Middle School football fills field with talent once again

BY: Shawn O’Brate

FREMONT COUNTY – With so many sports to watch for over the course of every week it’s easy to let certain teams or games fall by the wayside, even if your family is involved in said team or game. 

That could be said about middle school football around the county, and the state for that matter, but with COVID restrictions slipping away and more kids becoming interested in the middle school level football talent is slowly returning to bigger and better numbers. 

8th Graders from Lander celebrated their win over Worland (p/c Sheli Chance)

Schools like Fort Washakie, St. Stephens, Lander and more are all getting back to ‘normal’ after the two-year removal from normalcy and coaches are finding that their teams are becoming stacked with firepower on both sides of the ball. 

“I love coaching the kids and watching them grow as young men and players,” Fort Washakie coach Shannon Stephenson said about his little Eagles. 

Those Eagles look like small men on the field under their pads and maroon jerseys, especially some that have hit their growth spurts a little earlier than others. And they all looked like winners on Tuesday afternoon as they beat up on the St. Stephens’ team in a 60-42 victory. 

One of the main reasons that middle school football is so important is the way the players grow in their roles before taking on tougher, bigger, stronger competition when they enter the high school rankings and play for their local high school teams. 

St. Stephens’ Evan Oldman ran in the touchdown against Fort Washakie on Tuesday (p/c Shawn O’Brate)

The Riverton Junior Football league, if you read last weekend’s Ranger or Lander Journal, has multiple goals for their young 1st grade–6th grade footballers but one of them is to set them up for success in high school. 

“Ultimately, our goal is to win State Championships at the high school level,” Jarrett Watson of the Riverton Junior Football League.

Fort Washakie’s Andre Friday attempted to stiff arm the St. Stephens defender on Tuesday (p/c Shawn O’Brate)

That is one of the major goals of middle school football as well, but with their own championships and their own league winners that all fight for their own notoriety, all they need is the support of their fans, their family, and the rest of their local community that might not know much about middle school football. 

You can support your local team by going to games, donating to the fundraisers, and finding out more information through Facebook accounts and through the schools that they play for.