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Smaller Minatare team looking for larger success
August 26, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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The 2016 Minatare High School football team includes, from left to right in the back row: Caesar Garduno, Ephroen Lovato, Kyler Lane, Rome Lerma, Destin Standley and Darrian Gutierrez. Front row: Kaleb Gonzales, Gilbert Rodriguez, Isaac Gomez and Ivan Gibbons. Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen

Coming off a 3-5 record from last season, the Minatare Indians football team is making improvements while trying to keep injuries to a minimum. Minatare plays six-man football in the Minuteman Activities Conference.

“We need to keep the injury bug away from us,” said Head Coach and former Minatare player JJ Ozuna, now in his fifth year. “We were expecting a lot of guys to come out, but that didn’t happen. Our numbers are down and we’ve already had a couple of injuries.”

Ozuna said his goal is to field a competitive team for every game.
With the six-man format, players are on both offense and defense and they’ve been practicing at a number of different positions. He also wants to implement an accountability system to assure the players stay eligible.

“One of our big games of the year is against Arthur,” Ozuna said. “We haven’t beat them since I’ve been coaching and it’s kind of a rivalry. We also want to see what kind of team Banner County has after a year off.”

One of the challenges in six-man football has been traveling long distances for away games. Ozuna said that in past years, several of the schools Minatare plays are in the Grand Island area. But recently, more of the smaller schools in western Nebraska have been going to six-man, so teams aren’t faced with long travel distances.

“Our first game is on the 26th at home, which is nice,” Ozuna said. “We’re playing South Platte. They moved down to six-man this year, so we’re not that familiar with the team. A couple of other teams also went to six-man.”

While there will be adjustments along the way, Ozuna and his team is looking forward to the 2016 season with the goal of putting more games in the win category.

Team Schedule:

Aug. 26 vs. South Platte 6 p.m.

Sept. 2 at Cody-Kilgore 1 p.m.

Sept. 9 vs. Arthur County 6 p.m.

Sept. 16 at Banner County 7 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. Potter-Dix 7 p.m.

Sept. 30 at Hay Springs 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 Bye

Oct. 14 at Hyannis 6 p.m.

Oct. 21 vs. Sioux County 7 p.m.

Oc. 29 State Playoffs TBA

Nov. 4 State Playoffs TBA

Nov. 11 State Championship TBD
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