Kemmerer Football will not officially practice until August 19th, but head coach Bart Jernigan has been getting his team ready for the 2019 season with summer camps.
He says they worked on basic, fundamental drills. He felt his team needed to go back to the basics on certain aspects.
“When we looked at last season,” Jernigan said. “We saw a couple games that came down to a miss tackle here or a miss block there. Figured we needed to clean up that technical stuff.”
He said they also had a smaller camp where he started working on implementing their offense and defense. Of course no football offseason is complete without some good weight training.
Mountain View looks to be the favorite in the 2A West with five all-state players returning. However, Jernigan says the division may be more wide open than in year’s past.
“We’ll all be battling to catch up to (Mountain View),”, Jernigan said. “But how it stacks out behind them is going to be very interesting. I think it’s going to be very, very close games that are going to decide it. I’m very excited to see how it plays out.”
Last year the Rangers got back to the playoffs and had a big win against Pinedale and the Kemmerer coach is hoping to build off some of that success into this season.
“Pinedale was huge,” Jernigan said. “It was a statement game for our program and our kids.”
He says in past seasons they’ve changed up what the team runs year-to-year. This season he says the systems will be the same to hopefully have more continuity.
“These seniors, these juniors, these sophomores have now seen a senior class take some leadership, win some big games,” Jernigan said. “We were happy to make the playoffs last year and certainly that is not the peak of our aspirations.”
He says his team would love to host a playoff game in November. He says it will be the experience of his squad that will carry the team.
“I’m a big believer you win on Friday nights with senior experience and leadership,” Jernigan said. “They’re going to do a really good job to help fill the void that was left by the class that graduated last year.”
The Rangers coach said Zero week the team will head to Shoshoni High School to do some scrimmages with Shoshoni, Thermopolis, and Wind River. He says this will give the team an opportunity to see different types of offenses and defenses.
The Rangers originally was set to play Saratoga the first game of the season, but Saratoga dropped to 6-man. So Kemmerer will host Riverton’s JV team instead.
Week two will be at Lyman. From there they will host Pinedale and Big Piney to finish up September. Jernigan says this will be a huge stretch for the team especially because it isn’t as travel heavy in September.
“We’re grateful,” Jernigan said. “Give us a really good, short couple travel games…that will put us in really good position to play our best.”
The season will officially kick off with a Thursday game on September 5th at 7 P.M. when the Rangers host Riverton’s JV squad.