Pups born to greatness in Wheatland

Grady Bohlander carries the ball on an end sweep in a home game this year against a strong Burns team. The Wheatland Pups prevailed in the game 22-6. Jaxson Kafka who plays on both the offensive and defensive line can’t help but smile at the opportunity to strap on the pads and play some tackle football. He is also excited at the camaraderie on the team. Shown also at the end of the article, quarterback Griff Nichols (14)

WHEATLAND – Blaine Eppel has raised a group of pups that have been groomed to one day be strong Bulldogs.

Eppel who has been the head coach for the Wheatland Pups for six years said that he had an excellent group of young kids this year.

“The size that we have is a lot smaller than in years past, but we have some real speed,” he said. “The are so willing to fly around and hit people, but most of all we have a group of kids so willing to learn.”

Although the Pups did have a bit of a history before 2010, that was the year when the group reorganized and became consistent in their play and their schedule. On a Sept. 16 interview with Eppel, the kids had played against Burns and dominated with a score of 22-6.

“The kids really showed up and focused on the things we worked on individually,” Eppel said. “They are starting to focus on their own individual jobs instead of worrying about what everybody else is doing. In just a week, I’ve seen them grow tremendously.”

Most of the younger kids were brand-new to tackle football, but Eppel said they were quick learners who had a lot of growth potential and a lot of confidence.

“I really like to play physical football,” he said. “Teach the kids how to hit, when to hit. Every play I just tell the kids, ‘if you forget what to do, go hit somebody,’ so I think the key at this age is making sure that they try to do their best to understand a simplified game and above all, have fun.”

Eppel said that the group of kids this year were so intent on doing whatever coach asked them to do and that made for an enjoyable season and winning multiple games.

Grady Bohlander carries the ball on an end sweep in a home game this year against a strong Burns team. The Wheatland Pups prevailed in the game 22-6. Jaxson Kafka who plays on both the offensive and defensive line can’t help but smile at the opportunity to strap on the pads and play some tackle football. He is also excited at the camaraderie on the team. Shown also at the end of the article, quarterback Griff Nichols (14)

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