elder.