WEST YELLOWSTONE — West Yellowstone football is 0-2 to start the season, but this is their first varsity year in two years and they’re looking to build from the ground up.
“To have such a young group of kids come out and face out against men in some circumstances, it was pretty difficult," said assistant coach Alma Clark. "Early on in the (2020) season we just didn’t have the numbers to continue on.”
That was the predicament the Wolverines were in last year trying to field a varsity team. This year, they’re playing at the 6-Man level with a team made up of mostly freshman and sophomores and they’re hoping to keep the kids wanting to play for years to come.
“They will be pretty good if they stick with it," Clark said on the potential of the young players in a few years. "Last year we had kind of a rebuilding year and even the seniors we had were just not enchanted with the idea of coming down off the idea to an 8-Man football high to be the bottom of the barrel. Convince these kids to stick with and give them a good experience in these earlier years, it’s crucial.”
This year the team could get better as they have players getting ready to suit up after being ineligible to play.
“Here in West Yellowstone, summer jobs are a top priority for a lot of these kids so they start a little later," said the assistant coach. "As we get more of our team eligible just by number of practices, some of the positions change.”
A player getting ready to suit up is Zach Guld, a senior transfer from Idaho who will play defensive end and quarterback.
“I think I can help give us a boost," he said. "Have some experience playing especially at a bigger, higher competitive level (in Idaho). I think I could help our team out that way.”
There’s only two other seniors on the team and Mason Burden is one of them. The wide receiver and outside linebacker has taken a leadership role on the Wolverines.
“I always tell them, 'It’s the desire to succeed, not the fear of failure,'"said Burden. "We don’t want to go out there thinking that we’re going to go and just get beat and worrying about going out and getting beat. We want to go out there wanting to win and that’s really what we’re trying to instill on those younger guys.”
No matter the wins or losses at the end of the year, Burden would like his team to just do their job.
“I’d like everybody to look back on the season, be proud of it," he said.
For the coaching staff, it’s all about seeing how the young squad has growth.
“That’s the goal right now. We know we’re young, we know we’re inexperienced but if we can come away from each of those games with our head held high and lessons to learn, we’re going to come out in a good way.”
West Yellowstone faces off against Bridger on Saturday night on the road.