Herders focus on technique for coming season

Following a 4-4 campaign that saw the Big Timber Sheepherder football team fall one win short of a playoff berth, head coach Bruce Bell believes his team is ready to take the next step as they prepare to embark on their 2015 season.

The Herders had a shot at the playoffs last season, but a loss in the final game of the year dashed their hopes. Big Timber returns six starters on offense, as well as six starters on defense as they try to build on last year.

“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Bell said when asked if the team goal was to reach the playoffs. “Like all Class B teams, because of our numbers, we’re in a situation where injuries could hurt us significantly.”

Big Timber returns experienced players at a lot of important positions.

“We have great leadership from our seniors,” he said. “And our skill players are one of our strengths.”

The Herders will have quarterback Ryan Morgan back after being named All-Conference last season. Morgan also returns his top two receiving targets from last season in Luke Rech and Brent Finn.

Rech and Finn were both All-Conference last season, as well.

One problem the team could encounter this season is size, or lack thereof.

“We’re not very big,” Bell said. “We’re having to do some things to try to overcome that size difference, like teach our technique well.”

One way the Herders hope to overcome the size difference is by knowing their assignments as well as possible.

“We haven’t changed that much offensively or defensively from last year, we are just trying to do it better,” Bell said. 

Big Timber’s first game of the season was Friday, Aug. 28, at home against Whitehall. The Herders’ homecoming game will be Sept. 11 versus Manhattan, and the team’s final home game will serve as Senior Night Oct. 23 against Red Lodge.

By Thomas Watson / Yellowstone Newspapers

Photo by Mackenzie Reiss / Big Timber Pioneer