Trust in team pays off for seventh-graders

Football squad takes conference title

Posted 11/26/19

Going into their season finale, players on the Powell Middle School seventh-grade football team faced a straightforward mission: Beat Lander and take the conference championship; lose and finish as …

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Trust in team pays off for seventh-graders

Football squad takes conference title

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Going into their season finale, players on the Powell Middle School seventh-grade football team faced a straightforward mission: Beat Lander and take the conference championship; lose and finish as runners-up to Cody.

The Cubs thumped the Tigers 32-8 in Lander to seize their third title in four years.

“The kids just kept working, believed in the system and just got better each and every week,” said seventh-grade head coach Juston Carter.

The team didn’t have any standout stars, Carter said, which perhaps made the squad’s 6-2 season even more notable.

“They did an awesome job of just playing together as a team, which made them really tough as a group,” Carter said.

While some young athletes try to do too much, these players “didn’t try to be superstars,” the coach said. “They took care of their job and they trusted their teammates to take care of their jobs — and that worked out well for us.”

The Powell Middle School boys opened the season by walloping Riverton and Laurel, Montana, by scores of 34-0 and 36-0.

That was followed by a 42-7 loss to Sheridan, a “super tough” non-conference opponent, Carter said, but the Cubs rebounded to drub Rocky Mountain 38-6.

Next up was a showdown with a Cody squad that had beaten the Powell team in a pre-season scrimmage. When it counted, however, the Cubs turned the tables, running away with a 34-0 victory. Carter said it was testament to the players’ belief in the coaching system and putting in the work at practice to improve every day.

“We were really able to see that when we played Cody the second time,” he said.

The Cubs suffered a bit of a letdown after the win over their cross-county rivals; they dropped a 20-14 heartbreaker to Worland after fumbling on the first play of overtime.

Powell’s seventh-grade boys bounced back again, however, beating Lovell 30-22 and then finishing the year with the 32-8 win over Lander.

Carter was impressed with the seventh-graders’ leadership throughout the year — and particularly with quarterback Keona Wisniewski and fullback Trevon Abraham.

“They were just really good leaders,” Carter said. “They stayed positive in the huddles; they encouraged the rest of their teammates.”

It was the second straight conference title for the seventh-grade team — and members of the 2018 squad went on to win the conference title as eighth-graders this year.

The coaches at the middle school work with Powell High School’s coaches to teach the same foundations used by the Panthers, so the high school team should have some good incoming recruits.

Carter has also heard there’s a pretty good sixth-grade class that he’ll be coaching next year.

“... I’m real excited about what the future holds for Powell football,” he said.

Carter is assisted by fellow coaches Stan Hedges and Nick Fulton.

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