Guernsey gets rude welcome to 9-Man football

Guernsey-Sunrise defensive back Aidan Noggle goes high in the air to pick off a pass in last Friday night’s game against Wyoming Indian. The young Vikings played hard in their first 9-Man football game. Photo by Mark DeLap

GUERNSEY – The Guernsey-Sunrise High School varsity football team was given a lesson in 9-Man football from Wyoming Indian High School who defeated the Vikings 40-6 last Friday night.

It was the first time that Guernsey had played 9-Man football, being in a 6-Man schedule for the past 10 years.

The young Vikings with not a lot of numbers leaving a lonely bench on the sidelines have lost some key players from last year’s team in both the skilled positions and the meat and potatoes of the O-line and D-line.

That being said, newcomers Caleb Christensen and Nathan VanNatter both were bright spots on the defense gathering both sacks and tackles. Add the experience of junior Aidan Noggle who had no trouble breaking up passes and snatching an interception. Freshman quarterback Malcolm Collar was not only introduced to 9-Man football, but jumped right into a varsity role and held his own.

The first quarter jitters gave way to two quick scores by Wyoming Indian, and although they may have thought the route was on, the Vikings held them scoreless in the second quarter and went into the half only two touchdowns down.

The third quarter again saw the opponents flex their experience muscles and put on a clinic with two more touchdowns in the third quarter. By the fourth quarter the lack of players and young players going both ways on offense and defense started to take a toll on the fatigued Vikings, but they never gave up nor indicated that they couldn’t take the rigorous pace of the game.

“We're a very young team, one of the youngest we've had in several years and with that comes growing pains,” head coach Curtis Cook said. “ I thought our defense was good at times and was our bright spot tonight.  We're going to look at film and see what we need to do offensively to get things moving in the right direction but most of our guys are still developing fundamentals.  With our low numbers unfortunately they're going to have to develop under fire.  We're going to also work on tuning out the crowd, some of our kids were negatively impacted by the hecklers and we need to be able to focus on what we're doing because in the end these games are for our students.”

Hecklers were out in force for the first game and words aimed at coaches also reached the ears of the kids as well as the opponents. As a young team, they played their hearts out and with time, this can be a very good team if the positives are accentuated and they are given time to develop without being wounded by “friendly fire.”

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